NNSW Waratahs enjoy strong start to season

16 SLIDER NNSW Waratahs v QLD Fusion Stephanie Wood

The Netball NSW (NNSW) Waratahs have opened their 2016 Australian Netball League campaign in emphatic form by defeating QLD Fusion, 68-46, in their opening match of Round 1 action at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

The NSW outfit led at every change with their opponents never getting within less than eight goals, to finish 22-goal victors.

Head Coach Briony Akle said it was a pleasing first match effort; however there was work to do for the remainder of the season.

“I’m really pleased with the team’s effort today, especially that we didn’t lose momentum when we brought on our bench players,” Akle claimed.

“That said, I thought we were quite patchy at times and guilty of turning over a lot of ball, so there are things that we can definitely take from this game into the rest of the season.

“Our ultimate goal is to complete a full four quarters performance; so until that happens, we’ll continue to work hard on our combinations and basic skills… it’s a quick turnaround for our next match against QLD tomorrow so we’ll recover and get ready or tomorrow,” Akle concluded.

It was a dominant start from NSW who quickly asserted their intentions on play by putting up four consecutive goals before the hosts could find an answer. Featuring 10 athletes with ANZ Championship experience, it was a solid display of competitive netball for fans that remained following the QLD Firebirds v NSW Swifts Round 5 action.

Mimicking their older siblings, the NNSW Waratahs mirrored the Swifts’ quick ball transition all the while showing maturity and confidence across the court. By halfway through the second 15 minutes, NSW had doubled their hosts’ score and didn’t look like relenting.

However with a speedy game plan the risks of turnover were high and NSW were guilty of miscommunication at times which resulted in crucial possession loss. But the same was said of QLD who couldn’t capitalise on the possession gains to make an impact on the scoreboard.

After NSW’s rampaging start, the second quarter proved a much more even contest with the NNSW Waratahs taking a nine-goal lead into the half-time break.

With QLD having matched their visitor’s intensity the previous quarter, the NNSW Waratahs came out firing for the start of the second half to swing the pendulum back in their favour. With their defensive combination creating plenty of turnovers for NSW’s shooters to further extend their lead.

The Fusion looked to have no answers to the NNSW Waratahs game plan, led by Swift Stephanie Wood who was in incredible form at goal attack against her old side. Despite Akle utilising her bench in the final quarter, the NNSW Waratahs never looked in doubt to open their 2016 campaign with a dominant 22 goal win.

The two sides will be back in action again tomorrow, Sunday 1 May, to continue Round 1 ANL action at Brisbane’s Ormiston College; first centre pass at 12pm AEST.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NSW│ Q1: 18 – Q2: 32 (14) – Q3: 51 (19) – Q4: 68 (17)
QLD│ Q1: 10 – Q2: 23 (13) – Q3: 37 (14) – 4: 46 (9)

Shooting Statistics
NSW: 68/79 @ 86%
A. Sommerville: 9/9 @ 100%
S. Wood: 33/37 @ 89%
K. Austin: 26/33 @ 79%

QLD: 46/63 @ 73%
B. Friday: 21/28 @ 75%
C. Koenen: 11/17 @ 65%
A. Latu-Meafou: 14/18 @ 77%

Starting Line-ups
NSW│ GS Amy Sommerville, GA Stephanie Wood, WA Kaitlyn Bryce, C Paige Hadley, WD Maddie Hay, GD Kara Styles, GK Lauren Moore

QLD│ GS Beryl Friday, GA Cara Koenen, WA Laura Scherian (C), C Mahalia Cassidy, WD Hulita Haukinima, GD Rachel Forbes, GK Tara Hinchcliffe

Positional Changes
NSW│ Q1 Timeout – GS Kiera Austin; Q3 – GD Moore, GK Ashley Valeni; Q4 – GS Wood, GA Austin, C Taylah Davies (C), GD Valeni, GK Moore.