South Australia will contest tomorrow’s Grand Final after defeating NSW 19/U Team, 32-20, in their Semi Final at the National Netball Championships in Darwin.
SA got straight to business, benefitting from nervous NSW errors to open up a 8-1 lead early in the first quarter. NSW composed and began settling into the game, stringing consecutive goals together to close the goal deficit.
NSW defender Billie Gurr had a stand-out first half, limiting 187cm GS Georgie Virgo to just seven goals. However, NSW could rarely benefit from the extra possession as the SA defensive pressure in the midcourt slowed their movement to the attacking third. Once the ball was in NSW end, the midcourters found it difficult to find a gap in SA defenders’ armour as GD Maddy Turner and GK Sarah Klau limited the movement of NSW shooters. SA was able to maintain their five goal lead at half-time, leading NSW 14-9.
SA came out firing for the second half, scoring the first three before a brilliant swing play from WA Tanisha Stanton saw vice-captain Claudia Russell find the post. NSW captain Brooke Lawrence caught a nasty finger in the eye, and the injury timeout disrupted their momentum with SA putting on six goals to one.
Lawrence led a NSW resurgence in the final quarter, but SA were too slick to catch, running away to a 12 goal victory to book a spot in tomorrow’s Grand Final.
Disappointed with a loss, Head Coach Jo Macdermid says she can’t question her players’ commitment.
“NSW fought really hard today; our preparation was excellent and gave ourselves the best opportunity heading into the Semi Final,” Macdermind said.
“SA played some fantastic netball … we had a few crucial misses – a missed shot here, a turnover there – which had they not happened the score mightn’t be different. But I can’t question the players’ commitment; they pushed to the very end.”
Captain Brooke Lawrence echoed her coach’s praise of the team’s tenacity.
“I’m so proud of the girls’ efforts, not just today, but the whole week. We have had some shocking injuries, and everyone has just banded together to overcome those adversities as a unit. Today is disappointing but SA were the better team, and we tried our best which is all I can ask of the players.”
NSW will now meet Victoria in the Preliminary Final tomorrow, to decide who finished in third place. Macdermid says she is excited to take on the “old foes” once again.
“The NSW v VIC netball rivavlry is as tough as the NRL’s State of Origin series. I’m extremely excited to be playing VIC tomorrow and getting the bronze.”
NSW 19/U is back tomorrow, Saturday 13 April, when they take on Victoria to play-off for third in the Preliminary Final at 11.30am (local time), while SA meet Queensland in the Grand Final at 2.15pm. Stay tuned to facebook.com/OfficialNetballNSW for quarter score updates and photos.
NSW Q1: 3 – Q2: 9 (6) – Q3: 15 (6) – Q4: 20 (5)
VIC Q1: 8 – Q2: 14 (6) – Q3: 24 (10) – Q4: 32 (8)
NSW: 20/33 @ 67%
Claudia Russell: 13/21 @ 62%
Lauren Cantwell: 7/12 @ 58%
SA: 32/44 @ 73%
Georgie Virgo: 21/27 @ 79%
Molly Affolter: 11/17 @ 65%
Teams Starting Positions
NSW: GS Claudia Russell (vc), GA Lauren Cantwell, WA Tanisha Stanton, C Zoe Gilbert, WD Madeline Hay, GD Brooke Lawrence (c), GK Billie Gurr
VIC: GS Georgie Virgo, GA Molly Affolter, WA Jordie Harrison, C Gia Abernethy (c), WD Esther Young, GD Maddy Turner, GK Sarah Klau
NSW Position Changes
Q4: Gilbert WA, Stanton C