GUN Lorne recruit Brooke Hutchings has spent the lead-up to Sunday’s must-win finals match against Apollo Bay in enemy territory.
Hutchings is a primary school teacher at Apollo Bay P-12 College alongside Hawks A Grade players principal Tiff Holt, teachers Cara Hudson and Katie Monaghan and student Meg Bryant.
But Hutchings will put friendship aside against the quartet and their Bay teammates in Lorne’s elimination final at Colac’s Central Reserve.
Hutchings joined the side at the start of the season with partner and Dolphins footballer Matt Bain, and has been a key in helping Lorne senior netballers make their first finals campaign in more than two decades.
Her only absence from Lorne’s side this year was its Easter Saturday match against the Hawks – the two teams’ only clash of the season.
Hutchings said she was excited about matching up against her workmates for the first time in Sunday’s cutthroat elimination final.
“I think it’s going to be really fun, we all get along really well at school and it’s just going to be fun to see what they’re like on the netball court and for them to see a different side of me,” she said.
“I’m guessing they’ll be awesome players, because they’re awesome people at school and great teachers.”
The Yackandandah export from the state’s north-east said Lorne was buzzing at the netball side’s first finals campaign in what club officials say is 26 years.
“We’ve had a few functions and the football boys are right behinds us, there’s a really good vibe around the club at the moment that we’re finally in finals,” she said.
“Even walking down the street in Lorne, people stop and have a chat about finals and that they’re coming to support us.”
The Bay beat Lorne by 17 goals in their only outing of the season in round two and Hawks coach Jodie Bertrand said she expected a different Dolphins line-up when the two sides met again on Sunday.
“They’re really looking forward to it and I definitely think it’ll be tougher than the first time we played them,” Bertrand said.
“The girls aren’t nervous, they’re very excited, but I just hope they’re calm and play a nice four solid quarters of netball.
“We’ve got good depth, so if someone gets injured we believe we have enough depth on the bench.”