A netballer who once burst into tears, citing self-doubt, will rack up her 250th top grade game at home against Corowa-Rutherglen on Saturday.
Lauren Mulquiney’s achievement qualifies her for life membership of the league.
The 37-year-old played her 300th club game in April last year.
It’s a long way from the 14-year-old who debuted in A grade in 1995, just the league’s third season.
“I remember coming off the court one day at half-time against Benalla and just breaking down,” she recalled.
“I was out of my depth, out of my league well and truly, it was overwhelming, but it was character building.”
Yarrawonga has contested the past 11 grand finals, claiming seven flags, so it’s hard to recall a time the club wasn’t successful.
“We were the whipping stick for the first couple of years, it was pretty tough,” she said.
“Rovers were always really tough to beat.
“I can remember the first time we beat them (round 10, 1998 after losing the first 11 games) the coaches celebrated like it was a premiership.
“I was still too young to celebrate with them, it was an eye-opener.”
The club didn’t have to wait long though to become a force, making finals for the first time in 1997.
It hasn’t missed since.
“I think you couldn’t underestimate the influence of (former coach and star player) Tracy Gillies,” Mulquiney said.
“I think what she created is still holding us in good stead today.”
Mulquiney is a premiership coach herself, leading the club to the 2012 flag.
The club is currently battling to snare third spot and the vital double chance, generally considered the most realistic path to a premiership.
“We’ve been rotating lots of players through and have decided some of those youngsters need to play while there’s still this experience,” Mulquiney said.
“All of the girls that have played in any significant amount of premierships, part of two or three, are all really 30-plus.
“We have to concede that one day we probably won’t be part of an A grade grand final, we’re hoping that we might not miss too many before we’re back competing again.
“The young girls that we’ve got are pretty passionate and have as much talent as any of the girls that have been part of our recent success.”
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