GOTAFE GVL Grand Final Day 2018

Allan siblings are Cann-do

By Lauren Bordin

Nick Allan chose to play at Shepparton as a 16-year-old despite going for rival Shepparton United growing up.

Younger sister Ash followed to take to the netball court and the pair has been Bears stalwarts since.

Both are excited for their own side to make it into the grand final, but equally as thrilled each other will have the opportunity to feature in the most important day in September.

Nick, 34, played in his first grand final last year and will play another on Sunday while Ash, 32, will also contest her second after being unsuccessful in 2013.

This year has been Ash’s comeback from having twin girls Stevie and Indi in April last year and Nick said his sister deserved every success.

‘‘It’s good to play on the same day together and enjoy the experience,’’ he said.

‘‘She’s a workaholic and she works hard and is talented in many sports and I think coming back from twins is a big thing and to still play consistent netball proves some people wrong.

‘‘But it’s good to see she is back on the court and playing well.’’

The goal defence has been at the Bears 11 years and has only missed last year as well as 2015 after giving birth to first daughter Addison, 3.

But aside from those two years she has never missed a game through injury and has the longevity of her brother.

Ash was overjoyed to see Nick run onto the field in last year’s Goulburn Valley League grand final, in one of the few times the siblings are able to watch each other’s games due to the time clash.

‘‘After watching him over the years and all his hard work it’s finally nice to see it all paying off and hopefully he can get a win,’’ she said.

Friday night is pizza and pasta night at Ash’s house as both set themselves up for game day, while the kids run around in the living room.

Nick’s children Lillijana, 13, and Maelan, 9, are proud Shepparton supporters and Maelan spends as much time at the club as his dad.

‘‘The young fella got upset on the way down (to be interviewed), he didn’t know we were training (afterwards) and left his footy boots at home,’’ Nick said.

Ash chimed in and said she was happy to pop back and grab the boots to ensure her nephew was ready to take to Deakin as per usual.

‘‘He doesn’t miss a training, he runs laps or kicks with the injured boys or runs water, he doesn’t miss a beat,’’ Nick said.

‘‘He loves hanging around with the boys and that’s good for me because I love him interacting with my teammates.’’

Nick and Ash’s dad Steve played for Shepparton United and Shepparton Swans and their uncle Craig Blizzard is president at the Demons, but a phone call from Brendan Bicknell sold Nick on the Bears.

The Allans are a talented sporting family, including older brother Josh, 36, whose own sporting career was cut short because of injury.

But with Ash’s and Nick’s five kids all active, there could be a new breed of the family developing at Shepparton.

Nick himself has played across generations and on Sunday against Kyabram he will take the field alongside young Lachie Ash after playing with his legendary father Stephen.

‘‘I’m playing with Lachie Ash on Sunday and knew him when he was like Maelan and a kid,’’ Nick said.

‘‘I was very lucky I played three or four years with him and took his jumper (number three) and his son is like my son and now I’m playing with him, it’s cool, but it shows my age.

‘‘I’ve been here since I was 16, that’s all we know here, it’s a great family club and we’re really fortunate, the kids run around, they love it.’’

After his first grand final last year against Kyabram ended in defeat, Allan said the side was in a better place to face the Bombers again.

‘‘We’re really excited, I think we’re more prepared this year and ready to go,’’ he said.

‘‘The nerves have dropped off this year, so we’ve got a more relaxed approach to the game and we’re pumped.’’

Having come so close in finals campaigns Ash is also eager to finally finish the job against Echuca.

‘‘That final (against Shepparton Swans in 2013) was a really heartbreaking final and we took a long time to get there and then to lose lots of prelims after that, they’ve been heartbreaking losses as well,’’ she said.

‘‘But to be here, we’ve got a good team and a really strong team.’’