Waratahs head into Finals with win

The Netball NSW Waratahs have won their final regular season match, defeating the Territory Storm 58-40 to open Week 7 of the 2013 Australian Netball League.

Playing in front of home fans at the Anne Clark Centre, Captain Samantha May said tonight’s match was perfect preparation for the NNSW Waratahs as they look to the contest the Finals Series next weekend in Adelaide.

“We knew that we would not be in the finals until we won this game so we made sure that we concentrated and won today,” May said.

“It was very tight, Storm did a good job, they really applied it to us and I’m glad that we stepped it up in the second half.”

“It’s great to see the versatility that we have got in the team. I’m very happy with our result tonight.”

Both teams came out firing for the start of the match to set the tone early, with speed and high intensity from both the hosts and visitors.

Led by young GS Claudia Russell who shot nine goals from as many attempts, the NNSW Waratahs won the opening quarter to take an early lead.  Russell was equally supported by experienced GA Leah Shoard, who used her speed and long-range accuracy to tally seven goals to her name.

Despite the Storm shooting a 100 per cent quarter, the NNSW Waratahs took a four goal lead into the first break, 16-12.

It was the hosts who took control putting on five unanswered goals to extend their lead within the opening minutes of the second quarter.  A timeout called from Storm Captain Sue Nalder disrupted NSW’s flow, with the Territorians finding their rhythm upon returning to the court.

Soon the visitors were within four however the hosts weren’t to be outdone.  With the defensive pairing of GK Elly Willan and Captain Samantha May at GD working overtime to deliver possession back to the NNSW Waratahs, the home side were able to take a seven goal lead at the big break, 30-23.

It was a physical encounter in the third quarter with both the NNSW Waratahs and Storm players throwing themselves at the contest to gain possession for their side.  The ball bounced from end to end as neither side could break the seven goal gap on the scoreboard.

After coming on for the second half 2012 ANL Player of the Year Kristy Guthrie provided fresh legs for the NNSW Waratahs, with her speed cutting down the Storm’s free space whilst working hard with WA Taylah Davies to feed into their shooters.

With a vocal home crowd behind them the NNSW Waratahs finished the third quarter strongly to further extend their advantage over the Storm, leading 43-33.

Again the two sides couldn’t break the pattern, with the ball moving end to end with no sight of fatigue from the players despite the high intensity of the match. The NNSW Waratah midcourters used their patience, swinging the ball around the circle before finding the perfect pass into their shooters, while the Storm tried to use their height to go over the top of their defenders.

The home side stepped up a gear halfway through the final quarter, knowing a win would cement them in third place for the Finals Series.  The home side were able to run away to post an 18 goal victory over the Storm, 58-40.


Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NNSW WARATAHS Q1: 16 – Q2: 30 (14) – Q3: 43 (13) – Q4: 58 (15)
NT STORM Q1: 12 – Q2: 23 (11) – Q3: 33 (10) – Q4: 40 (7)

Shooting Statistics
NNSW WARATAHS: 58/75 @ 77%
Claudia Russell: 14/19 @ 74%
Leah Shoard: 27/37 @ 73%
Mel Tallent: 14/16 @ 87%
Alix McDermott: 3/3 @ 100%

NT STORM: 40/49 @ 82%
Jessica Johannsen: 12/12 @ 100%
Sue Nalder: 14/17 @ 82%
Maddie Morrison: 11/16 @ 69%
Rebecca Winch: 3/4 @ 75%

Teams Starting Positions
NNSW WARATAHS: GS Claudia Russell, GA Leah Shoard, WA Taylah Davies, C Emily Keenan, WD Nadka Kundrus-Little, GD Samantha May (c), GK Elly Willan

NT STORM: GS Jessica Johannsen, GA Sue Nalder (c), WA Abbey Holmes, C Siobhan Sefton, WD Jamie Collins, GD Shannon Millar, GK Amy Wirth

Positional Changes
Q2 Timeout – WD Kristiana Manu’a; Q3 – C Kristy Guthrie (vc), WD Kundrus-Little, GK Manu’a; Q3 Timeout – GS Mel Tallent; Q4 Timeout – WA Guthrie, C Keenan; Q4 Timeout (2) – GA Alix McDermott.

Q3 – GS Maddie Morrison, WD Tina Way, GD Wirth, GK Millar; Q4 – GA Rebecca Winch.