The NSW 17/U Team have booked their spot in the 2015 17/U National Netball Championships after defeating Victoria, 26-21, in today’s Semi Final.
A loud and proud NSW crowd turned up to support their team who were facing a psychological test having gone down to VIC by 16 goals during the preliminary rounds. However the young Blues outfit were composed from the very first whistle, shaking off any previous result shadows.
Head Coach Moira Gaha told NetballNSWTV that she was extremely proud of her charges for turning around essentially a 21-goal difference from their Round 4 defeat to today’s Semi Final win.
“It was a fantastic game, a really strong game from both teams [and] I’m so proud of the girls that were out there [on court] today – they fought hard, they built a lead and they stuck to the game plan…and all week, all 12 girls have made their contributions in different games. We’ve been so, so blessed to have a group of girls that are so united and that can offer so many different things out on that court,” Gaha commented.
Watch the highlights and hear more from the Coach on NetballNSWTV:
It was an electrifying start to the sudden-death Semi Final with some terrific intercepts featuring from both sides in the opening five minutes. 2014 Australian underage representative Lauren Moore was up-and-about early, taking vital intercepts to gain possession for the Blues whilst assisting to transitioning the ball quickly into attack.
Whilst NSW hit the lead early, the sides were locked in a see-sawing battle and with the ball in Veronika Jukic hands after being awarded a penalty shot, the 17-year-old nailed her mid-range shot to give NSW a one-goal buffer at the first break and send the NSW crowd into a frenzy.
Backed by a vocal crowd – including the NSW 19/U Team – the Blues pushed on in the second quarter, gaining possession thanks to some brilliant defensive work down back, to see NSW gain a handy three goal buffer with six minutes until half time.
However a timeout called from VIC with three minutes to play disrupted the Blues’ momentum, allowing their opposition to get back in the contest. VIC pulled back to within two goals and looked primed to get even closer, however a vital deflection from Moore in the dying seconds denied VIC a shot at goal; the Blues taking a three goal buffer into the big break.
VIC opted to use the break to make their first changes whilst NSW Head Coach Moira Gaha showed faith in her charges by maintaining her starting seven. NSW shooting combination Jukic and co-Vice Captain Laura Towell grew in confidence as the clock ticked down, while ably assisted by midcourters Captain Kristen Kessler (WA) and Tayla Fraser (C), providing strong feeds into the circle.
After NSW put up four unanswered goals, VIC called a timeout to stop the haemorrhage of goals against them and hit the reset button. The unscheduled break allowed VIC to make further changes to their midcourt, while it did little to disrupt NSW’s momentum; the Blues extending their buffer to 10 goals at the final break.
With fans on their feet NSW were up and about, with only 10 minutes to decide who would meet Queensland in the 2015 Grand Final. VIC were able to claw back two goals to get within eight halfway through the quarter, setting up an exciting finale.
VIC’s midcourt box defence proved a worry for NSW as they found it difficult to break through. The result saw VIC put up five consecutive goals to get back within five goals before a timeout allowed NSW a chance to reset with just over two minutes left to play.
There were players everywhere giving everything to the contest, looking to claim vital possession gains for their side. In trademark form Moore came out to a take an intercept in the midcourt, throwing a long bomb to Jukic under the circle to slot in a final goal in the dying seconds to see NSE five-goal victors and claim their spot in the 2015 title-decider.
Next up the NSW 19/U Team will take the court for their Semi Final against South Australia at 4:45pm, to decide who will feature in the 2015 Grand Final tomorrow – the other spot will be determined between the VIC v Western Australia Semi Final at 3:30pm.
NSW│ Q1: 6 – Q2: 14 (8) – Q3: 24 (10) – Q4: 26 (2)
VIC│ Q1: 5 – Q2: 11 (6) – Q3: 14 (3) – Q4: 21 (7)
NSW: 26/37 @ 70%
V. Jukic: 15/24 @ 63%
L. Towell: 11/13 @ 85%
VIC: 21/27 @ 78%
D. Phillips: 14/17 @ 82%
R. Samason: 6/9 @ 67%
B. O’Halloran: 1/1 @ 100%
NSW│ GS Veronika Jukic, GA Laura Towell (co-VC), WA Kristen Kessler (C), C Tayla Fraser, WD Demi Evans, GD Lauren Moore (co-VC), GK Teigan O’Shannassy
VIC │ GS Danielle Phillips, GA Rahni Samason, WA Kate Kelly-Oman, C Sharni Lambden (C), WD Major Hikuroa, GD Matilda Garrett, GK Mardi Cunningham
VIC│ Q3 – GA Bridget O’Halloran, GK Brooke Allan; Q3 Timeout – WA Laura Cayzer, C Kelly-Oman, WD Lambden; Q4 – GA Samason.
Watch Australia’s finest young netballers in the 2015 17/U and 19/U National Netball Championships hosted by Netball NSW at Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park, from 14-19 April 2015.
Each State and Territory will be represented at this year’s Championships, which features four days of round robin games, followed by Semi Finals and Finals on the last two days.
Tickets start from $10 for Children/Concessions and $15 for Adults, with Season Passes available for purchase to allow entry into the tournament every day, from Tuesday 14 to Sunday 19 April. But you better be quick; tickets are strictly limited to 800 spectators per session, so head to our Nationals Ticketing page for more information on securing your seat.