UPDATE: 6:30pm, Tuesday 14 April
The opening day of the 2015 17/U and 19/U National Netball Championships has wrapped for NSW, with the hosts finishing with three wins and a loss after two rounds.
The NSW 17/U Team finished the day undefeated after posting wins against Western Australia (Round 1) and South Australia (Round 2), whilst the 19/U State Team came back from a narrow loss to Victoria in Round 1 to defeat Australian Capital Territory, 39-22, in Round 2 for confidence boost ahead of the rest of the week-long tournament.
19U Rd 2: NSW 39 d ACT 22
It was a spirited NSW searching for their first win who met ACT after a disappointing opening round loss earlier in the day. Cristy Linaker took the honours of opening the score after providing a strong target under the post. The Blues played at a blinding speed, moving the ball at a frenetic pace which saw them quickly pull out to an eight-goal lead.
However ACT soon settled, pouncing on possession gains to pull back the deficit. Linaker continued to provide a strong target in the circle and with her eye in helped take NSW to a four-goal lead at the first break.
NSW continued their strong handle on the game with Linaker again leading from the front, with her Captain and shooting partner Kiera Austin ably assisting. The Blues’ defensive end was equally up to the challenge of their attacking teammates, with 2014 Australian representatives Toni Anderson (19/U) and Cassandra Radford (17/U) combining beautifully – Radford also assisting to transition the ball quickly down the court.
But ACT couldn’t be discounted as they continued to work hard, closing in on the deficit only to be beaten by the half-time whistle; NSW leading 21-13.
Head Coach Briony Akle opted to change her ends for the second half, bringing on Ashley Valeni to GK whilst Teegan Ryan made her Nationals debut in the GS bib. Ryan did well in her first appearance by providing a strong target for the NSW feeders, with the changes doing little to disrupt NSW’s dominance on the contest.
Despite ACT throwing everything into the contest they couldn’t catch the rampaging NSW who pulled away to comfortable 15-goal buffer at the final break.
Akle used the opportunity to use her bench, bringing on Maddie Woods and Elyssa Pierce to C and WA, respectively, whilst moving Olivia Lennon to WD after impressing in her opening day of Nationals action.
Whilst it was a much closer – and much lower scoring – final quarter, NSW had enough legs to hold on and post a confidence-boosting win; their first for the 2015 tournament.
NSW│ Q1: 11 – Q2: 21 (10) – Q3: 33 (12) – Q4: 39 (6)
ACT│ Q1: 7 – Q2: 13 (6) – Q3: 18 (5) – Q4: 22 (4)
NSW: 39/46 @ 85%
C. Linaker: 12/14 @ 86%
K. Austin: 14/15 @ 93%
T. Ryan: 9/13 @ 69%
E. Moore: 4/4 @ 100%
ACT: 22/27 @ 81%
A. Miller: 12/14 @ 86%
M. Dickson: 4/4 @ 100%
S. Immonen: 4/3 @ 75%
B. Reynolds: 3/5 @ 60%
NSW│ GS Cristy Linaker, GA Kiera Austin (C), WA Claire O’Brien, C Olivia Lennon, WD Amy Parmenter (VC), GD Cassandra Radford, GK Toni Anderson
ACT│ GS Alison Miller (C), GA Molly Dickson, WA Carly Symons, C Breanna Toze, WD Maddie Dwyer, GD Madeline McCathie, GK Alana Bowyer
NSW│ Q3 – GS Teegan Ryan, GK Ashley Valeni; Q4 – GA Emily Moore, WA Elyssa Pierce, C Maddie Woods, WD Lennon.
ACT│ Q2 – WA Toze, C Symons, Q3 – GA Sophie Immonen, WD Lucy Laurent, GK Shahana Plenty; Q4 – GS Immonen, GA Brittney Reynolds, WA Georgia Winter, GD Plenty, GK McCathie.
17U Rd 2: NSW 27 d SA 22
It was a tight contest from the very first whistle with the teams exchanging goals for much of the opening 10 minutes. It wasn’t until late into the quarter that NSW were able to find some rhythm, opening out to a handy four goal lead at the break; partly to a tough midcourt defensive zone that SA found difficult to break.
The visitors took stock from the tactic, employing their own tough defensive measures to limit the influence of NSW on the match. The pressure slowed NSW’s quick transitional play, but it couldn’t stop the shooters from having an influence on the scoreboard.
Maintaining her starting seven, Head Coach Moira Gaha showed faith in her charges who were able to continue their momentum into the second half. 2014 Australian 17/U defender and co-Vice Captain Lauren Moore was in everything – taking vital intercepts as well as helping transition the ball into attack. Midcourt pair Lil Gorman-Brown and Demi Evans showed no signs of nerves in their Nationals debut, combining well to help their circle defenders.
Making her first changes to the side Gaha brought on Tayla Fraser and Kirra Jones at C and WD, respectively, in order to give fresh legs to the NSW defensive line. With 2014 Australian 17/U representative Jones on the court the 17-year-old marshalled the NSW midcourt zone, however some tough possession losses in their attacking third saw SA pounce.
Getting within four goals late in the final quarter SA had momentum, however the clock was against them. With NSW debutant Veronika Jukic scoring in the final 20 seconds, NSW posted a five-goal victory and unbeaten opening day at the 2015 Nationals.
NSW│ Q1: 9 – Q2: 15 (6) – Q3: 20 (5) – Q4: 27 (7)
SA│ Q1: 5 – Q2: 8 (3) – Q3: 15 (7) – Q4: 22 (7)
NSW: 27/36 @ 73%
V. Jukic: 14/21 @ 67%
L. Towell: 13/15 @ 87%
SA: 22/31 @ 73%
S Glasgow: 12/17 @ 71%
M Wilson: 5/8 @ 71%
T. Shinnick: 5/6 @ 83%
NSW│ GS Veronika Jukic, GA Laura Towell (co-VC), WA Kristen Kessler (C), C Lili Gorman-Brown, WD Demi Evans, GD Lauren Moore (co-VC), GK Teigan O’Shannassy
SA│ GS Sasha Glasgow, GA Mary Wilson, WA Nicola Sulley-Beales, C Maisie Nankivell, WD Georgia Brown (C), GD Sophie Croft, GK Emily O’Connell
NSW│ Q4 – C Tayla Fraser, WD Kirra Jones.
SA│ Q3 – GS Wilson, GA Glasgow, WD Ellie Cooper, GD Brown; Q4 – GS Tarnie Shinnick.