NSW open campaign with tough win

The NSW 21/U Team has opened their 2014 National Netball Championships campaign with a tough two goal win against Australian Capital Territory, withstanding a resurgent opposition to win 45-43.

NSW Head Coach Megan Simpson was happy with the end result, kick-starting the week-long tournament on a positive note for the team.

“It’s certainly a relief to get a win under the belt. It’s always a difficult task first game up, especially against ACT who are always really competitive and very physical.  They played really well and I’m just pleased we were able to get people on the court, get the cobwebs out and walk away with a narrow win,” Simpson said.

It was a tight tussle in the opening quarter with NSW flying out of the blocks, putting up three consecutive goals to take an early lead.  ACT weren’t to be disheartened though with their experienced defensive pairing of Lara Bowyer and Captain Kelley Rodrigo turning over ball for their shooters to capitalise.

NSW looked nervous under the post under the defensive pressure, however Captain Amy Sommerville steadied the ship.  With two quick goals in the final 30 seconds, NSW took a slim one-goal lead into the first break, 12-11.

Mistakes began to creep into both teams’ game but did little to change NSW’s lead on the scoreboard.  It took until halfway through the second quarter for Manly-Warringah GS Georgia Marshall to hit the front for ACT, switching momentum to the Territory side.

With NSW turning over the ball too regularly, ACT made their opponents pay on the scoreboard and soon had a four goal lead.  A late timeout called by NSW saw Australian 21U World Youth Cup GS Kristina Brice come onto the court for NSW to replace Russell.  The change did little to stem ACT’s momentum, who had a 7 goal lead at half-time (26-19) but set up for an exciting second half for NSW.

NSW Head Coach Megan Simpson made a raft of changes to her side for the second half, bringing on speedy GA Lauren Cantwell to partner tall target Brice in the circle, while NSW Swifts midcourt pairing Maddie Hay and Taylah Davies (replacement player) brought fresh legs to the midcourt.

The changes did well to lift NSW’s intensity with the side working hard to claw back the scoreboard deficit.  The experience of Hay and Davies, combined with the almost telepathic understanding of defensive pairing Manu’a and Ireland, saw NSW apply pressure to ACT attacking third to turn over the ball.

NSW’s attacking end didn’t disappoint with shooters Brice and Cantwell combining well to find the post.   With just under three minutes left in the third quarter, NSW levelled the scoreboard and with momentum on their side went into the break with a three goal lead, 35-32.

Much like the previous three quarters little could separate NSW and ACT, with both sides throwing everything at the contest to try and gain ascendency.  As much as NSW pushed ACT would not be deterred, and with four minutes left on the clock levelled the score to 40-40.

Using all their experience, NSW worked the ball patiently to their shooting circle where experienced GS Brice didn’t disappoint by slotting six from as many attempts to see her side defeat ACT in their opening match of the tournament.

Watch the full NetballNSWTV interview with Megan Simpson plus game highlights below:

NSW are back on court tomorrow, Wednesday 12 March, at 12:30pm AEDST to meet southern border rivals Victoria in Round 2.  Stay up-to-date with NSW’s progress at the 2014 21/U National Netball Championships by following us on Social Media:
Instagram @netballnsw – use the hashtags #GoNSW #21Nationals

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NSW│ Q1: 12 – Q2: 19 (7) – Q3: 35 (16) – Q4: 45 (10)
ACT│ Q1: 11 – Q2: 26 (15) – Q3: 32 (6) – Q4: 43 (11)

Shooting Statistics
NSW: 45/75 @ 60%
Amy Sommerville: 11/19 @ 58%
Claudia Russell: 7/18 @ 39%
Kristina Brice: 23/31 @ 74%
Lauren Cantwell: 4/7 @ 57%

ACT: 43/58 @ 74%
Georgia Marshall: 33/40 @ 83%
Dannielle Pickett: 8/13 @ 61%
Emma Walmsley-Stonehouse: 2/5 @ 40%

Teams Starting Line-Up
NSW│ GS Amy Sommerville (c), GA Claudia Russell, WA Tiesha Ojeda, C Donnay Van Taak, WD Sophie Halpin, GD Kristiana Manu’a, GK Karli Ireland

ACT│ GS Georgia Marshall, GA Dannielle Pickett, WA Georgia Clayden, C Bec Collis, WD Sarah Cooper, GD Keeley Rodrigo (c), GK Lara Bowyer

Positional Changes
NSW│Q2 Timeout – GS Kristina Brice; Q3 – GA Lauren Cantwell, C Taylah Davies, WD Maddie Hay; Q3 Timeout – GD Ireland, GK Manu’a; Q4 Timeout – GA Sommerville, WA Cantwell.

ACT│Q3 Timeout – GA Emma Walmsley-Stonehouse, WA Leigh Kalsbeek, C Bec Collis.