Coach Tracey van Dal believes Souths have done enough to secure the inaugural Newcastle Netball Association club championship and take something out of a modified season that will not feature finals.
The club championship is calculated from points across the championship, open and 23s divisions and will officially be announced next weekend at the season's final round. Souths were leading the pointscore heading into round eight on Saturday, which was the last round that counts towards the club championship. They produced a clean sweep of wins in all three grades.
In championship action, Lions beat Inner Glow 63-31 after leading 12-6 at the first break, 34-16 at half-time then 54-24 going into the final quarter.
"We got out of the blocks nice and early and we just pushed on from there," van Dal said. "We probably went closest to having our four consistent quarters for the year, which is something we've been talking about, so that was good.
"It was a good solid team performance but Georgia King and Laura Neale, two of our new defenders this year, formed a nice solid defensive combination with Lucy Tonkin in front of them. Georgia and Laura, who are playing at this level for the first time, are really improving each week and starting to come together nicely."
The club championship was a last-minute addition to the 2020 season, which had to be modified due to the coronavirus crisis.
"The beauty of the club championship is that it does take the focus off the championship level," van Dal said.
"It's no longer just about that top level, so it's given the open grade and the 23s something more to strive for other than just winning their respective grades. It's striving for that bigger picture.
"For us as a club, we've always prided ourselves on our pathway, so it's rewarding to see the effort we've put into our pathways over the years has paid dividends this year and moving forward. Not just for Souths, for all of the clubs. It's more cohesion within the clubs, and more building of players to come through and that can only be a good thing for netball in general moving forward."
Championship leaders University of Newcastle are just one win away from a perfect season after they stretched their unbeaten run in championship to seven matches with a 57-20 win over Kotara South on Saturday.
Nova Thunder downed Junction Stella 58-21 and West Leagues Balance beat BNC Whanau 48-26.
In Super Netball, Sam Poolman's Giants' finals hopes faded in a 71-66 loss to West Coast Fever in Cairns on Saturday while the NSW Swifts beat Adelaide Thunderbirds 57-54. On Sunday, Vixens play Firebirds.
NNA championship round 8 results:
Souths beat Inner Glow 63-31. Q1: Souths led 12-6; Q2: Souths led 34-16; Q3: Souths led 54-24.
Nova Thunder beat Junction Stella 58-21. Q1: Nova led 14-3; Q2: Nova led 27-11; Q3: Nova led 42-17.
University of Newcastle beat Kotara South 57-20. Q1: Uni led 13-5; Q2: Uni led 23-13; Q3: Uni led 41-16.
West Leagues Balance beat BNC Whanau 48-26. Q1: West led 11-9; Q2: West led 21-16; Q3: West led 34-20.
NNA championship pointscore:
University 21, Souths 19, Nova 17, West Leagues Balance 15, Inner Glow 13, BNC Whanau 11, Kotara South 9, Junction 7.