New South Wales put in an amazing performance to retain their Marie Little OAM Shield title at Netball Central on Sunday, 21 August.
NSW went through the 2015 tournament undefeated to bring the title home from Adelaide, and they did the same in 2016 to keep the title in the State, with their home fans roaring them to victory on Saturday and Sunday.
This year saw the competition grow with Netball WA and Netball QLD submitting teams for the first time alongside inaugural participants Netball Victoria, Netball SA and Netball NSW.
After winning all eight of their regular round games against Western Australia, Queensland,Victoria and South Australia, the NSW team put in a fine performance to beat the Queenslanders 24-0 in their Semi Final and setup a Grand Final date with South Australia.
Their Final opponents, meanwhile, booked their place in the competition showpiece after a thrilling 15-14 win over Victoria in the other Semi.
NSW showed their class again in the Grand Final, playing sharp, free-flowing netball to take a 7-2 lead to the halftime break.
And they were on target in the second half, despite strong resilience by a committed SA team, to run out 16-6 winners.
Victoria won the playoff for third position with a 20-5 win over Queensland while Western Australia finished in fifth with all teams producing some fine play over the course of the weekend.
Nikki Horton, General Manager of Sport Development at Netball NSW, said it was great to see the home team take out the title on their own patch, but also to see athletes from all over Australia competing.
“It is just wonderful to see NSW take out the title here and our congratulations go to all the team and their coach Jenny O’Keffe,” Horton said.
“Defending the title is an amazing achievement and they have done themselves and their State proud.
“However this weekend is not just a victory for NSW, but for all of the teams, players and officials who have been out on court representing their States.
“The Marie Little OAM Shield is a very important event on our calendar and to have seen it grown this year to welcome Western Australia and Queensland is a brilliant and shows exactly why netball is everyone’s sport.”
Netball NSW would like to thank the umpires, bench officials and Netball Australia’s National Inclusion and Diversity Partner, Australia Post, who played a wonderful role in making the weekend a huge success.
Watch highlights from the 2016 tournament below: