Despite being out injured, Lil Sartori will still be courtside playing a role when Shepparton meets the Swans in Sunday's Goulburn Valley Netball League grand final.By Damen Francis
Every grand final has a hard luck story and Sunday’s Goulburn Valley Netball League decider is no exception.
When Lil Sartori fell awkwardly during the third quarter of Shepparton’s round 14 win against Benalla she had no idea the extent of her injury.
The pain quickly subsided, but tests the following week confirmed damage to her anterior cruciate and medial ligaments that required a knee reconstruction.
It was a blow rendered even crueller by the Bears reaching the grand final for the first time in the club’s history.
‘‘It all happened fairly quickly,’’ Sartori said.
‘‘It hurt at the time and then an hour later it was all right and I thought maybe it was just one or two weeks off.
‘‘Then I went down to Melbourne on the Thursday and got the results back on the Friday to say I’ll need a reconstruction.
‘‘I was completely in shock. It was unbelievable, because I knew we had the team to win this year as well.’’
Despite the disappointment at her own situation, Sartori will be cheering as loudly as anyone come Sunday.
‘‘There’s (no bitterness) at all,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m just happy that we’re finally in a grand final and it’s good to be a part of it.
‘‘The girls have been really good with including me in everything. At trainings and then on Saturdays I’ve just been encouraging and helping out with the goalers.
‘‘I’m not sure (about grand final day) I’ll have a chat to (coach) Tracey (Brereton) on Thursday night and see what she wants me to do with them, but I’ll probably just do what I’ve been doing.
‘‘It should be a good game, it always is against Swans.’’
Sartori arrived at Deakin Reserve in 2006 and moved into the A-grade set-up under Colleen Toy the following season, despite still being eligible for the under-17 competition.
The talented goaler formed a key cog in the Shepparton attack in recent years and, according to Brereton, was playing her best game of the season when the injury occurred.
The 22-year-old said she was unsure when she would be back on the court.
‘‘I’m a nurse as well, so trying to find time to get a reconstruction and everything is hard I just don’t know when I’ll be back to play, we’ll just wait and see,’’ she said.
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