The Netball NSW (NNSW) Waratahs have completed their opening round action for the 2016 Australian Netball League (ANL) in Brisbane without a loss after drawing with QLD Fusion, 51-51, at Ormiston College.
QLD led at every break, but the young NSW outfit continued to be a thorn in the host’s side to remain undefeated after a 22-goal victory in their opening match yesterday, Saturday 30 April.
Head Coach Briony Akle says the group is pleased to return home with a near-perfect record to begin their 2016 campaign, but had a lot to work on to prepare for Round 2 action next weekend at Netball Central.
“I’m really proud of the girls the way they were able to fight back today. It wasn’t a consistent performance, but the fact they never gave up I’m really pleased about,” Akle said.
“QLD are a tough opposition and they had some experienced heads out there today. Despite that we were able to build throughout the game, and the players who came off our bench moved into the game seamlessly, which is a credit to them.
“We’ve still got plenty to work on, but I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen in our opening weekend.”
Akle reserved special praise for young Australian 17/U defender Teigan O’Shannassy who made her ANL debut today, coming up against QLD Firebird Beryl Friday.
“I thought Teigan was sensational today. For someone so young, she looked right at home on court. She did a great job up against Beryl, who is a really athletic, mobile shooter. It’s great to see young NSW athletes taking their opportunities and making the most of it, which Teigan certainly did today,” Akle concluded.
It was a strong start from the hosts which who featured four QLD Firebirds in their starting line-up, flying out for the beginning of the match with three consecutive goals. But it didn’t take NSW long to find an answer, with their defensive end working hard to create the turnover.
NNSW Waratahs’ shooters didn’t disappoint, with 21/U Champions Kiera Austin and Georgia Marshall combining well. With midcourt pair Taylah Davies (C) and Claire O’Brien (WA) providing some quality feeds, NSW were able to hit the front for the first time after 10 minutes of play.
Through some beautiful passages of play NSW were able to get out to a three-goal lead, however QLD worked hard to put up four consecutive goals to take the lead at the first break.
After a hotly contested opening 15 minutes, the intensity remarkably lifted for the start of the second quarter. While NSW were able to even the scores almost immediately, it was QLD who enjoyed a rampaging start to again string together consecutive goals.
But again NSW worked hard to stay within the game, with young 17/U defender Teigan O’Shannassy doing well to try and quell the influence of Firebirds’ shooter Beryl Friday. But QLD’s strong defensive pressure was suffocating, resulting in crucial turnovers for NSW which impacted on the scoreboard.
The result saw Fusion outscore NNSW Waratahs 14 goals to 12 for the second quarter to extend their lead to three goals at half-time, 29-26.
Akle opted to make sweeping changes to her line-up for the start of the second half which looked to invigorate the NNSW Waratahs; Austin moved to GS, making room for Vanessa Mullampy at GA while Davies and Hay switched to WA and C, respectively, and Styles moved to WD to make way for Jessica Calderara at GD.
With new combinations saw NSW come flying out the blocks to get back within one goal after less than five minutes play. But again costly turnovers prevented NNSW Waratahs from finding their top gear, with QLD heaping the pressure across the court.
While the hosts looked in control, NSW continuing to throw everything into the contest and after a rocky start, the NNSW Waratahs settled to win the third quarter by one goal to head into the final 15 minutes chasing a two-goal deficit.
Buoyed by their best performing quarter, NSW came out with a point to prove for the start of the final quarter – the resulting efforts seeing the visitors take back the lead after less than three minutes played.
With a loud QLD bench barking instructions to their on-court teammates, tensions were high as NSW mounted their comeback. The resulting netball was high quality and high pace as both teams traded goals, searching for the win.
In the end nothing could separate the two sides with the match finishing a 51-51 draw, with both teams taking home one competition point.
NNSW Waratahs will play at home for the first time next weekend when we host the Canberra Darters for Round 2 ANL action at Netball Central. The sides will meet on the Show Court at 5pm AEST on Saturday 7 May, before returning again at 2:30pm on Sunday 8 May after the NSW Swifts v Central Pulse Round 6 ANZ Championship match at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.
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NSW│ Q1: 14 – Q2: 26 (12) – Q3: 38 (12) – Q4: 51 (13)
QLD│ Q1: 15 – Q2: 29 (14) – Q3: 40 (11) – Q4: 51 (11)
NSW: 51/61 @ 84%
G. Marshall: 10/14 @ 71%
K. Austin: 31/34 @ 91%
V. Mullampy: 7/13 @ 54%
QLD: 51/65 @ 78%
B. Friday: 30/38 @ 79%
C. Lemke: 21/27 @ 78%
NSW│ GS Georgia Marshall, GA Kiera Austin, WA Claire O’Brien, C Taylah Davies, WD Maddie Hay, GD Ashley Valeni, GK Teigan O’Shannassy
QLD│ GS Beryl Friday, GA Chelsea Lemke, WA Laura Scherian, C Mahalia Cassidy, WD Jacqui Russell, GD Rachel Forbes, GK Laura Clemesha
NSW│ Q2 Timeout – GD Kara Styles; Q3 – GS Austin, GA Vanessa Mullampy, WA Davies, C Hay, WD Styles, GD Jessica Calderara; Q4 – WD Calderara, GD Valeni.
QLD│ Q3 – GD Tara Hinchcliffe; Q4 – WA Cassidy, C Madeline McAuliffe, WD Forbes.