The North West girls weren't quite able to repeat their history-making effort of last year at this week's state CHS water polo championships, but again showed they can match it with the state's best, and have coach Casey Kelly believes set a good building block for next year's campaign.
After achieving their best-ever finish in winning bronze in Tamworth last year and having only lost Giaan White from that side, they headed to Wagga Wagga with aspirations of challenging for the medals.
And they did, making it through to the semi-final.
Unfortunately they drew a powerful Sydney East side and were beaten by the eventual champions 15-2.
They then went down to Hunter 7-1 in their third/fourth play-off to finish fourth.
Kelly said it was a good effort from what was a relatively young side.
While they still had Mikalya Gross and Lucy Hofman, the majority of the side were in Years 7, 8 and 9.
They started their campaign strongly thrashing Sydney South West 11-nil and North Coast 9-1 on the first day. A 9-6 win over Riverina to start the second day was followed by a 7-2 loss to Hunter and 7-all draw with Sydney West.
After locking down a semi-final spot with an 11-1 win over South Coast they then lost to Sydney Easy 14-3 and Sydney North, who ended up finishing second, 6-4.
"That was a really promising game because it was 4-all at three-quarter time," Kelly said.
It gave them a boost going into the semi-final but Sydney East proved too strong.
"Unfortunately the Sydney teams they play all year round and have year round facilities, which we don't," she said.
Kelly said as a side they improved every game and particularly noted Bianca Mulligan's efforts in goals. Hannah Irwin, Sarah Hofman and Mackenzie Abra also had strong carnivals.
Abra was judged the North West player of the carnival as deemed by the three, two and one votes from the players after each game.
Representing North West for the final time, Gross and Hofman led the side well but unfortunately their impact was limited. Especially against the top sides, Kelly said, they got marked out of the game.