Big performance sets up Netball NSW Blues win

A solid third quarter performance has seen the Netball NSW Blues claim a 60-39 victory over the Territory Storm in Week 5 of the 2014 Australian Netball League (ANL) and Canberra’s AIS Arena.

Despite getting off to “a slow start”, Head Coach Briony Akle said she was pleased the NNSW Blues were able to regroup to come away with a 21 goal victory.

“It was a pretty slow start from both teams today, but really happy the girls were able to address that at the quarter break, regroup and come away with a pretty solid result in the end,” Akle said.

“Our third quarter performance really set up the win for us today, but it started from the second quarter.  Everyone did their jobs; we were able to use all our bench today, and we won every quarter.  So I’m really happy.

“Now it’s about addressing some of those things we need to work on ready for Western Sting next weekend, who you’d have to say are in red-hot Finals contention,” Akle concluded.

In a mistake riddled opening quarter it was the NNSW Blues who settled first, once again led by Nikki Deegenaars at WD.  With their Vice-Captain taking three crucial intercepts, the young NSW outfit were able to open up a handy lead halfway through the quarter which they were able to maintain until the first break.

Australian underage defenders Toni Anderson and Kirra Jones worked well in the Storm’s circle, shutting down the free movement of the shooters, whilst showing their athletic capabilities under the high ball.

Both teams made their first changes to their line-ups for the second quarter; the NNSW Blues bringing on Captain Sophie Halpin to C, moving Donnay Van Taak to WA, while Billie Newton came onto C for the Storm.  The change made an immediate impact to the NSW side, with Halpin providing a strong drive and defensive presence.

The Storm staged a mini comeback early in the second quarter, however the NNSW Blues midcourt displayed great defensive pressure to keep the ball out of the Storm’s attacking third.  Combine with Anderson and Jones working the circle as a unit, the Storm were limited to just 10 attempts in 15 minutes, setting up the NNSW Blues’ 11 goal lead at half-time.

While the Storm made a raft of changes for the start of the second half, the NNSW Blues line-up remained the same.  While the changes looked to re-energise the Storm, the NNSW Blues were up to the challenge with their defensive end turning over ball for their shooters to capitalise on the scoreboard.

By the time the Storm called a timeout halfway through the quarter, NSW had pulled out to a handy 19 goal advantage, and didn’t look to be taking their foot off the pedal.  With their attack end firing, the NNW Blues extended their lead to 20 goals at the final break.

Akle made wholesome changes to the NSW line-up for the final 15 minutes, switching all but their Captain Halpin at C; four players came on for their first appearance, with Kiera Austin at GS, Holly Pearce at GA, Kara Styles at GD and Billie Gurr at GK, while Anderson and Russell moved to WD and WA, respectively.

The changes took some time to adjust to for NSW, with the Storm benefitting from the momentum switch to narrow the gap on the scoreboard.  However the NNSW Blues dug deep and with five minutes on the clock pulled back out to their 20 goal buffer.

With their bench in full voice backing their teammates, the NNSW Blues claimed a 21 goal victory to end their Week 5 ANL campaign.

The NNSW Blues will be back in action next weekend when they travel to South Australia to meet the Western Sting on Saturday 9 August, before they take on their compatriots the Netball NSW Waratahs in the NSW ANL Derby at the Anne Clark Centre on Wednesday 13 August.

Keep up to date with all the action on the road with Netball NSW’s social media channels;, Twitter and Instagram @netballnsw #ANL2014 #GoNSW

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NNSW BLUES│ Q1: 13 – Q2: 27 (14) – Q3: 46 (19) – Q4: 60 (14)
NT STORM│ Q1: 7 – Q2: 16 (9) – Q3: 26 (10) – Q4: 39 (13)

Shooting Statistics
NNSW BLUES: 60/72 @ 83%
Claudia Russell: 31/39 @ 80%
Lauren Yager: 15/16 @ 94%
Keira Austin: 9/11 @ 82%
Holly Pearce: 5/6 @ 83%

NT STORM:39/48 @ 81%
Katelyn Platten: 9/11 @ 82%
Rebecca Winch: 17/19 @ 90%
Michelle Winch: 13/18 @ 72%

Starting Line-ups
NNSW BLUES│ GS Claudia Russell, GA Lauren Yager, WA Claire O’Brien, C Donnay Van Taak, WD Nikki Deegenaars, GD Kirra Jones, GK Toni Anderson

NT STORM│ GS Katelyn Platten, GA Rebecca Winch, WA Gemma Henderson, C Jamie Collins, WD Amanda Varley, GD Emma Tickner, GK Karli Foster

Positional Changes
NNSW BLUES│ Q2 – WA Van Taak, C Sophie Halpin (c); Q4 – GS Keira Austin, GA Holly Pearce, WA Russell, WD Anderson, GD Kara Styles, GK Billie Gurr.

NT STORM│ Q2 – C Billie Newton; Q3 – GS Michelle Winch, GA Platten, WA R Winch, C Collins, WD Newton, GK Maddy Balsom; Q4 – GA R Winch, WA Collins, C Henderson.