Waratahs overcome by defending champions

16 SLIDER NNSW Wartahs v VIC Fury State Netball Hockey Centre

The Netball NSW (NNSW) Waratahs have suffered their first loss of the 2016 Australian Netball League (ANL) with defending champions Victorian Fury claiming a 60-44 victory in Melbourne tonight, Saturday 14 May.

Head Coach Briony Akle said their opening minutes resulted in the NNSW Waratahs being forced into chase mode early, setting up a hard day at the office for the young NSW athletes.

“It was tough out there today; the Fury is a really tough opponent and they showed that tonight,” Akle said. “Our start was really scrappy and it put us on the back foot early which is not where we want to be.”

“Credit to our girls though, they worked hard to pull themselves back into the contest and I think there are plenty lessons we can take from tonight’s loss… particularly our second half; I thought we were able to action some of the things we spoke about pre-game and it showed on the scoreboard.

Despite the loss, Akle said the team would review their performance and quickly move on to tomorrow’s contest.

“We’ve got a quick turnaround, so it’s important that the players recover well, we take a look at some of the positives from tonight’s game and make sure we action them tomorrow for our second game against the Fury,” Akle concluded.

It was a scrappy affair for the start of the highly-anticipated match-up with both sides guilty of plenty turnovers; but it was NSW who were worse affected. Their first goal came after six minutes of play with Fury defenders not giving their opponents an inch. Meanwhile the hosts had settled into the game and were able to find the post through mobile goal attack Mikaela Vaughan.

A quick timeout saw Kiera Austin make way for Vanessa Mullampy at goal attack, with the change seeming to find more space at the NSW shooting end.  However time wasn’t on their side with VIC taking a handy 10-goal lead into quarter time.

The break allowed Akle to make further changes to her line-up by bringing on Captain Taylah Davies to C and moving Kaitlyn Bryce to WA. While giving the visitors plenty of speed through the midcourt, it couldn’t limit Fury’s control on the game with the Victorians finding another gear in attack.

Despite NSW better performing in the second stanza, so too did the defending champions who slowly but surely continued to push out their lead. Through strong ball play, tight one-on-one defence and accurate shooting, Fury maintained their dominance on contest to head into half-time with a healthy 16-goal advantage.

Again NSW looked to their bench by making a number of changes for the start of the second half. In attack Austin came back onto GA while Hay moved into C, making room for Jessica Calderara (WD) and Kara Styles (GD) to make their first appearances for the weekend.

The fresh legs invigorated NSW and they were rewarded on the scoreboard; but they weren’t able to limit the goals against them. With Fury introducing a more agile shooting combination – including former AIS athlete Kate Thompson at GS – the hosts continued to chip away from NSW.

However the Blues were able to enjoy a purple patch late in the quarter, which saw the visitor’s put up six goals to one, to stay in touch of the Victorians. The result saw the Vics remain in the lead at the final break, but NSW had clawed the deficit back by one goal; Fury lead 47-32.

Staring at a 15-goal deficit with 15 minutes remaining, NSW again made a raft of changes for the final quarter – Alison Miller making her first appearance for the weekend at GS along with O’Brien (WA) and Moore (GK) coming back onto court.

Despite throwing everything into the contest, the scoreboard gap proved too great as Fury continued to push. With VIC also making a number of changes, before and during the quarter, their fresh legs also allowed them to continue to transition the ball with speed.

With Fury going on to be eventual 16-goal victors, NSW’s second half performance will give the visitors a confidence boost leading into tomorrow’s second match-up.

The two sides will be back on court tomorrow from 2:30pm AEST at Hisense Arena for part two of their Round 3 contest. Fury and NNSW Waratahs will follow the NSW Swifts v Melbourne Vixens ANZ Championship fixture at 12pm midday.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NSW│ Q1: 6 – Q2: 16 (10) – Q3: 32 (16) – Q4: 44 (12)
VIC│ Q1: 16 – Q2: 32 (16) – Q3: 47 (15) – Q4: 60 (13)

Shooting Statistics
NSW: 44/53 @ 83%
G. Marshall: 20/22 @ 91%
K. Austin: 13/19 @ 68%
V. Mullampy: 5/5 @ 100%
A. Miller: 6/7 @ 86%

VIC: 60/77 @ 78%
J. Cook: 17/20 @ 85%
M. Vaughan: 19/22 @ 86%
S. Gooden: 9/14 @ 64%
K. Thompson: 15/21 @ 71%

Starting Line-ups
NSW│ GS Georgia Marshall, GA Kiera Austin, WA Claire O’Brien, C Kaitlyn Bryce, WD Maddie Hay, GD Lauren Moore, GK Teigan O’Shannassy

VIC│ GS Jane Cook, GA Mikaela Vaughan, WA Ella Bayliss, C Elle Bennetts, WD Lara Dunkley, GD Shannon Eagland, GK Fiona Themann (C)

Positional Changes
NSW│ Q1 Timeout – GA Vanessa Mullampy; Q2 – WA Bryce, C Taylah Davies (C); Q3 – GA Austin, C Hay, WD Jessica Calderara, GD Kara Styles; Q4 – GS Alison Miller, WA O’Brien, GK Moore.

VIC│ Q2 – GA Sam Gooden; Q3 – GS Kate Thompson, GA Vaughan; Q3 Timeout – GD Kate Eddy; Q4 – GA Gooden, C Tayla Honey, WD Bennetts; Q4 Timeout – GK Maddy Balson.