Former North Albury netballer Jacqui Newton is gearing up to lead the Victorian Fury into the Australian Netball League finals this weekend.
Newton, who was crowned captain of the side this season, will face the Canberra Giants in a semi-final clash at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Fury head into finals after seven rounds on top of the competition ladder, having only dropped one game this season to Netball NSW Waratahs.
Newton admitted being named captain in her third season with the side came as a pleasant surprise.
"It was certainly a big honour," Newton said.
"Given this is only my third year, I think I considered myself probably not as senior within the group.
"I was very proud to be given the opportunity to take on the role.
"We're a different team this year but we've come together and I just hope we can finish it off.
"We played them (Giants) in round one and had a good win, but so much has changed, so you can't discount anyone."
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Newton has achieved a lot out on the court in her three years with the training squad, including stepping up into the Melbourne Vixens for a game last season.
"That was incredible and has obviously shaped a lot of what I've done this year," Newton said.
"It's definitely developed me on and off the court and helped my captaincy this season just by being in that environment."
Newton took out the Ovens and Murray league's Toni Wilson Medal and Rising Star award while at North Albury back in 2014.
The strong defender said she's recently been given the opportunity to reflect on how far she's come.
"I'm doing a talk at Deakin University in a few weeks and I've had to look back on my netball," Newton said.
"I got carried away remembering playing for Wodonga Saints in the under-13's, state teams, Association Championships and rep teams.
"Everything I've done has lead me to this, so it's been quite a journey."
Both the preliminary final and grand final of the Australian Netball League competition will be held on Sunday, meaning a fast turnaround between games if Newton's side is to progress.
While Newton eyes off a grand final win for the Fury by the close of the weekend, she knows one thing is always certain.
That her biggest fan, her mum, will be right there cheering her on from the sidelines.
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