The Netball NSW Waratahs have been slimly defeated by a powerful Victorian Fury, who finish the 2013 season undefeated after posting a 56-51 Grand Final victory to be crowned the 2013 Australian Netball League Champions.

It was a gallant effort from the NSW side who threw everything at the Victorians, only to be overrun in the final few minutes.

Assistant Coach Maria Lynch said although the result is disappointing, it was a fantastic effort to turn their Week 1 result around.

“The girls gave it everything today and that’s all you can ask of them; the Fury showed why they have been the powerhouses of this year’s competition by remaining undefeated, aided by Malawi GS Mwai Kumwenda who has had a stand-out ANL debut,” Lynch said.

“We were able to stick with them for most of today, which is a different story to our Week 1 loss to them.  We continued our composure from yesterday’s Semi Final [against Flames], gave them a real contest and didn’t make the win easy.”

“It’s disappointing to get so close again to finish Runners-Up, but was a terrific effort from the Waratahs.  We have some stars so hopefully we can go one better next year and bring home the trophy,” Lynch concluded.

Captain Samantha May backed up her coach’s sentiments, praising the team culture the NNSW Waratahs have displayed throughout the competition.

“I’m so proud of my teammates; we have grown as a unit and showed that this weekend.  It’s always difficult playing back-to-back games on a weekend, especially with the intensity that Finals brings.  But we supported each other, everyone gave 110 per cent, and just really proud to be able to lead this group,” May said.

The match began on equal footing before the NNSW Waratahs amped up the intensity, mixing up their ball movement between patience and quick pace to catch the Fury defence off guard.  Scoring a run of four unanswered goals, the NSW side went into the first break six goals up, leading Fury 15-9.

Head Coach Stacey West made one change for the second quarter, bringing Casey Price onto GD to partner Fiona Themann at GK.  The ploy was obvious for the defenders to get in the face of the Waratahs shooters, putting pressure on the shot and cutting down the free space.

The tactic worked with the Victorians outscoring the Waratahs 16 goals to eight to take the lead in the final minutes of the first half, 25-23.

Just as they had in the Semi Final, 2012 ANL Player of the Year Kristy Guthrie came onto WA for the second half.  The combination with C Emily Keenan brought patience and composure to the front end, and soon the NNSW Waratahs were able to level the scoreboard.

However through their tall timber Mwai Kumwenda at GS, the Fury held strong.  Nothing could separate the two sides as they traded goals for the third quarter, with the Waratahs unable to close the two goal deficit; Fury leading 40-38 at the final break.

The Fury put their foot down in the final quarter, pushing out their advantage on the scoreboard to as many as eight goals.  But the NNSW Waratahs showed patience and composure that has been prevalent in their Finals campaign.

Despite NNSW Waratahs putting on a run of goals in the final couple minutes, the deficit was too large to chase down with the Victorians running away to a five goal victory.

Fury GS Mwai Kumwenda was awarded the 2013 ANL Player of the Year at presentations after her record-breaking debut season.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NNSW WARATAHS Q1: 15 – Q2: 23 (8) – Q3: 38 (15) – Q4: 51 (13)
VIC FURY Q1: 9 – Q2: 25 (16) – Q3: 40 (15) – Q4: 56 (16)

Shooting Statistics
NNSW WARATAHS: 51/62 @ 82%
Mel Tallent: 27/31 @ 87%
Leah Shoard: 24/31 @ 77%

VIC FURY: 56/59 @ 94%
Mwai Kumwenda: 38/39 @ 97%
Ashlee Howard: 18/20 @ 90%

Teams Starting Positions
NNSW WARATAHS: GS Mel Tallent, GA Leah Shoard, WA Taylah Davies, C Emily Keenan, WD Ashlee Weir, GD Samantha May (c), GK Elly Willan

VIC FURY: GS Mwai Kumwenda, GA Ashlee Howard, WA Caitlyn Strachan, C Kate Moloney, WD Elle Bennetts, GD Fiona Themann, GK Mary Livesy

Positional Changes
Q3 – WA Kristy Guthrie.

Q2 – GD Casey Price; Q3 – C Kasey Stanaway, WD Moloney; Q4 – GK Amy Steel.