The hotshot lines up for the big challenge

September 22, 2017

Bombers shooter Elle Groves. Photo by Luke Hemer.

FOR Elle Groves (pictured) shooting goals has become second nature.

Stepping into the goal circle each week for the Bombers, the 21-year-old isn’t fazed by pressure from her opponents or the hum of the crowds.

Lining up, she eyes the ring before taking a shot. It swishes through the net – then another and another.

It’s this kind of accuracy that saw the Bombers bounce back from a 10-goal deficit against Shepparton United.

Scoring 18 consecutive goals – a feat rarely seen in Goulburn Valley Netball League history – Elle Groves and goal attack Belinda Lees executed a stunning turnaround that saw them achieve a nine-goal win, keeping their dreams of an undefeated season intact.

It is this same accuracy that saw the Bombers make league history this year, scoring a brilliant 1000 goals in a season.

But Groves is the first to admit this kind of accuracy doesn’t come without a cost.

“It goes to show, a lot of hard work pays off. There’s a lot of commitment in being goaler,” she said.

In addition to weekly training with her teammates, Groves is on the court every day, shooting goals.

200 goals a day.

“It just seems so natural now because I do it so often during the week, so it’s not so much about concentration anymore,” she said.

“And I’ve got an incredible teammate in the goal circle in Belinda (Lees).

“If I’m ever struggling with shooting, she’s right there to help me out and encourage me. We really support each other if one of us is a bit off.”

It was Bombers coach Belinda Lees who plucked 14-year-old Groves out of a weekly competition with Echuca District Netball Association in 2011.

The youngest netballer to ever play for the Ky A grade side, Groves was suggested by Bombers centre Steph Vick, who played with her in the midweek Echuca comp.

The inspired piece of recruiting paid off – with the Ky A grade side achieving back-to-back premierships in 2011 and 2012.

The near-flawless goal shooter – who seemed to suddenly appear out of thin air – quickly turned heads, scooping up the Goulburn Valley rising star award for the league in 2011 and grand final MVP in 2012.

But, she admits, nerves never quite abandon her – especially as she and her team step up this weekend with the goal of securing a perfect season.

“It will be a tough hit-out this weekend and it’s very nerve-wracking as we haven’t been pushed this much all year,” she said.

“But I’ve absolutely loved this season. I’m playing with my friends and it makes me want to fight even harder – I play for my team and that’s what keeps me motivated to practice week after week.”

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