Premierships aplenty in this family

October 06, 2016

Elle Groves (left) with boyfriend Lachy Smith and sister Georgia Groves after the GVL grand finals.

PREMIERSHIPS don’t come easily in the Goulburn Valley Football Netball League.

Some players whole careers end without playing a grand final, let alone win one.

For others they come a lot sooner, as Lachy Smith found out.

One year after winning the 2015 GVFL premiership with Benalla, he has secured another one — only this time playing for the Kyabram Bombers.

He held the silverware high with girlfriend Elle Groves and her younger sister, Georgia, following the grand final Deakin Reserve when three Bombers took out the win.

High expectations surrounded the premiership players signing and he didn’t let them down.

Smith, 23, had a stunning debut season in the Bombers backline alongside Liam Barrett, Sam Sheldon and skipper Josh Vick.

Smith was previously rookie listed to the Collingwood Football Club after playing a season for their VFL side in 2012, but returned to country football where his heart belonged.

A similar reason brought him to the mighty Bombers with Elle playing for the club as A grade’s starring goaler.

‘‘We both decided that we wanted to play together this year,’’ Elle said.

‘‘Kyabram was central for both of us and easy for our families.’’

Lachy lives on a farm outside of Euroa in a place called Balmattum and girlfriend Groves comes from Echuca.

The family that plays together, stays together — and the decision for Georgia to come across was simple.

‘‘We thought it’d be best to play at the one club as a family and that made it easier on our parents,’’ Elle said.

She was first to the club in 2011 after social Wednesday night netball at Echuca District Netball Association introduced her to some Bombers and they encouraged the young goaler to join their A grade side.

It was Elle’s first year back playing netball at a high standard, returning from a knee injury.

‘‘It was the best thing I’ve ever done,’’ she said.

‘‘The whole club was extremely welcoming and I’ve made so many new friends.’’

Georgia followed in 2013 playing for under 17s.

They’re not the only Echuca netballers to make the move across with A grade coach Belinda Lees, Jemma Osborne, Dayna Martin, Madeline O’Nial, Steph Vick, Emily Atkinson, Lauren Pryde and Ash Mangan all travelling from the town.

Elle said the entire squad were all close friends, which made them want to play better for each other.

Lees has been influential in the club’s success on the netball court after taking on the role as playing coach.

She’s worked closely with all the girls over the years to develop them into the premiership teams.

This year is likely to be Elle’s last in the GVNL due to university commitments.

If she does play it wouldn’t be anywhere other than Kyabram with three premierships won at the club in 2011, 2012 and 2016.

‘‘To win a premiership with the team was absolutely amazing,’’ she said.

‘‘But to have Georgia and Lachy there as well was made the day much more special.

‘‘I don’t think it will ever happen again — we were very lucky.’’

Lachy is planning to stay on at Kyabram for next season even if Elle doesn’t play.

—Jess Gledhill

More in Sport
Login Sign Up

Dummy text