NSW fight hard in loss to NT

The NSW 19/U Team has gone down to a relentless Northern Territory side, 35-32, with a crucial intercept in the final minutes of the Round 7 contest all the difference at the 2014 National Netball Championships in Melbourne.

Needing a big winning margin to have any hope of contesting tomorrow’s Semi Finals, NSW went into the match full of energy – coming back from as many as eight goals down at one stage to push NT to the very end.

A couple key possession gains to NT gave them an early lead over NSW, with their attacking end putting pressure over the pass to force the turnovers. The Territory shooters had their eye in to give their side a six goal lead, with NSW calling a timeout in the last three minutes of the quarter.

The short break brought on NSW captain Tanisha Stanton to WA.  The experienced campaigner having an immediate effect, getting involved in the next play resulting in a NSW goal.  However NT had all the momentum and with consecutive goals took a six goal buffer into the first break, 11-5.

NT looked set to control the second quarter however NSW had different notions, scoring five goals to one in the first three minutes.  Stanton’s patient feeding to her shooters was a highlight as the noise emanating from the stands – mostly from a vocal NSW 17/U Team supporting their older counterparts – filled the court.

With two minutes left until half-time NSW had clawed their way back to within two goals after some great shooting from Natalie Eldridge (GS) and Lauren Yager (GA).  A key pick-up from defender Toni Anderson saw NSW get within one goal, but time ran out with NT taking a slim buffer into the big break, 18-17.

NSW hit the front after two minutes with the attacking trio of Eldridge, Yager and particularly Stanton really gelling together. A timeout was called halfway through the quarter with NT looking to disrupt NSW momentum, with the Blues having pulled out to a four goal lead.

The tactic worked with NT putting up the next couple goals to get back within two. Some costly turnovers in NSW front end led to their opposition equalising late in the quarter, but NSW wouldn’t lie and wait.  Jumping back out to a two goal buffer, NT came back hard in the final minute to equalise on the whistle to tie up the scoreboard, 26-26.

With their Finals chances all but over, NSW looked to come out hard and finish the quarter strongly. The defensive end began to implement a zone, trying something new for their campaign to limit NT’s free movement and space to the circle edge.  But NT had all the momentum from the previous quarter putting up three unanswered goals before NSW’s Yager called timeout.

The short break did NSW well with two minutes left on the clock had tied the scores once more.  Fans were on their feet willing the teams on, as NT took a crucial centre pass intercept to edge in front.  In no time they had a three goal buffer which they never relinquished to take honours.

NSW will finish the round robin stage in fifth place setting up a contest against Australian Capital Territory tomorrow, Friday 11 April, at 1pm AEST.  Stay tuned to Netball NSW social media channels for live score updates throughout the match;
Instagram @netballnsw – using the hashtags #19UNetball #GoNSW

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NSW│ Q1: 5 – Q2: 17 (12) – Q3: 26 (9) – Q4: 32 (6)
NT│ Q1: 11 – Q2: 18 (7) – Q3: 26 (8) – Q4: 35 (9)

Shooting Statistics
NSW: 32/36 @ 89%
Natalie Eldridge: 24/27 @ 89%
Lauren Yager: 8/9 @ 89%

NT: 35/40 @ 88%
Ashlee Singleton: 13/17 @ 76%
Sam Gooden: 22/23 @ 96%

Starting Line-ups         
NSW│ GS Natalie Eldridge, GA Lauren Yager, WA Courtney Richmond, C Madeline Woods, WD Zoe Gilbert, GD Toni Anderson, GK Billie Gurr

NT│ GS Ashlee Singleton, GA Sam Gooden, WA Ellen Schembri, C Gemma Henderson, WD Nadine van der Nest, GD Maddy Balson, GK Shay Moloney

Positional Changes
NSW│ Q1 Timeout – WA Tanisha Stanton.

NT│ Q2 – WD Sheridan Cullinan; Q3 – WD van der Nest.