Eastwood Ryde came back from 11 goals down at half-time to defeat Sutherland Shire by four goals, 50-46, in a pulsating Grand Final of the 2013 DOOLEYS State League Waratah Cup held on Wednesday night at the Anne Clark Centre, Lidcombe.
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In what was a carbon copy of the 2012 Grand Final, but in reverse, Sutherland Shire flew out of the blocks taking a commanding ten goal lead into the first break, 18-8, and extending their advantage at half-time to 11, 30-19.
Sutherland’s success in the first half was built on the back of flawless shooting from GS Melissa Tallent and exceptional defending by GK Hannah Lee, who not only shutdown Eastwood Ryde’s attacking options in the goal circle, but on the back of impressive full court defensive pressure from Sutherland, made some important intercepts.
In what proved to be the decisive quarter, Eastwood Ryde started the third quarter with real intent, led by substitute Sophie Halpin at WD, GK Jessica Mansell and their inspirational captain, Jo Day at goal attack. Last year’s runner up went on a five goal run midway through the quarter to cut the lead to seven goals.
The capacity crowd sensed an upset may be on the cards, with both sets of fans cheering on their respective teams from the stands during the break, but it was Eastwood Ryde who continue to dominate proceedings during the third quarter, reducing the deficit to 38-33 at the final change.
It was more of the same in the final quarter for Eastwood Ryde, with goal shooter Amy Sommerville stamping her mark on the Grand Final with some key offensive rebounds and goals under pressure. The Day-Sommerville combination, ably assisted by centre Emily Keenan, controlled their goal circle and drew level with Sutherland after four minutes of the final term, finally hitting the front with the next centre pass, the first time they had led since the opening minute of the game.
Sutherland threw everything they had at them during the final few minutes, but Eastwood Ryde held their nerve, with Day scoring the final goal of the game to bring up the 50 goal mark, before scenes of jubilation broke out around the Anne Clark Centre.
After coming so close over recent years, the delight and relief across the faces of all Eastwood Ryde personnel was clear to see and well summed up by their captain, Jo Day.
“I did not think it would feel this good … we were actually just stoked to make the Grand Final … but actually coming back from what we were, ten down and winning, it just feels amazing,” beamed Day.
“I don’t think we expected that to be the result at the start of the game, but we kept fighting and it felt great”.
In 2012, it was Eastwood Ryde who went through the season undefeated, but this year they had to do it the tough way after finishing in third place after the preliminary rounds, needing to win all three finals to claim the coveted title.
For Eastwood Ryde co-coaches’ Anita Keelan and Leonie Stewart-Weekes, the half-time instructions to their chargers were clear.
“If we wanted it, we had to go and take it … so we had to do all the simple things well, and I think [our players] did want it and they just took [the game] back … it just came together at the right moment,” explained Stewart-Weekes.
The Netball NSW President’s Medal, awarded to the most outstanding player during the Grand Final, was presented to Jo Day who finished the match with 37 of her team’s 50 goals, shooting at 82%.
“The medal that I have got represents Eastwood Ryde, it does not represent me individually. I think everyone stepped up … everyone played to the best of their ability and the result shows [that],” concluded Day.
Netball NSW would like to thank the continued and loyal support of the competition’s major partner, DOOLEYS.
Sutherland Shire Q1: 18 – Q2: 30 (12) – Q3: 38 (8) – Q4: 46 (8)
Eastwood Ryde Q1: 8 – Q2: 19 (11) – Q3: 33 (14) – Q4: 50 (17)
Sutherland Shire: 46/63 @ 73%
Mel Tallent: 22/29 @ 76%
Leah Shoard: 22/29 @ 76%
Holly Pearce: 2/5 @ 40%
Eastwood Ryde: 50/70 @ 71%
Amy Sommerville: 13/23 @ 52%
Jo Day: 37/45 @ 82%
Teams Starting Positions
Sutherland Shire: GS Melissa Tallent, GA Leah Shoard (cpt), WA Nicole Harrison, C Taylah Davies, WD Jay Rikard-Bell, GD Nadja Kundrus-Little, GK Hannah Lee
Eastwood Ryde: GS Amy Sommerville, GA Jo Day (cpt), WA Brooke Miller, C Tiffany Normand, WD Laura McLaren, GD Jessica Calderara, GK Jessica Mansell
Netball NSW President’s Medal (for Most Outstanding Player of the Final): Jo Day
Umpires: Michelle Phippard and Tara Warner
Reserve: Stewart Ting
Crowd: Approx. 400