The Netball NSW Waratahs have secured a 66-54 win over the Southern Force to level their Australian Netball League Round 8 double header at Priceline Stadium in Adelaide on Sunday 19 June.
It was an excellent performance from the NSW side after the South Australians claimed a 50-48 win over the Waratahs at Titanium Security Arena on Saturday and sets up a mouth-watering clash at Netball Central next week when the sides will meet again in the ANL Semi Finals.
The Waratahs started the game with wonderful attacking intent, matched by good marking in the midcourt which forced their opponents to turn the ball over. Maddie Hay, Sophie Halpin and Jessica Calderara were winning possession in the centre and supplying good feeds to their shooters as NSW took a 4-8 lead after five minutes of play.
The Force were staying in touch, however, with goal attack Laura Packard doing well in the shooting circle and making life difficult for the NSW defence. Everything Alison Miller and Vanessa Mullampy could do at one end, Packard and Charlee Hodges could do just as well at the other, and with two minutes to the first break the sides were locked up at 15-15.
However, some good long range passing into Miller from Hay and Claire O’Brien gave the visitors a three-goal advantage at the break.
Force centre Gia Abernethey and wing attack Kelly Altmann were getting good ball to their shooters at the start of the second period but the NSW defensive pairing of Ashley Valeni and Calderara weren’t allowing them any easy scores, and despite less opportunities the visitors still had a three-goal lead five minutes into the period.
There was then some loose passing from both sides as they tried to make passes that weren’t really on but that also had a lot to do with the big levels of commitment the teams were displaying. Midway through the quarter Packard had the home side back within one and with five to go the sides were level. For the next few minutes the teams traded goals before Vanessa Mullampy and Miller opened up a three-goal buffer again which was reduced to two by the big break.
NSW came out the more clinical of the teams at the start of the third quarter, taking their chances to secure a six-goal lead after the opening exchanges. Sasha Glasgow came on at goal shooter for the Force but both she and Packard were coming under immense pressure from goal defence replacement Kara Styles and Valeni in the shooting circle.
The teams were again trading goals but the Waratahs did enough to maintain their lead whenever their opponents looked like hauling them in and the advantage was out to seven at the final break.
The home side needed a strong start to the last quarter but the Waratahs were holding firm and with 10 minutes to go they had extended their lead to eight. Miller, Mullampy and O’Brien were combining well at the attacking end for NSW and nothing was coming easy for the Force on the offensive. With five minutes left the visitors’ lead was out to 12 and they controlled the pace of the game and kept things calm to round out a good win.
Waratahs head coach Briony Akle was delighted with how her team bounced back after their narrow defeat on Saturday.
“I’m really pleased with our team’s efforts this weekend, especially today to bounce back with a good win under our belts heading into Finals,” Akle said.
“I think we showed good resolve against Force and the players who took the court did a great job. It shows that no matter who we put on the court, they’ll stand up and do their job, and it’s that kind of adaptability that we will need come Finals.”
NSW will have home advantage for the Finals series at Netball Central next week and Akle said she hoped that could prove to be a big advantage for her side.
“We are really, really excited to be heading back and being able to play in front of our home crowd.
“We hope the great netball fans in NSW come out in force to support us and hopefully we can deliver a win for them,” Akle concluded.
Tickets are now available for netball fans who would like to attend the 2016 ANL Finals Series at Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park. Prices are $11.50 for Adults, $6.50 for Children/Concessions – including booking fee (note: some credit card transactions may apply).
ANL Semi Finals
VIC Fury v Western Sting (1v4), NNSW Waratahs v Southern Force (2v3)
WARATAHS| Q1: 19 – Q2: 32 (13) – Q3: 49 (17) – Q4: ()
FORCE| Q1: 16 – Q2: 30 (14) – Q3: 42 (12) – Q4: ()
WARATAHS: 66/73 @ 90%
A Miller: 40/43 @ 93%
V Mullampy: 26/30 87@ %
FORCE: 54/65 @ 83%
C Hodges: 16/19 84@ %
L Packard: 19/23 @ 83%
S Glasgow: 19/23 @ 83%
WARATAHS | GS Alison Miller, GA Vanessa Mullampy, WA Claire O’Brien, C Maddy Hay, WD Sophie Halpin, GD Jessica Calderara, GK Ashley Valeni
FORCE | GS Charlee Hodges, GA Laura Packard, WA Kelly Altmann, C Gia Abernethey, WD Emily Burgess, GD Luka Thompson, GK Lucy Armfield
WARATAHS | Q3 – GD Kala Styles
FORCE | Q3 – GS Sasha Glasgow, WA Nicola Sulley-Beales, GD Toni Anderson Q4 – GA Hodges, C Altmann, WD Kate Easther, GK Amelia Schmidt