THE fairytale fell a win short of the premiership, but Melton netballer and VU Western Lightning captain Brooke Thompson didn't leave court dejected after the Victorian Netball League grand final on Saturday.
The Lightning lost by five goals to City West Falcons at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in the championship decider, 42-37.
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City West produced two scoring spurts to lead for much of the contest, the first in the opening term when the margin got as high as seven goals and the second in the final term when the game was broken open.
VU spent the second and third quarters reeling in the lead, drawing scores level at three-quarter-time and seemingly taking all the momentum.
Having scraped into the top four and won two thrilling finals to make the decider, it looked as though VU might be able to repeat the trick one more time.
But City West goalers Kathleen Knott and Maggie Lind made a blazing start to the final quarter with a 5-1 run to open a match-winning lead.
Thompson, goal defence, and teammate Fiona Themann, goalkeeper, were under the pump in the back-court for much of the game.
"It's frustrating as a defender," Thompson said.
"The ball comes back down your end and you take responsibility, thinking you need to get the ball back to pump your team up, and you just can't get it. It's a downer, but you can't help that.
"I've played with or against Knott for about six or seven years now ... her strength is her hold in that circle and we knew she would play that way.
"We knew Maggie was going to try and take me out of the game by taking me wide and outside of the circle. We knew what they were going to do and they pulled it off, and clearly they deserve to win it.
"I couldn't be prouder to be part of VU and look into the future and where we're going ... this finals series is the first of many to come."
City West, formerly the Hume City Falcons, claimed its third title in four seasons, all under the guidance of senior coach Marg Lind.