The Netball NSW Waratahs (NNSW) has taken the honours over the Queensland Fusion, defeating their northern rivals 46-39 in their final Week 6 match of the 2013 Australian Netball League (ANL) in Tasmania.
It was a must-win game for the NNSW Waratahs to remain in touch with the QLD Fusion, who sit above the NSW side on percentage. With QLD finished their regular round matches, the NNSW Waratahs have one game in hand next weekend to be able to jump Fusion into third place ahead of the Finals Series.
Head Coach Sue Hawkins said despite the significance of today’s victory, it was the efforts across the court that delivered the win.
“It was a really important win for us today. Before the game the girls were focussed on some of the things they didn’t do well last night against the Australian Institute of Sport and they knew the critical turning point for the Finals was today,” Hawkins said.
“We were able to maintain our momentum and from Keeper to Shooter, every player stood up to the challenge and didn’t falter under the pressure of the occasion. Individually, today was certainly Sam May’s best game. She has felt the pressure of late but really led from the front today, along with Ash Weir … between them they created some vital turnovers for us.”
“ I was disappointed on the final minutes where we let them back in, but all in all we are really happy to get the win and look forward to returning home to take on Territory Storm next week,” Hawkins concluded.
The NNSW Waratahs were first to hit the scoreboard through GA Leah Shoard after a clever feed from WA Taylah Davies. However the Fusion was able to turn over the ball to pull out to an early four goal lead.
NSW responded quickly with WD Ashlee Weir creating two vital turnovers to see the NNSW Waratahs hit the front with four minutes left to play. The QLD defence worked the Waratahs attacking circle in unison, shutting down all free movement to make it difficult for the feeders to find their shooters.
However the NSW side held out and, despite a goal to QLD GS Ameliaranne Wells on the buzzer, took a two goal lead into the first break, 13-11.
The Fusion took their fast-finishing first quarter momentum into the second to even the scoreboard after four minutes of play. Both sides continued to trade goals as players threw themselves into the contest to give their team the advantage.
Both the QLD and NSW benches were in full voice barking instructions and encouragement to their teammates. The NNSW Waratahs midcourt worked overtime in both defence and attack, with WD Weir and C Keenan shutting down the influence of the QLD feeders on their circle, while Keenan and WA Davies moved the ball quickly for their shooters to capitalise on the scoreboard.
A fast finishing quarter the NNSW Waratahs were able to extend their lead to four goals at half-time, leading the Fusion, 26-21.
The NNSW Waratahs and QLD Fusion continued their see-saw battle into the second half as the ball bounced from each end. NNSW Waratahs Captain Samantha May led from the front, working to shut down the QLD attack while backing up down the court to help bring the ball down to her attacking teammates.
Slowly but surely the NNSW Waratahs began pulling away on the scoreboard and, halfway through the third quarter, had pulled to a 10 goal advantage over their opponents. A late timeout called in the quarter saw both teams change their shooting lineups with QLD bringing on 19 year old Beryl Friday to shooter while NSW brought on Alix McDermott to GA.
It was the latter who had the most impact early with McDermott putting on four goals in two minutes to help the NNSW Waratahs further extend their lead over QLD into the final break, 40-28.
It was QLD who settled first for the beginning of the fourth quarter, scoring three unanswered goals to pull back the deficit. As the ball moved from end to end and the intensity of the match began to fatigue the players, the defenders picked up the loose ball for their sides.
Despite QLD winning the final quarter 11 goals to six, the NNSW Waratahs held on to win the match by seven goals.
The NNSW Waratahs will return home to Sydney to prepare for the final regular round of the 2013 ANL to be contested at the Anne Clark Centre. Tickets are available for NSW netball fans to watch the best talent from around the country – head to www.netballnsw.comfor more information.
NNSW WARATAHS Q1: 13 – Q2: 26 (13) – Q3: 40 (14) – Q4: 46 (6)
QLD FUSION Q1: 11 – Q2: 21 (10) – Q3: 28 (7) – Q4: 39 (11)
NNSW WARATAHS: 46/58 @ 79%
Mel Tallent: 22/29 @ 76%
Leah Shoard: 17/21 @ 81%
Alix McDermott: 7/8 @ 88%
QLD FUSION: 39/53 @ 74%
Ameliaranne Wells: 20/24 @ 83%
Stephanie Wood: 12/19 @ 63%
Beryl Friday: 7/10 @ 70%
Teams Starting Positions
NNSW WARATAHS: GS Mel Tallent, GA Leah Shoard, WA Taylah Davies, C Emily Keenan, WD Ashlee Weir, GD Samantha May (c), GK Elly Willan
QLD FUSION: GS Ameliaranne Wells, GA Stephanie Wood, WA Laura Scherian, C Sally Butters, WD Jacqui Russell, GD Kerri Gordon, GK Laura Clemesha
Q2 Timeout – C Kristy Guthrie; Q3 Timeout – GA Alix McDermott; Q4 Timeout – WA Guthrie, C Davies.
Q3 – WA Butters, C Russell, WD Madeline McAuliffe, GD Meegan Bruggemann (c); Q3 Timeout – GS Beryl Friday, GK Emma Tickner; Q4 – Claire Haigh, GD Kerri Gordon.