A highly impressive Netball NSW Blues were gallantly defeated, 55-46, by experienced outfit the Western Sting in Week 6 of the 2014 Australian Netball League (ANL) at Adelaide’s Netball SA Stadium.
The “Baby Blues” faced a Sting side chock-full of ANZ Championship talent including Ash Brazill, Kate Beveridge, Courtney Bruce and Ingrid Colyer, but displayed a level of maturity and skill far beyond their years.
After a long day for the team, the Blues took their time to get into the game, conceding 8-goals in the opening four minutes. But once they forgot about who was lining up for the opposition, and got the nerves out of the system, the team put on an impressive show.
“Once we calmed down after the (poor) start, we settled right in and gave the ball exactly like we did at training. So it was exciting to see them perform like they can and how much better they have become over the campaign,” said a delighted Head Coach Briony Akle after the game.
All players put their hands up during the four quarters, but the composure of Keira Austin in the shooting circle and Lauren Moore at the defensive end where highlights for New South supporters.
“Tonight the girls worked for each other and did the little things well. For our defenders to win the ball back from someone like Kate Beveridge and standout against shooters of that calibre, is an indication of the great job they did,” remarked Akle.
Akle only went to her bench once during the game, that was to bring on Tanisha Stanton at Wing Attack at three-quarter time. The other changes were tactical, with captain Sophie Halpin moving from Centre to Wing Defence in a straight swap with Nikki Deegenaars, plus Holly Pearce and Keira Austin also swapped positions at half-time.
“Amber (Cross, Assistant Coach) and my tactic tonight was to stick with those girls who were playing well and to see if we could actually finish the game, and to keep them to a margin less than ten – which we did – that was very pleasing.”
While tonight’s defeat sees the Netball NSW Blues’ season record move to 6 losses and 2 wins, the results don’t reflect the competitiveness of the team during this year’s ANL competition.
“We are just so thrilled with their progression as a team. They have taken on-board every piece of advice, the coaching, and the support they have given each other; they have come such a long way from the start of the competition,” Akle said.
“I just wish we could go back to those first few games and do it all again to see what we can do, because we have progressed that far.”
“We’ve got some talent in this team which will be future NSW Swifts, and for them to perform at this level at just 16 or 17 years of age is exciting, and netball in NSW is in a really good place,” concluded Akle.
The NNSW Blues will be back in action this Wednesday 13 August when they take on their big sisters, the Netball NSW Waratahs in the NSW ANL Derby at the Anne Clark Centre, 7pm start.
Keep up to date with all the action with Netball NSW’s social media channels; www.facebook.com/OfficialNetballNSW, Twitter and Instagram @netballnsw #ANL2014 #GoNSW
NNSW BLUES│ Q1: 11 – Q2: 24 (13) – Q3: 36 (12) – Q4: 46 (10)
WESTERN STING│ Q1: 17 – Q2: 31 (14) – Q3: 45 (14) – Q4: 55 (10)
NNSW BLUES: 46/57 @ 81%
Holly Pearce: 22/26 @ 85%
Keira Austin: 24/31 @ 78%
WESTERN STING: 55/62 @ 89%
Kaylia Stanton: 19/20 @ 95%
Kate Beveridge: 23/25 @ 92%
Sarah East: 13/17 @ 77%
NNSW BLUES│ GS Holly Pearce, GA Keira Austin, WA Claire O’Brien, C Sophie Halpin (c), WD Nikki Deegenaars, GD Billie Gurr, GK Lauren Moore
WESTERN STING │ GS Kaylia Stanton, GA Kate Beveridge, WA Numi Tupaea, C Lindal Rohde, WD Ashleigh Brazil, GD Jessica Penny, GK Courtney Bruce
NNSW BLUES│ Q2 – C Nikki Deegenaars, WD Sophie Halpin (c); Q3 – WA Tanisha Stanton; Q4 – GS Keira Austin, GA Holly Pearce,
WESTERN STING l Q3 – GS Sarah East WA Ingrid Colyer; Q4 – WA Lindal Rohde, C Ingrid Colyer, GD Courtney Bruce, GK Mia Washbourne