Experience prevails over Netball NSW Blues

A strong first half performance gave the Southern Force a strong 67-40 win over the Netball NSW Blues to complete both sides’ Week 3 action for the 2014 Australian Netball League (ANL) at Melbourne’s Waverley Netball Centre.

It was the third straight defeat for the young NSW outfit, however Head Coach Briony Akle said winning wasn’t the only goal her side set for the weekend.

“Disappointing to come away from the weekend without a win, but we knew we were taking the court against some quality opposition.  We spoke about building and exposing our younger players to the contest, which we did and now we have plenty to work with back at training,” Akle said.

“I thought ‘Deegs’ [Nikki Degeenaars] had a fantastic game today – she epitomised what it is to play for NSW.  She was hard working, tenacious, and led from the front … her game today is what I’m looking for from every [NNSW] Blues player who takes the court.

“Toni Anderson and Kiera Austin also had great games off the bench and gave us a real boost in the second half.  We’ve got lots of work to do but I’m excited to get back to the training track and work hard ahead of Week 5 in Canberra,” Akle concluded.

View highlights of the NNSW Blues’ three games on NetballNSWTV below:

The NNSW Blues opened the scoring but the first quarter belonged to the Force, with the South Australians quickly opening up a handy lead.  After five minutes NSW called a timeout, trailing their opposition by seven goals.

Chelsea Lemke was on fire for the South Australians, going to the post with confidence from anywhere in the circle.  The NSW midcourters stepped up their defensive pressure towards the end of the quarter, assisting their circle defenders with strong hands over the pass.  However the Force were still able to put up 20 goals for the opening 15 minutes, getting out to an 11 goal lead at the first break.

16-year-old Australian underage defender Lauren Moore was handed the GD bib for the second quarter to try and stem the influence of Lemke.  However the Force had found another gear, showing their speed and quick ball movement to catch the young NNSW Blues defence off guard.

The South Australians were brimming with confidence; their defensive pressure was almost suffocating, slowing down the NNSW Blues attacking play.  After scoring another 20-goal quarter, the Force extended their lead over the young NSW side to 23 by half-time, 40-17.

The big break brought wholesale changes to the NNSW Blues for the second half, with all seven positions changing.  Akle brought on four players from the bench as well as swapping three other players, and despite the changes the NNSW Blues didn’t take long to adjust.

Vice-Captain Nikki Degeenaars led from the front in the C bib, providing strong leads across the court while transitioning quickly into defence.  Combined with strong start from Australian 17/U shooter Kiera Austin, the NNSW Blues began to push and had pulled the deficit back to 20 goals by time a timeout was called from the opposition.

A stronger performance from the NNSW Blues saw them win the third quarter by two goals, but the South Australians still maintained a comfortable lead heading into the final 15 minutes.

The NNSW Blues made one more change heading into fourth quarter, bringing on athletic defender Kara Styles to GK.  Some wayward passes from the South Australians gave the NNSW Blues a sniff, the young side pushing to work themselves into the contest.  However the Force settled and on the back of a 40 goal first half took the match by 27 goals.

The NNSW Blues have a bye for Week 4, however their NSW counterparts the Netball NSW Waratahs are back in action, travelling to Brisbane for a triple-header against the Queensland Fusion, Western Sting and Territory Storm.

Keep up-to-date with the team’s progress through Netball NSW social media channels; www.facebook.com/OfficialNetballNSW Twitter and Instagram @netballnsw #ANL2014 #GoNSW

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NNSW BLUES│ Q1: 9 – Q2: 17 (8) – Q3: 30 (13) – Q4: 40 (10)
SA FORCE│ Q1: 20 – Q2: 40 (20) – Q3: 51 (11) – Q4: 67 (16)

Shooting Statistics
NNSW BLUES: 40/56 @ 71%
Georgia Marshall: 8/13 @ 62%
Claudia Russell: 9/14 @ 64%
Holly Pearce: 13/17 @ 76%
Kiera Austin:10/12 @ 83%

SA FORCE: 67/78 @ 86%
Georgie Virgo: 30/32 @ 94%
Chelsea Lemke: 14/16 @ 88%
Kelly Jarrett: 14/19 @ 74%
Laura Packard:9/11 @ 82%

Teams Starting Line-up
NNSW BLUES│ GS Georgia Marshall, GA Claudia Russell, WA Tanisha Stanton, C Donnay Van Taak, WD Nikki Degeenaars (vc), GD Kara Styles, GK Billie Gurr
SA FORCE│ GS Georgia Virgo, GA Chelsea Lemke, WA Kelly Altmann, C Hannah Petty, WD Maddy Turner, GD Sarah Klau, GK Samantha Poolman

Positional Changes
NNSW BLUES│ Q1 Timeout – GS Russell, GA Marshall; Q2 – GD Lauren Moore; Q3 – GS Holly Pearce, GA Kiera Austin, WA Van Taak, C Degeenaars, WD Sophie Halpin (c), GD Toni Anderson, GK Moore; Q4 – GK Kara Styles;
SA FORCE│ Q2 – GK Luka Thompson; Q3 – GS Kylie Jarrett, WA Laura Packard, WD Thompson, GD Georgia Beaton, GK Klau; Q4 – GA Packard, WA Lemke, WD Beaton, GD Turner;

Netball NSW Blues – Week 3 Results
NNSW Blues 37 def by VIC Fury 66
NNSW Blues 45 def by VIC Flames 49
NNSW Blues 40 def by Southern Force 67

Click here to view the full 2014 ANL Fixture.
Click here to view the 2014 ANL Ladder.