Teamwork and bonding propelled a premier netball side from the lower South West to six consecutive premierships, according to its star players. The Blackwood Ravens under-18s have finished the 2022 season with another grand final win at the Eaton Recreation Centre on September 17, making it the sixth year in a row the team has dominated the South West Netball Football League. The Manjimup-Bridgetown Times spoke with some of the members of the Blackwood Ravens under-18s netball team last week who said their success was because of several factors, including their coach, Megan Burvill, and their team culture. Under-18s team member Molly Miller said she attributed the team’s success to their coach and to the positive social environment they maintain. “We’ve been playing together for a long time and that’s helped heaps,” she said. “We do it for each other,” she said. “Even our parents are very heavily involved and are all quite close. “Everyone is very supportive and we have a big support crew, both mums and dads. . . even having that and going out and things after games has kept the team together.” Miller said the team ran a clinic called Ravens in the Wings throughout the year in which they coach younger girls which has contributed to the development of their skills. She said some of the girls ended up doing the long drive to Bunbury to support the Ravens in the under-18s 2022 grand final. Burvill said the Ravens worked hard but they felt the most important thing was to have fun in a safe and supportive environment. “I guess we are really good at supporting each other and probably not bringing anyone down and I think that’s the most important thing, one of the things we really pride ourselves on,” she said. “We don’t do awards. . . we are a team,” she said. “These guys get recognised in many ways in their own comps, but as a regional team I think it’s important for us to know the journey is about us going about being that next-level team and we all work together for that common goal of being the best we can on court. “We’re a bit of a family. “We spend a lot of time in the car together, that’s the other thing, so there is a lot of transport back and forth and we do carpool a lot and I think that really helps. Burvill said the Ravens trained as a whole club which includes the girls in the under-16s team, as it is important for the younger players to help develop their skills. “Our older girls are amazing at being wonderful role models in that. . . these guys bring them all together and help them to improve,” she said. “It’s been beautiful to watch.” In early October the Blackwood Ravens became the Donnybrook Blackwood Ravens which Burvill said was going to give the girls an opportunity to play higher level regional netball in 2023. “So we’ll have a reserves, open, 18s, 16s and a masters,” she said. “This will give the girls more opportunities, there’s nowhere to go once you hit 18.” The Donnybrook Blackwood Ravens will be having trials for their 2023 teams on October 23.