New South Wales 19/U held off a fast-finishing South Australia by two goals to record a thrilling 29-27 victory in Round 5 of the 2018 National Netball Championships in Adelaide.
Momentum fluctuated between the sides throughout the match, with both enjoying extended periods of dominance.
NSW looked to have the match almost wrapped up late in the second quarter, as their slick movement in attack saw their lead blow out to 11 goals.
But the plucky South Australians demonstrated tremendous fight and skill under pressure, shooting six out of the first seven goals in the last quarter to reduce the deficit to just two.
But that was as close as they got, with the home team left ruing a number of missed opportunities, while New South Wales’ composure going forward and clinical finishing at the post proved to be the key difference between the sides.
NSW wing attack Tayla Fraser and goal attack Madeline Eaton (20 goals from 25 attempts), who linked brilliantly on countless occasions in both attack and defence, were among the best players on court.
Fraser, NSW’s captain, admitted the team’s form had been patchy coming into Round 5 and said the team had strongest performance of the championships to date.
“We’ve been having slow starts… it was really nice to stick to a four-quarter game.”
Fraser was quick to divert praise to Eaton and goal shooter Georgia Westwood (nine from 17), who in her first year with the side has become a vital component in the team’s attacking end.
Both sides now have three wins and two losses to remain firmly in finals contention, but Fraser says her side cannot afford to look that far ahead.
“We are in better stead (after winning]) … but we still have big games to go and you can’t underestimate anyone in this competition.”
However, there was heartache for the NSW 17/U team who put in a fine performance against Queensland only to fall just short by a single goal – 36-35.
The result means NSW drop out of the top four but do have games against Northern Territory and South Australia to get themselves back in contention.