THERE is no questioning the dedication of the Hervey Bay Cosmos.
The visitors self-fund their way to Bundaberg every Saturday to compete in the Bundaberg Netball competition, having already played in the Hervey Bay netball fixtures earlier that day.
The squad has about 90 minutes to recharge their legs on the trip north, before they are back on the court in a much faster, more intense competition.
All but three of the team are under-20 and player-coach Helen Gold said there had been incredible improvement by the team this year.
“You can see by our results how they have; it’s the perfect place to do it and with Thundercats selection up for grabs hopefully they continue to,” she said.
Their late form streak has seen them labelled as the premiership dark horse – a tag Gold is comfortable with.
“We’ve been lucky this year; we haven’t had the injuries like we did previously,” she said.
“We haven’t got the depth of other clubs, so it was important that our core, of seven, stayed with us.”
That includes Leah McLellan, who has been travelling from Sunshine Coast since moving mid-season.
“She really enjoys playing with us and has stuck at it and done the extra travel,” Gold said.
“(A premiership) would be the perfect reward.”
First they must overcome Blazers — a team which justifiably feels it deserves to make the final as well.
Coming off one of their best performances last weekend Blazers will start favourites, but, as Alloway Blue can attest after consecutive losses to the visitors, Hervey Bay is a different team to what it was a month ago.
Blazers are also a young side though, so the pace of the game should provide some brilliant finals netball.
Across The Waves still rate Blazers as their main threat, but acknowledge that they hold a psychological edge over their younger rivals.
Waves coach Sandy Baker said she would be watching the elimination semi-final with interest and her girls were more fired up than ever to win the premiership they feel belongs to them.
“The loss last year really hurt, so we’ll be making sure we do what we can so it doesn’t happen again,” Baker said.