The Netball NSW Waratahs battled hard but were unable to secure the 2016 Australian Netball League title after losing 53-46 to an inspired VIC Fury, who claimed their seventh championship at Netball Central on Sunday 26 June.
In the end it was a poor second quarter, which NSW entered leading by a goal and exited trailing by seven, that cost the hosts but they played with heart and soul right to the very end and left nothing after them out on court.
The first five minutes were fast and furious but it was the Fury who settled the better of the teams, taking a 3-0 lead thanks to some good midcourt work and expert shooting from Jane Cook. The Waratahs weren’t fazed by the reigning champions, however, and hard work from Amy Parmenter and Maddie Hay in the first two thirds gave Georgia Marshall and Vanessa Mullampy the chance to respond and get NSW up and running.
The sides were level at 8-8 midway through the first quarter as NSW grew into the contest but some costly turnovers in the shooting end meant they lost the chance to take the lead on a few occasions. A cool finish from Marshall saw NSW eventually go in front with three minutes to go to the first break and they held it by one at the end of the quarter.
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The Fury started the second period like the first, with four quick goals, and moved out to a 16-12 advantage which became 20-16 midway through the quarter. Good work in the midcourt by the likes of Ella Bayliss and Elle Bennetts was giving Cook plenty of chances and she was rewarding their efforts on the scoreboard as the Victorians took a seven-goal lead to the big break.
The second half started out an even contest as the sides traded goals but, try as NSW did, the Fury were able to keep them at arm’s length by responding to everything the Waratahs threw at them. Cook continued her good work in the shooting circle but Marshall and Keira Austin were taking their chances too to keep the Waratahs in touch. NSW did enough to edge the third quarter but went to the final break trailing by six.
The Waratahs needed a good start to the fourth quarter to stay in the contest, however, instead it was the Fury who came out firing. There was no lack of effort from the NSW side as they chased every ball with gusto but the Fury simply had to play composed netball to keep the scoreboard ticking over and they did just that to secure a nine-goal lead with 10 minutes remaining.
The Waratahs battled bravely and were back within six goals with two minutes remaining but just when it looked like a comeback was on the Victorian defence stepped up to sniff it out with some timely intercepts and which allowed them see the game out.
Speaking afterwards Waratahs head coach Briony Akle conceded it was the second quarter where things went awry for her team.
“We probably gave ourselves a very big mountain to climb, however, I’m very proud with how the team played right up to the end,” she said.
“I think we can learn from this and next year maybe we’ll not have a bad 10 minutes like that and go one step further and take the title out.”
NSW Captain Davies echoed the sentiment of her coach but said it was amazing to play a final in front of home fans at Netball Central.
“It was amazing and special for us to play in front of our home fans and it really meant a lot to the team to have them behind us,” Davies said.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted but hopefully we can learn from this. Our team are not just good netballers, they are great people too and I am very proud of them.”
WARATAHS | Q1: 12 – Q2: 20 (8) – Q3: 34 (14) – Q4: 46 (12)
FURY | Q1: 11 – Q2: 27 (16) – Q3: 40 (13) – Q4: 53 (13)
WARATAHS: 46/60 @ 77%
G Marshall: 22/28 @ 79%
V Mullampy: 8/12 @ 67%
K Austin: 11/14 @ 79%
A Miller: 5/6 @ 83%
FURY: 53/67 @ 79%
J Cook: 46/52 @ 88%
M Vaughan: 4/5 @ 80%
S Gooden: 3/10 @ 30%
WARATAHS | GS Georgia Marshall, GA Vanessa Mullampy, WA Kaitlyn Bryce, C Maddeline Hay, WD Amy Parmenter, GD Jessica Calderara, GK Teigan O’Shannassy
FURY | GS Jane Cook, GA Mikaela Vaughan, WA Ella Bayliss, C Lara Dunkley, WD Elle Bennetts, GD Shannon Eagland, GK Fiona Themann
Waratahs subs | GA Keira Austin Q2, WA Taylah Davies Q2, GD Ashley Valeni Q2, GS Alison Miller Q4, GD Kara Styles Q4