The NSW 17/U Team are into the Grand Final after overcoming a tough South Australia, 29-27, in their Semi Final at the 2014 National Netball Championships.
It was a heart-stopping contest from the very first whistle with both sides playing out of their skins looking for a shot at taking home the 2014 Champions title.
NSW Head Coach Moira Gaha said it was nerve-racking to sit on the bench, however she had full belief in her side finishing the game and couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.
“We are so proud. We said that the team that wanted it the most was the team that was going to get there in the end. It was such a fantastic match; SA and us giving it everything we had … we said we didn’t want to leave anything undone and [have] no regrets, and that’s what the girls did,” Gaha said.
Watch the full interview with NetballNSWTV below…
The atmosphere was electric before the very first whistle with NSW and SA fans in full voice in the stands. Both sides displayed some terrific defensive pressure however it was NSW who took some crucial early intercepts to hit the lead. SA weren’t to be discouraged though and kept at their opposition.
With a goal on the buzzer to GA Keira Austin after terrific hands-over defence from GS Prudence Ellis cause the turnover, NSW took a four goal buffer into the first break leading SA, 10-6.
NSW started with a flurry scoring three consecutive goals before SA could answer. However the momentum wouldn’t last long as SA clawed their way back into the game to take control of the contest. It took several minutes before NSW could find another goal with SA’s strong zone defence preventing midcourters Claire O’Brien (WA) and Kristen Kessler (C) from finding the circle edge.
Saved by the buzzer, NSW were able to hold off a fast finishing SA to lead 14-13 at half-time.
It would be goal for goal during the third quarter; NSW would jump out to a small lead, only for SA to chase them down. Back and forth the ball would move from end to end with neither side able to shake the other.
Once again NSW were saved by the buzzer to deny SA a chance to equalise, with the Blues maintaining a one goal buffer heading into the final 10 minutes, 22-21.
With a place in the 2014 Grand Final up for grabs the final quarter was always going to be a heart stopping affair. SA’s defensive zone in NSW attacking third really limited their free movement. But NSW slowed their play down, using patience to find shooters Austin and Ellis in the circle.
NSW were able to get a handy two goal buffer, which despite SA’s efforts, were able to hang onto in the final thrilling minutes to book their place in tomorrow’s Grand Final.
Who NSW will meet will be decided in the second Semi Final between Queensland and hosts Victoria, with the Grand Final to be played tomorrow, Saturday 12 April, at 12:45pm AEST.
Stay tuned to Netball NSW social media channels for live score updates throughout the match;
Instagram @netballnsw – using the hashtags #17UNetball #GoNSW
NSW│ Q1: 10 – Q2: 14 (4) – Q3: 22 (8) – Q4: 29 (7)
SA│ Q1: 6 – Q2: 13 (7) – Q3: 21 (8) – Q4: 27 (6)
NSW: 29/43 @ 67%
Prudence Ellis: 13/21 @62%
Kiera Austin: 16/22 @ 73%
SA: 27/32 @ 84%
Charlee Hodges: 14/18 @ 78%
Stephanie Sarro: 13/14 @ 93%
NSW│ GS Prudence Ellis, GA Kiera Austin, WA Claire O’Brien, C Kristen Kessler, WD Amy Parmenter (c), GD Cassandra Radford, GK Lauren Moore
SA│ GS Charlee Hodges (co-c), GA Stephanie Sarro, WA Emily Hunter, C Hannah Petty (co-c), WD Georgia Brown, GD Rachel Weidemann, GK Sarah Raper
SA│ Q2 – WD Millie Basedow; Q3 – GS Sarro, GA Hodges.