Northern Suburbs set up Grand Final showdown with Sutherland Shire

Northern Suburbs have secured their place in the 2015 DOOLEYS State League Division 2 Grand Final after overcoming a spirited Eastwood Ryde, 42-33, in tonight’s Preliminary Final at Netball Central.

Northern Suburbs (NSNA) led at every break however were made to work for their victory, with Eastwood Ryde (ERNA) never giving up hope with determined match play.

The result will now see NSNA meet Minor Premiers Sutherland Shire to determine who will be crowned the 2015 Champions next week.

ERNA were able to open the scoring with back-to-back goals with their strong one-on-one defence limiting NSNA’s quick transitional play. Soon ERNA found themselves out to a 4-1 lead, much in thanks to the tireless work their defenders were doing in attack for their shooters to capitalise.

However NSNA weren’t to be discouraged with their midcourters just us up to the defensive challenge by turning over critical possession on ERNA’s shooting circle edge. The resulting effort saw NSNA equal the scoreboard halfway through the opening quarter – setting up an exciting sudden-death final for Netball Central spectators.

After enduring a slow start, NSNA found their rhythm to take control of the game and the scoreboard; however a goal in the dying seconds to ERNA saw them pull the deficit back to two goals at the first break.

Facing a blistering start from their opposition, ERNA couldn’t catch a break for the start of the second quarter as 50/50 balls and soft hands saw them unable to convert their first three centre passes.  The result saw NSNA quickly fire out to a seven goal lead, with ERNA calling a timeout to stop the haemorrhaging.

While NSNA’s were able to score first after the unscheduled break, a fired-up ERNA returned to the court.  Enjoying a purple patch of goals, ERNA strung together consecutive goals to get back to within three goals.  The intensity immediately lifted as ERNA sniffed their opportunity and NSNA looked to recover their earlier dominance.

While ERNA edged ever so slightly closer, NSNA did well to repel their surge and extend their lead to four goals at the big break, 22-18.

Nothing could separate the two sides for the start of the second half; both charging into the third quarter with some terrific defensive pressure across the court. It was a physical encounter as players threw themselves into every contest willing to earn possession for their side.

Fitness would prove key to victory as ERNA and – in particular – NSNA transitioned the ball quickly down the court to catch defenders off-guard. Accuracy also proved integral with NSNA’s shooters converting more opportunities to see them pull out to a comfortable lead once more despite their opposition’s determination.

In what finished a low-scoring affair, ERNA were able to outscore NSNA eight goals to seven in the third quarter to pull back the deficit to just three goals as the game headed into the final 15 minutes.

With a place in the 2015 title decider up for grabs, NSNA came out firing for the final quarter – putting up three unanswered goals to extend their lead to a handy six goals.  sniffing their opportunity NSNA didn’t lift their foot off the pedal; weathering ERNA’s every push as the clock slowly ticked over.

Trailing by five with three minutes to play, ERNA couldn’t get any closer as NSNA continued to work the ball patiently; the shooters accuracy helping them to a nine-goal victory and place in the Grand Final to meet Sutherland Shire next Wednesday 22 July, 7:00pm at Netball Central.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NSNA│ Q1: 10 – Q2: 22 (12) – Q3: 29 (7) – Q4: 42 (13)
ERNA│ Q1: 8 – Q2: 18 (10) – Q3: 26 (8) – Q4: 33 (7)

2015 DOOLEYS State League – Division 2 Fixtures/Results
Wed 8 July 7:00pm Major Semi Final Sutherland Shire 46 d Northern Suburbs 45
    Minor Semi Final Eastwood Ryde 60 d St George 58 (ET)
Wed 15 July 7:00pm Preliminary Final Northern Suburbs v Eastwood Ryde
Wed 22 July 7:00pm Grand Final Sutherland Shire v Northern Suburbs