The Netball NSW (NNSW) Waratahs have endured a tough day at the office, falling to the Western Sting, 50-60, in their opening match of 2015 Australian Netball League (ANL) Week 3 action at Perth’s State Netball Centre.
NSW were on the back foot for the majority of the match, with the hosts forcing them into chase mode early on. However the NNSW Waratahs were able to finish the match strongly, pulling back from 19 goals down late in the match to post a 10-goal loss.
Despite the positive end, the match was a do-or-die contest for the NNSW Waratahs with a win keeping their Finals hopes alive. Having lost the match-up, NSW will now rely on other sides’ misfortunes to have the chance of contesting this year’s Finals Series or else miss them for the first time since 2009.
Head Coach Anita Keelan was naturally disappointed their Finals chances are now out of their hands, but could draw positives from aspects of the contest.
“It was a disappointing first half from us – we had far too much possession loss and you can’t afford to give away possession at this level. But it was good to give some of our young players an opportunity and expose them to this level of competition,” Keelan stated.
“The girls on court for that last quarter worked hard to get back in touch, which is really pleasing to see they didn’t give up the fight. But our first half was just not good enough – you can tell we haven’t been playing together that long with our ball placement and lack of speed change.
“I thought Borg [Kimberly Borger] had a really good game – she copped a lot of body but held it together and put up a lot of goals for us, and Lauren Moore was really good for us at both GD and GK. She’s in 17/U [age group] and still a baby, but she really showed a lot of talent tonight which is a positive for our future.
“We’re now in a position that we will have to wait and see whether we can make Finals, which isn’t a great position to be in to be honest. But we won’t sit back and relax – we will continue to work hard and look to win the rest of our games so if there is a slight chance we’re in Finals, we’re ready,” Keelan concluded.
The match began on fairly even footing, however WA jumped on a crucial turnover to get on the front foot after five minutes of play. Their shooter, West Coast Fever’s Kaylia Stanton, was damaging going to the post as she made the most of WA’s possession gains.
But her counterpart, NSW’s Kimberly Borger, was equally up to the challenge as she kept the NNSW Waratahs in touch. The former NSW Swift combined well with her feeders to find space in a tightly-defended circle.
However WA were able to make the most of their possession gains by making it count on the scoreboard, with Stanton helping them to a handy three-goal lead at the first break.
The Sting came out with intent for the second quarter, turning over NSW’s first centre pass to quickly extend their lead. This was in part to a strong defensive zone Sting’s midcourt employed which stifled NSW’s speedy midcourt and quick ball play.
However the NNSW Waratahs refused to go away, working patiently to transition the ball safely for their shooters to try and claw back the deficit. NSW were able to cut down Sting’s lead from five goals back to two; but it would short lived.
Once again WA finished the quarter strongly to outscore their opponents 18 goals to 12 to further extend their lead at the big break; with their Finals chances on the line, a huge effort was required from the visitors for the second half.
Keelan made her first changes for the match, bringing on newly-named Australian 21/U representative Kaitlyn Bryce to C, Australian 19/U shooter Kiera Austin to GA and replacement player Ashley Valeni to GK, while Wood moved out to WA to make room for Austin.
The changes did little to prevent the Sting’s rampaging start who put up three unanswered goals before NSW could find the post. WA’s GK Courtney Bruce was in everything, coming up with plenty of possession Sting’s shooters to capitalise.
The Sting were slick with the ball movement and near-impenetrable with their defence, which the NNSW Waratahs struggled to find a weakness. While there were moments of great patches of play from the visitors, NSW were always on the back foot.
In the end the hosts dominated third quarter proceedings, forcing the NNSW Waratahs into a precarious position of facing a 15-goal deficit heading into the final 15 minutes of play.
Both coaches made changes to their side for the final quarter; NSW brought on Nicole Styles to GD, moving young Moore back to GK while stand-in Captain Nikki Deegenaars came back onto the court in the WD bib.
While they were looking at a substantial goal deficit, no one could fault NSW’s determination to gain some momentum. Players threw themselves into every contest to try and claw back the deficit, but WA continued to mount the pressure.
The Sting made a number of personnel changes in the final quarter, bringing on some of their junior players for court time with the new combinations taking time to gel; NSW jumped on their chance, quickly going on a purple patch of six goals to one to finally find some momentum.
In what was a great fightback from the NNSW Waratahs to come from 19 goals down during the final quarter, Sting’s lead was too great to catch with WA posting a ten-goal victory putting NSW’s Finals chances in question.
NNSW Waratahs will be back on the court tomorrow morning, Sunday 5 July, to take on Territory Storm at 12pm AEST. Stay tuned to Netball NSW social media channels for score updates throughout the match.
Catch the NNSW Waratahs LIVE in action!
The Netball NSW Waratahs host their one-and-only match at home for the 2015 Australian Netball League season on Saturday 11 July, when they take on the Canberra Darters at Netball NSW’s brand new $35 million centre of excellence, Netball Central.
The match starts at 3:00pm, with doors open from 2:00pm, so come along and catch all the action from some of the best and brightest upcoming NSW netball talent on show!
Tickets can be purchased over the phone. Contact Netball NSW Membership and Ticketing Coordinator Rebecca Donaldson on (02) 9951 5000 during business hours.
NSW│ Q1: 13 – Q2: 25 (12) – Q3: 36 (11) – Q4: 50 (14)
WA│ Q1: 16 – Q2: 34 (18) – Q3: 51 (17) – Q4: 60 (9)
NSW: 50/57 @ 88%
K. Borger: 33/36 @ 92%
S. Wood: 7/8 @ 88%
K. Austin: 10/13 @ 77%
WA: 60/76 @ 79%
K. Stanton: 43/51 @ 84%
L. Millman: 12/14 @ 86%
E. Cosh: 3/5 @ 60%
L. Harrison: 2/6 @ 33%
NSW│ GS Kimberly Borger, GA Stephanie Wood, WA Taylah Davies, C Nikki Deegenaars (C), WD Jacqueline Rikard-Bell, GD Lauren Moore, GK Kara Styles
WA│ GS Kaylia Stanton, GA Lisa Millman, WA Ingrid Colyer, C Lindal Rhode, WD Jessica Eales, GD Andrea Gilmore (C), GK Courtney Bruce
NSW│ Q3 – GA Kiera Austin, WA Wood, C Kaitlyn Bryce, GK Ashley Valeni; Q4 – WD Deegenaars, GD Nicole Styles, GK Moore.
WA│ Q4 – GA Emma Cosh, C Jessica Anstiss; Q4 Timeout – GS Larissa Harrison, C Jessica Penny.