Fury too strong for NNSW Blues

The Victorian Fury overcame a spirited Netball NSW Blues to claim their opening match of 2014 Australian Netball League (ANL) Week 3, 66-37, at Melbourne’s Waverley Netball Centre.

It was the defending Champions commanding first quarter performance that set up the win, with the young NSW outfit building throughout the match.  NNSW Blues Head Coach Briony Akle said it was that final quarter performance which would give the team confidence for their remaining Week 3 games.

“That first quarter really hurt us, but our aim for this weekend was to build and I think we showed that in tonight’s game against a quality opposition,” Akle said.

“The Fury are packed with experience so it was a big learning curve for our young players.  But we didn’t give up, we kept coming back, and in the end our final quarter was our best for the game.  That really gives us confidence heading into tomorrow’s match against the [Victorian] Flames.

“We still have a lot of work to do but we will go back tonight, review some of the footage and come out tomorrow with fresh legs and enthusiasm ready to go again,” Akle concluded.

The defending Champions made their intentions known early, deploying a strong defensive zone across the court which Victorian sides are quickly becoming known for.  The tactic seemed to work as the young NSW outfit took a few minutes to settle into the game.

Still the NNSW Blues worked the ball, working patiently to deliver possession into their shooters.  But experience prevailed with the Victorians finishing the opening quarter strongly to take a 13 goal buffer into the first break.

Both sides used the break to make their first changes, with NNSW Blues Head Coach bringing on Donnay Van Taak and Kara Styles to WA and GD, respectively.  It was an encouraging start to the second quarter for the young NSW side, however the momentum remained with the defending Champs.  With Fury C and Melbourne Vixen Caitlyn Strachan calling a timeout after five minutes, the home side had pulled out to a 19 goal advantage.

The message from the NSW coaches was clearly speed, as the NNSW Blues came out with from the break rejuvenated.  Moving the ball quickly to break the Victorian zone, the NNSW Blues were able to feed possession to their shooters to see the scoreboard ticking over.

Despite their second quarter efforts, the NNSW Blues trailed the experienced Victorian side 34-16 at the half time break.

There were changes galore from both teams for the start of the second half, with no less than 11 changes across the court.  For the NNSW Blues, a whole new attacking combination was brought onto the court with Georgia Marshall at GS, Holly Pearce at GA, Tanisha Stanton back on to WA moving Van Taak to C, while Toni Anderson also made her first appearance of the night at WD. Amongst the Victorian changes was Erin Hoare at GS, with the 194cm shooter announced to join the NSW Swifts for the 2015 season.

The changes took time for both teams to find their rhythm, however it would be the defending Champions who would settle first.  Through their sharp shooter Hoare who, despite 16-year-old Lauren Moore’s best efforts in the GK bib for NSW, would lead from the front for the Victorians; the Fury took a 24 goal advantage into the final 15 minutes.

Once again the Victorians made drastic changes to their on-court seven for the final quarter, while the NNSW Blues only made one change bringing Gurr back on to GK.  But the Victorians were on a mission, and despite the NNSW Blues putting up their best scoring effort in the fourth quarter (12 goals), the Fury went on to claim a 29 goal win.

The NNSW Blues will be back on court tomorrow to take on the other Victorian team, the Flames, at 7pm.  Keep up-to-date with the team’s progress through Netball NSW social media channels; www.facebook.com/OfficialNetballNSW Twitter and Instagram @netballnsw #ANL2014 #GoNSW

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NNSW BLUES│ Q1: 7 – Q2: 16 (9) – Q3: 25 (9) – Q4: 37 (12)
VIC FURY│ Q1: 20 – Q2: 34 (14) – Q3: 49 (15) – Q4: 66 (17)

Shooting Statistics
NNSW BLUES: 37/49 @ 76%
Claudia Russell: 9/12 @ 75%
Kiera Austin: 7/8 @ 88%
Georgia Marshall: 11/18 @ 61%
Holly Pearce: 10/11 @ 91%

VIC FURY: 66/84 @ 79%
Simone Nalder: 18/26 @ 69%
Alice Teague-Neeld: 17/20 @ 85%
Stephanie Puopolo: 23/25 @ 92%
Erin Hoare: 8/13 @ 62%

Teams Starting Line-up
NNSW BLUES│ GS Claudia Russell, GA Kiera Austin, WA Tanisha Stanton, C Nikki Degeenaars (vc), WD Sophie Halpin (c), GD Billie Gurr, GK Lauren Moore
VIC FURY│ GS Simone Nalder, GA Alice Teague-Neeld, WA Caitlyn Strachan, C Maggie Lind, WD Shannon Eagland, GD Jo Weston, GK Amy Steel

Positional Changes
NNSW BLUES│ Q2 – WA Donnay Van Taak, GD Kara Styles; Q3 – GS Georgia Marshall, GA Holly Pearce, WA Stanton, C Van Taak, WD Toni Anderson; Q4 – GK Gurr.
VIC FURY│ Q2 – GA Stephanie Puopolo, WA Lind, C Strachan; Q3 – GS Erin Hoare, WA Strachan, C Elle Bennetts, WD Johannah Curran (c), GD Lauren Close, GK Weston; Q4 – GS Puopolo, GA Teague-Neeld, WA Lind, C Eagland, WD Bennetts, GK Curran.

Click here to view the full 2014 ANL Fixture.
Click here to view the 2014 ANL Ladder.