Netball NSW is through to its second 2015 National Netball Championships Grand Final with the 19/U State Team defeating South Australia, 39-26, in tonight’s Semi Final.
In what was a tough and physical decider, NSW withheld a determined SA outfit to claim victory and a spot in the 2015 title-decider tomorrow, Sunday 19 April, where they will meet Victoria at 2:15pm.
The victory follows the side’s younger counterparts, the NSW 17/U Team, winning their Semi Final against Victoria to book their spot in the 2015 Grand Final tomorrow at 12:45pm.
Head Coach Briony Akle said after witnessing the 17/U State Team’s triumphant win earlier in the day, it made her charges even more eager to claim victory against SA.
“We came and watched the 17s earlier and I think they really inspired us to go out there and play our best, and we really did that,” Akle said.
“It was a lot more physical than we thought it would be – SA really stepped up and I think it took us a little bit by surprise, but the good thing about our girls is they stepped up… hopefully we’ll be able to step up against Victoria.”
NSW opened the scoring through their Captain Kiera Austin, going on to put up three consecutive goals before SA found an answer through GA Charlee Hodges. It was an intense contest from the outset as players threw themselves at the ball with the aim of gaining possession for their side.
SA were able to pull back to trail by one after lightning transition into attack, and while the Blues got back out to three soon after, it was once again chased down by a determined SA outfit. Locked in a see-sawing battle of trading goals, NSW were able to hold onto a one goal buffer at the first break.
Just like the quarter before it Austin opened the scoring, however this time SA had an immediate answer through GS Kelsey Williams nailing a mid-range bomb. Back and forth the teams would trade goals until last five minutes where, slowly but surely, NSW began to add to their goal tally.
SA were quick in getting the ball to their shooters, however NSW soon learned to counter the speed forcing their opposition to panic under the pressure. The result saw the Blues extend their lead to five goals at the half-time break.
The visitors came out firing for the start of the second half, closing the gap to just a single goal after four minutes of play. Whilst NSW were able to withstand the pressure for a short while, soon SA found an equaliser setting up an exciting finale to the third quarter.
Countering their second quarter nerves while moving the ball, SA took a calm and patient approach in attack which aided in their chase on the scoreboard. A timeout late in the quarter allowed Akle the opportunity to make her first changes, bringing on Elyssa Pierce to C moving Parmenter to WD and Anderson to GD.
The changes did little to break the deadlock, however they neither allowed SA closer than two goals as Austin once again nailed a mid-range shot in the dying seconds for NSW to maintain a three goal advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
Despite a nervous start to the final quarter – including a turnover to each side – GS Cristy Linaker found the net to open the scoring for both sides; following up with a second after converting an intercept from GK Ashley Valeni.
Soon NSW were back out to a six goal lead, with Valeni starring down back. The Blues attackers were a huge help to their defensive teammates, putting the pressure on right down the midcourt to give Valeni a sniff at the high feed into SA’s third.
With five minutes on the clock NSW had pulled out to a handy eight goal buffer, however never looked settled as SA continued to push. But with a double-digit NSW lead on the clock in the final two minutes, the deficit was too large to chase with the Blues posting a 13 goal victory and book their place in the 2015 title-decider.
NSW│ Q1: 9 – Q2: 18 (9) – Q3: 26 (8) – Q4: 39 (13)
SA│ Q1: 8 – Q2: 13 (5) – Q3: 23 (10) – Q4: 26 (3)
NSW: 39/47 @ 83%
C. Linaker: 23/26 @ 88%
K. Austin: 16/21 @ 76%
SA: 26/34 @ 76%
K. Williams: 18/24 @ 75%
C. Hodges: 8/10 @ 80%
NSW│ GS Cristy Linaker, GA Kiera Austin (C), WA Claire O’Brien, C Amy Parmenter (VC), WD Toni Anderson, GD Cassandra Radford, GK Ashley Valeni
SA │ GS Kelsey Williams, GA Charlee Hodges, WA Stacey Hein, C Hannah Petty, WD Emily Burgess (C), GD Amelia Basedow, GK Sarah Raper
NSW│ Q3 Timeout – C Elyssa Pierce, WD Parmenter, GD Anderson.
SA │ Q3 – GK Lucy Armfield.
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.