Everything was going according to plan. Canberra was setting their sights on another Netball ACT title to continue what they had already built into a State League dynasty.
And then it all stopped. Coronavirus hit, competitions were shut and Tara Steel and her team had to wait two years for another shot at glory.
So Canberra will now face Arawang in a decider for the fourth time since 2018 on Sunday afternoon, albeit with a completely different looking side to the one that previously dominated.
Just three players are left from the glory years, but the hunger for success is the same.
"Six consecutive grand finals has been a pretty big achievement," Steel said.
"The team has been successful now for a number of years. Winning is obviously what you aim to do in a competition.
"We didn't get the chance to play for what would have been our third title in a row, so there feels like there is a little bit of unfinished business there."
Twins Caitlin Brady and Emily Brady and Simone Cootes are the only players who tasted success in 2019 before the world changed, parenthood beckoned, players moved on, injuries hit and new stars arrived.
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Canberra has relied on their depth and younger girls coming through their junior programs to stay at the top, 17-year old goal shooter Hayley Matthew a stand out.
"Each year we have had challenges and changes," Steel said.
"We have had quite a bit of team changes over the last few years with either athletes moving away, some for study or some athletes stopping netball to have babies.
"The team hasn't been the same for each year, even the last three years it's changed.
"We have players come from our division two and our younger athletes are starting to step up, which is really exciting. It just shows the really good depth of our program."
"Hayley Matthew has been really consistent and exceptional. She's a 17-year old that has come through our junior pathway."
But standing in their way is Arawang, determined to turn the tables after two losses to Canberra already this year - including an 11 goal defeat in the qualifying final.
Arawang are a powerhouse in their own right. This will be their 14th grand final in the past 17 seasons and coach Kim Symons says her players are ready to make their own history.
"We didn't play well, we didn't stick to what we know and we obviously have learned from it," Symons said.
"If we stick to our game plan we will be ready. We are as ready as we are ever going to be, everyone is chomping at the bits."
Steel says that secret to Canberra's success can be drawn down to the depth of the squad and the winning culture they have created. "We have created a culture where we do feel like we are setting our own standards and benchmark each week," she said.
"We have been able to lose a key player from our lineup and still be successful. To be able to replace players and continue winning just shows the depth of the talent we have in the team."
Without star captain Tamara Weatherburn after an ACL injury put an end to her season in round 8, Steel is confident the team can draw from her leadership off the court.
"A grand final without her will be a new experience."
"Tamara's role in supporting the team has remained really positive, and really engaged. She is a wealth of knowledge and is able to pass that knowledge to the younger players around her."
"It has been a real strength of ours to still be able use her experience in some different ways that haven't been on the court."
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