Newcastle finish undefeated Division 6 Champions

Newcastle (NNA) have gone through the 2015 DOOLEYS State League undefeated to be crowned the Division 6 Champions after overcoming a spirited Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers (KKNA) 57-37 in the Grand Final contested tonight, Monday 20 July, at Netball Central.

Head Coach Maria Hoad was understandably delighted with the result, her NNA charges able to finish off the perfect unbeaten season – a difficult feat in the State’s premier netball competition.

“All the girls are just amazing; they’re so dedicated to their sport and it’s really good that they’ve had to travel each week and yet played consistent netball week-in, week-out, to finish 2015 Champions,” Hoad said.

“I can’t begin to say how proud I am of them, it’s just been amazing. They play the game with good sportsmanship and enjoyed playing together this year.”

Defensive pressure was a highlight early with both sides putting up strong hands-over and one-on-one match-ups to set the scene.  However NNA showed why they were undefeated throughout the season, showing plenty of intent and drive down the court – their shooters capitalising on the extra possession to take them out to a five goal lead halfway through the opening quarter.

They didn’t stop there; with a timeout seeing KKNA make their first change, the unscheduled break didn’t disrupt the Minor Premier’s momentum as they continued to push out their advantage on the scoreboard.

Despite introducing a more mobile shooting combination during the timeout, KKNA weren’t able to capitalise under the post until late in the quarter, with a push in the final few minutes seeing them come back from seven goals down to get within three at the first break; Newcastle leading 13-10.

After their opposition finished the opening quarter strongly, a resurgent NNA came out for the start of the second 15 minutes by putting up five unanswered goals to further extend their advantage. KKNA’s defenders worked tirelessly to stem the flow, double-defending NNA’s prolific Goal Shooter to force their opponents to work patiently in attack.

The tactic worked as NNA found it difficult to get the ball safely into the circle, with KKNA’s defenders picking off the high ball.  The match entered into a scrappy affair for a few minutes with errors occurring in both attacking ends, the flow of goals stemming for a short while.

It would be Newcastle who would emerge from it best, outscoring KKNA 14 goals to six to extend their advantage to 11 goals at half-time, 27-16.

After NNA had started strongest in the previous two quarters, it was KKNA who came rampaging out for the second half by putting up six goals to two, clawing the deficit back and setting up an exciting contest. Fans were in full voice, willing on their teams. With the swing in momentum, so too did KKNA’s confidence grow – their defence was tighter, their transitional play slicker, and while NNA remained in front on the scoreboard they endured a period of being on the back foot.

KKNA’s Goal Keeper had her eye in as she came out hunting for the long, high pass into NNA’s attacking third.  Despite her aerial heroics KKNA could only win the quarter by one goal with NNA maintaining a 10-goal buffer at the final break.

With 15 minutes to bounce back from a double-digit deficit, KKNA threw everything at the contest – even switching a shooter into defence, and defender into shooter. Despite the personnel switch NNA continued to control match play, their Goal Shooter unstoppable when under the high ball.

With the clock quickly ticking down, NNA’s chances of victory became more apparent; but KKNA wouldn’t give up the good fight. Giving it everything until the final whistle KKNA did their best. But ultimately NNA were too strong, going through the season 20 consecutive wins to claim the 2015 title.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NNA│ Q1: 13 – Q2: 27 (14) – Q3: 39 (12) – Q4: 57 (18)
KKNA│ Q1: 10 – Q2: 16 (6) – Q3: 29 (13) – Q4: 37 (8)

Shooting Statistics
NNA: 57/71 @ 80%
M. Taylor: 35/40 @ 88%
L. Soli: 10/18 @ 56%
K. Stanfield: 12/13 @ 92%

KKNA: 37/51 @ 73%
C. Aoake-Puru: 0/1 @ 0%
V. Aoake: 14/16 @ 88%
J. Hohua: 21/29 @ 72%
N. Bridges: 2/5 @ 40%

2015 DOOLEYS State League Division 6 – Finals Series Results
Mon 6 July Major Semi Final Newcastle 63 d Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers 41
  Minor Semi Final Blacktown City 60 d Campbelltown 51
Mon 13 July Preliminary Final Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers 56 d Blacktown City 34
Mon 20 July GRAND FINAL Newcastle 57 d Kurri Kurri/Hunter Flyers 37