The NSW 21/U Team have suffered their first loss of the 2015 National Netball Championships with a heart-breaking one goal loss to Western Australia in Round 5 at the Caloundra Indoor Stadium.
Scores were locked in the final minute however NSW could do little but watch as WA players jumped with glee at the final whistle to celebrate their one goal advantage.
While disappointed to finish with the loss, Head Coach Megan Simpson couldn’t deny the unbelievable guts and determination of her NSW charges.
“WA were fantastic; you’ve really got to give them a lot of credit. They were very strong across the court and their shooting combination was quiet unstoppable. But our girls never gave up which is something they should be really proud of,” Simpson said.
“It’s important now we take a quick look at the [WA] video, address some things, and then move on because we’ve got a short turnaround before our next game [against South Australia], which is going to be just as hard, just as tough, and just as important as we look towards where we will finish – hopefully in that Top Four.”
NSW opened the scoring with Captain Kaitlyn Bryce honouring a beautiful drive from GA Georgia Marshall to find the post. The Sky Blues stormed out of the starting blocks, putting up five consecutive goals before WA found an answer. But their slow start would be short lived as WA quickly found form with their own run of goals.
With under three minutes until the first break WA tied the scoreboard, with some wayward passes letting NSW down and WA shooters – Sophie Garbin and Kaylia Stanton – making it count on the scoreboard.
NSW used the quarter break to regroup and soon had regained the lead, however it was short-lived. After a freakish deflection from NSW defender Billie Gurr entered the WA goal post, the Black and Gold’s hit the lead as the teams entered a game of trading goals.
A timeout late in the quarter saw Simpson make her first changes, bringing on Brooke Lawrence to C while moving Bryce to WA. With WA enjoying momentum they began pulling away from NSW, only to be denied by the half-time whistle, to take a four goal buffer into the big break.
The tight tussle continued into the second half with NSW pushing hard but WA not allowing them to get any closer than two goals. With WA’s attack on fire the Sky Blues worked hard together to limit any easy high balls into the post, whilst Bryce continued to lead the way in the midcourt by linking superbly with her shooters.
After a terrific individual performance from Vice Captain Maddie Hay, NSW finally broke the two-goal deadlock with three minutes to play which resulted in a WA timeout. Rather than disrupt NSW’s momentum, it spurred the Sky Blues on to take back the lead which they took into the final break.
The intensity lifted as the clock ticked over as it was NSW turn to hold out a rampaging WA. Back and forth the teams traded goals as the crowd’s voice rose with every play. WA conceded some costly penalties, however so too NSW and with five minutes to play WA evened the scoreboard.
The final two minutes were a nervous end to the match with scores locked at 56-all with the crowd and benches on their feet cheering the players on court. Despite holding possession in the final 30 seconds, a costly turnover saw NSW post their first loss of the tournament with a heartbreaking 1-goal defeat.
NSW will be back on court this afternoon to meet the defending Champions South Australia for Round 6 at 9pm AEDST.
Follow Netball NSW’s social media channels for live updates throughout the game – facebook.com/OfficialNetballNSW and @netballnsw on both Twitter and Instagram.
NSW│ Q1: 15 – Q2: 27 (12) – Q3: 44 (17) – Q4: 56 (12)
WA│ Q1: 16 – Q2: 31 (16) – Q3: 42 (11) – Q4: 57 (15)
NSW: 56/64 @ 88%
K. Brice: 44/48 @ 92%
G. Marshall: 12/16 @ 75%
WA: 57/71 @ 80%
S. Garbin: 34/41 @ 83%
K. Stanton: 23/30 @ 74%
NSW│ GS Kristina Brice, GA Georgia Marshall, WA Georgia M. Marshall, C Kaitlyn Bryce (c), WD Maddie Hay (vc), GD Billie Gurr, GK Kara Styles
WA│ GS Sophie Garbin, GA Kaylia Stanton, WA Numi Tupaea (c), C Jessica Anstiss, WD Phoebe Wilcox, GD Jessica Penny, GK Annika Lee-Jones
NSW│ Q2 Timeout – WA Bryce, C Brooke Lawrence.