LEADING into the Queensland State Netball League opener, and Wide Bay Thundercats' coach Kerrianne Farrelly was challenging her side to "bring it on court".
She was speaking about team spirit, about a new unity the side had shown in the off-season when the going got tough at training, about an unbreakable bond.
Saturday, 7pm, Cornubia Insports Grounds, and it's round one against the Marlin Coast Marlins. The Thundercats answer their coach's calls, bringing it on court in a big way to snatch their first win in more than a year.
Their coach through all those luckless matches savours the success, before later telling the Chronicle she's happy mostly because the women showed they knew the meaning of team.
"The ladies played awesomely - they played for each other," Farrelly said.
"We hit a bit of a slump in the second half, and I basically had to put it up them and say, 'Hey, you guys have worked pretty hard this season' - because we were up by eight at one stage and had gone down to lead only by two at halftime.
"Yeah, I must say, I put it up them that they need to get off their backsides and work hard and pull something out, and they did. They came back to win by 35-23."
The turnaround was remarkable given the Thundercats lost to the Marlins by 15 points last season.
But it was even more remarkable because it was also the first official game for the side, after massive changes in personnel meant that only three players remained from the 2013 version.
MEANWHILE, league scheduling meant the Thundercats had little time to celebrate their victory, taking to the court again on Sunday morning against Whitsunday Sharks.
Unfortunately for Wide Bay, it could not repeat its heroics from 13 hours earlier, with the Sharks physically imposing themselves on the inexperienced Thundercats.
Farrelly admitted there'd be a few sore bodies this morning after the back-to-back games. But if you follow the Thundercats on Facebook you'd know the effort was worth it.
Player Lohnet Wanihi posted: "Great weekend of netball. Definitely learned a couple things ... that we have what it takes to play some really good quality netball, and that these teams play a very physical game.
"What I will take from this: To hold my own and give it back! Two weeks to train hard before we play again."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.