Club Maitland City skipper Kathy Anderson says the minor premiership is an unexpected but welcome reward after another consistent season of Maitland A-grade netball.
But Anderson is not so comfortable with the favourite tag that goes with it on the eve of the finals.
Club Maitland City clinched the title one round before finals with a 61-19 win against Flames as Customs House Hotel defeated The George 43-37.
It was The George's second upset loss in a row and they were replaced in second spot by NVY Comets, who were set to face CMC in the game of the day on Saturday, if not for the Hunter's week-long Covid lockdown.
With a far superior goal difference the result would not have affected CMC finishing on top and winning the title.
"The minor premiership was a nice surprise. We've had some good results and results in other games fell our way to help us get it," Anderson said.
"We've tried to be consistent all year and we've done that.
"But I don't think it makes us favourites for the finals. We're probably the underdogs still, I think."
CMC made the grand final in 2019 but ultimately lost the game 54-25 to perennial power Hills Solicitors.
Anderson said going into the finals this time the emphasis was to concentrate on their own game.
"We've got some good combinations working and we've just got to keep on with that," she said.
The team has had a few change in personnel through injuries and pregnancies including Sarah Roberts, Helinka Adamson, Jennah Miller and Emma Rumbel.
New players to the line-up this year include Hills Solicitors premiership player Tiarne Condron, Jamie-Lee Davis and Kristen Chapman.
"I think everyone is getting on really well, working well together and having fun," Anderson said.
Anderson said having CMC and Comets in the top two positions on the eve of the finals perhaps signalled a changing of the guard.
"There is a bit of a changing of the guard but you can't write off The George and Hills when it comes to finals though. They've got that experience," she said.
"Come finals time it is a whole new ball game and everyone steps up to a new level of play.
"It's a really tight top four this year. We're going to win the minor premiership, but we're probably the under dogs still when it comes to finals."
Ladder: 1 CMC 42; 2 NVY Comets 39; 3 The George Tavern 37; 4 Hills Solicitors 33; 5 Customs House Hotel 26; 6 Brazen Fitness 24; 7 Quarry Bar & Grill 24; 8 Flames 7