The NSW 17/U Team have finished Runners-Up after being defeated by defending champions Victoria, 29-25, in a thrilling Grand Final at the 2014 National Netball Championships.
Their first loss of the tournament, Head Coach Moira Gaha said she couldn’t fault NSW’s fighting spirit and was incredibly proud to finish as Runners-Up.
“We’re really, really proud of the girls. It’s been a huge week – they’ve built, they’ve lifted every time I’ve asked and in that game they fought all the way to the end,” Gaha said.
“Our [team goal] was to have no regrets and leave nothing on that court. We’ve prepared that way and they’ve been so professional in the way they’ve approached everything and they’ve learnt so many lessons.
“We only had one girl that had been to Nationals before and when we finished that game, none of girls on that court had been to Nationals before. I’m incredibly proud of how well they fought in that game,” Gaha concluded.
Watch the full interview with NetballNSWTV below, including comments from NSW captain Amy Parmenter…
It was always going to be another classic NSW v VIC battle, and the first quarter certainly proved that. NSW had claimed honours during the round robin, overcoming the defending champions by five goals to add an extra edge to the contest.
With both NSW and VIC displaying strong defensive pressure, it proved to be the team with the most patience would get ascendency. While VIC were able to limit the free running of NSW midcourters, they had tall target GS Jane Cook – who stands 14cm taller than her NSW opponent GK Lauren Moore – to give them an 8-3 lead at the first break.
The VIC box defence was in full force during the second quarter, really limiting NSW free running game and picking off the long ball into the attacking third. The NSW defensive worked tirelessly to give possession back to their attackers, with GK Moore showing her incredible aerial jump to pick off the intercept.
VIC pounced on some nerves from the NSW outfit to take a handy seven goal lead into half-time, 16-9.
Gaha made her first and only change for the match, bringing on Illawarra representative Kirra Jones to GD. VIC looked to maintain control of the game but NSW wouldn’t lie down. Staging a mini fight back in the final minutes, NSW put up five goals to three to pull the deficit back on the scoreboard.; VIC leading 22-19 at the final break.
Maintaining their momentum into the final 10 minutes, NSW scored two unanswered goals to give VIC a slim one goal advantage. Some spectacular defensive work from GK Moore and GD Jones gave NSW extra possession with GA Austin finding the net to equalise with six minutes to play.
The teams would trade goals until, with two minutes left on the clock, VIC converted a turnover to give them a three goal buffer. With time running out NSW players threw everything at the contest. It was a small lead but it was enough and, with a goal on the buzzer, VIC posted a four goal victory to claim back-to-back 17/U Champions titles.
2014 17/U National Netball Championships – Final Placings
2. New South Wales
3. South Australia
5. Western Australia
8. Northern Territory
NSW│ Q1: 3 – Q2: 9 (6) – Q3: 19 (10) – Q4: 25 (6)
VIC│ Q1: 8 – Q2: 16 (8) – Q3: 22 (8) – Q4: 29 (7)
NSW: 25/39 @ 64%
Prudence Ellis: 14/21 @ 67%
Kiera Austin: 11/18 @ 61%
VIC: 29/31 @ 94%
Jane Cook: 21/21 @ 100%
Kaila Mae Keepen: 8/10 @ 80%
NSW│ GS Prudence Ellis, GA Kiera Austin, WA Claire O’Brien, C Kristen Kessler, WD Amy Parmenter (c), GD Cassandra Radford, GK Lauren Moore
VIC│ GS Jane Cook, GA Kaila Mae Keepen, WA Tayla Honey, C Libby Birch (c), WD Casey Adamson, GD Sharni Lambden, GK Jacqueline Newton
NSW│ Q3 – GD Kirra Jones.