City of Sydney crowned 2015 Champions

City of Sydney/Sydney Uni have been crowned the 2015 DOOLEYS State League Waratah Cup Champions after defeating Eastwood Ryde, 53-40, in a thrilling title decider at Netball Central.

The win sees City of Sydney (CSNA) claim the double after taking out the Minor Premiership at the end of the regular season by one competition point, while Eastwood Ryde (ERNA) have claimed back-to-back Runners-Up titles after falling to St George in 2014.

Victorious Head Coach Jenny O’Keeffe was full of praise from her charges, describing  the match as the ultimate Finals spectacle.

“It was an amazing contest out there on court; worthy of a Grand Final!  Eastwood really took it to us and we had some very, very nervous moments during the 60 minutes but really proud of our girls’ composure,” O’Keeffe stated.

“I’m so proud of how the team stepped up to the challenge, they stuck to their guns and kept on going with the game plan and absolutely pulled it through in the end – that last quarter was superb.”

The win sees CSNA claim their maiden Waratah Cup title after graduating to the top division in 2014.

“It’s very exciting for the Club [to win its first Waratah Cup competition], but hopefully it’s not the last,” O’Keeffe declared.

CSNA opened the scoring quickly through their Goal Shooter Kristina Brice, but it was a scrappy start to the title decider as both sides put on immense defensive pressure.  However the Minor Premiers strong midcourt zone cause ERNA all sorts of issues as they put up three consecutive goals; ERNA finishing their first after almost five minutes play.

But just as they’d shown in the Preliminary Final, ERNA were up to the challenge and soon had found their own back-to-back goal run to get back within two goals.  ERNA fans held their breath with an injury scare to their Goal Keeper Courtney Torpy, however the former NSW representative showed guts to shake it off and continue on.

CSNA jumped on a turnover, quickly jumping back out to a handy lead through some dogged defence on ERNA midcourters who couldn’t find an easy pass into their shooting circle.  The result saw CSNA take a handy five-goal buffer into the first break.

The second quarter started on equal footing as the sides traded goals early… but it wouldn’t be long until CSNA began to exert their control on the game.  With their midcourters using their speed to find plenty of space, they were aided by tall target Brice to feed beautiful ball under the post.  Brice’s shooting partner Georgia Marshall was just as handy going to the post –  and with 11 minutes until half time CSNA had blown out to a nine-goal lead.

But again ERNA regathered, refusing to give up the challenge, with the defensive end working tirelessly to win back possession.  Netball NSW Waratahs Captain Jessica Calderara was a cool, calm, collected head down back for her side with four consecutive possession gains seeing ERNA back to within three goals as the teams closed in on half time.

It was CSNA turn to call a timeout, with ERNA fighting back to within two goals, but the momentum was all the way of the 2014 Runners-Up with ERNA taking the lead with just a minute until the big break. Again Calderara came up with a big play, turning over a CSNA centre pass and converting the next two to take a three goal lead.

But the injury curse hit ERNA again with Calderara assisted from the court with seconds on the clock with a lower leg injury, her side leading 25-23 at half time after a huge comeback quarter.

Again the Grand Finalists entered the third quarter on equal footing, with CSNA pushing hard to close the two goal gap.  Missing Calderara, Sophie Halpin went back to partner Torpy in their defensive circle; the duo doing well to cut off the high ball into Brice.

But after CSNA threw everything into the contest, it was their pressure that forced ERNA into turnovers and after nine minutes play the Minor Premiers took back the lead. Pouncing on the swing in momentum, CSNA looked to find the form from their opening 15 minutes. Despite a goal in the dying seconds to Australian 19/U representative Kiera Austin, CSNA were able to push out to a six-goal advantage into the final 15 minutes.

CSNA marked their intent early, finding the post through Brice within 15 seconds of the final quarter beginning.  It wouldn’t be all their way however with ERNA continuing to work hard on converting their possession.  Torpy and Halpin did well to combat the height advantage of the CSNA circle, positioning well to cut off passes while boxing out the shooters for any rare defensive rebounds that came their way.

Slowly but surely CSNA were regaining their composure on the match, converting costly turnovers from their opposition to push out their lead.  Despite ERNA throwing everything into the contest, they couldn’t match the composure over CSNA who finished 13 goal victors.

2015 President’s Medal MVP: Nikki Deegenaars (CSNA)

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores                                                  
CSNA│ Q1: 13 – Q2: 23 (10) – Q3: 38 (15) – Q4: 53 (15)
ERNA│ Q1: 8 – Q2: 25 (17) – Q3: 32 (7) – Q4: 40 (12)

Shooting Statistics
CSNA: 53/69 @ 77%
K. Brice: 39/49 @ 80%
G. Marshall: 14/20 @ 70%

ERNA: 40/54 @ 75%
A. Sommerville: 17/28 @ 61%
K. Austin: 23/26 @ 88%

Starting Line-ups
CSNA│ GS Kristina Brice, GA Georgia Marshall, WA Jaime Mann, C Nikki Deegenaars, WD Michelle Calderara, GD Billie Gurr, GK Elly Willan

ERNA│GS Amy Sommerville, GA Kiera Austin, WA Sally Cain, C Jacqueline Rikard-Bell, WD Sophie Halpin, GD Jessica Calderara, GK Courtney Torpy

Positional Changes
ERNA│ Q2 Timeout – WD Lauren Stephenson, GD Halpin.