The Netball NSW Waratahs head into the final week of the 2014 Australian Netball League (ANL) in strong form, having comfortably defeated their younger compatriots the Netball NSW Blues by 33-goals, 69-36, to conclude Week Six action at the Anne Clark Centre on Wednesday night.
While the game signalled the completion of the NNSW Blues’ campaign, the NNSW Waratahs now head to Melbourne with real confidence ahead of their all-important double-header against the two in-form Victorian sides.
“I think the girls are really hungry; we have to win two of the last three games… to ensure a spot in the semis so we had plenty to play for tonight and as much as it is really hard [to play a fellow NSW team] we decided to just go for it,” said NNSW Waratahs Head Coach Anita Keelan.
View match highlights on NetballNSWTV below:
Keelan made three changes to the side that started against the Southern Force in Adelaide on Sunday; Brooke Miller WA, Jessica Calderara WD and Elly Willan GK all came into a side who were looking to continue the momentum gained from their impressive 18-goal victory.
While the personnel had changed, the intensity hadn’t, as the NNSW Waratahs showed their experience across all areas of the court to jump out to an 8-goal lead, 11-3.
A mid quarter time-out called by one of the night’s best, NNSW Blues’ WD Nikki Deegenaars, helped the developing NNSW Blues recompose and aided their strong finish; seeing them trail by just 8-goals, 17-9, at the first break.
Straight positional swaps inside both circles by NNSW Blues’ Head Coach Briony Akle paid immediate dividends, with the younger NNSW Blues reducing the deficient to 6-goals inside the opening minute of the second quarter.
However, the NNSW Waratahs made the NNSW Blues pay for their errors, and through patient play up and down the court, plus precision feeding into tall GS Kristina Brice, the NNSW Waratahs extended their lead to 11-goals with six minutes left on the clock.
As they have demonstrated in their most recent outings, the NNSW Blues aren’t a team to relent, and through some enthusiast defending from GK Toni Anderson, and inspired shooting by Holly Pearce, the youngsters kept the NNSW Waratahs lead in check at the main break, 31-20.
With a bench littered with talent, the NNSW Waratahs made a raft of changes at half-time, but it was a mainstay of the opening two terms, Kristina Brice, who starred in the goal circle, finishing the night with 56 goals at 91% accuracy. Towering above her younger opponents, the shooter gladly converted the many over the top feeds perfectly sent in by midcourters Kaitlyn Bryce and Brooke Miller; helping her team to a 38-22 advantage, five minutes into the term.
While down on the scoreboard, Deegenaars continued to star in the midcourt, taking two big intercepts in the third quarter which her teammates fed off. However, the NNSW Waratahs held their composure, forcing the NNSW Blues into errors and converting their possession with a flurry of late goals to lead, 48-31, at the final change.
With this game the NNSW Blues final outing of the 2014 ANL season, Akle made a number of changes for the fourth quarter to give her bench an opportunity to show what they have learnt during their campaign.
Unfortunately they weren’t able to match it with the skilled NNSW Waratahs, who finished with a 21-goals to five final quarter.
While the records will show the NNSW Blues finished the season with two wins and seven losses, there was plenty to like about the way in which they competed and how much they improved.
“We’ve had a wonderful season. It’s tough to take tonight, the scoreline, but leading into this match we’ve played some really good netball and challenged some really good teams. I’m proud we got everyone on tonight against the NNSW Waratahs and we wish them all the best for the Finals,” said Head Coach Briony Akle.
“I just loved seeing [the NNSW Blues] have each other’s back out there and put in place what we’ve been working on; it didn’t always work but I was happy that they had the confidence to go out there [and try it],” concluded Akle.
The NNSW Waratahs are back in action this weekend at the Waverley Netball Centre in Melbourne for their final two games of the 2014 ANL regular season. They will first meet defending ANL Premiers, the Victorian Fury, on Saturday night at 7pm before taking on the Victorian Flames at 12noon on Sunday 17 August.
Keep up to date with all the action on the road with Netball NSW’s social media channels; www.facebook.com/OfficialNetballNSW, Twitter and Instagram @netballnsw #ANL2014 #GoNSW
NNSW BLUES│ Q1: 9 – Q2: 20 (11) – Q3: 31 (11) – Q4: 36 (5)
NNSW WARATAHS│ Q1: 17 – Q2: 31 (14) – Q3: 48 (17) – Q4: 69 (21)
NNSW BLUES: 30/48 @ 63%
Holly Pearce: 18/26 @ 70%
Kiera Austin: 9/12 @ 75%
Georgia Marshall: 5/9 @ 56%
Claudia Russell: 2/4 @ 50%
Lauren Yager: 2/3 @ 67%
NNSW WARATAHS: 69/78 @ 88%
Kristina Brice: 56/62 @ 91%
Leah Shoard: 6/9 @ 67%
Amy Somerville: 7/7 @ 100%
NNSW BLUES │GS Holly Pearce, GA Kiera Austin, WA Claire O’Brien, C Sophie Halpin (c), WD Nikki Deegenaars, GD Toni Anderson, GK Lauren Moore
NNSW WARARAHS │GS Kristina Brice, GA Leah Shoard, WA Brooke Miller, C Emily Keenan (c), WD Jessica Calderara, GD Kristiana Manu’a, GK Elly Willan
NNSW BLUES│ Q2 – GS Kiera Austin, GA Holly Pearce, GD Lauren Moore, GK Toni Anderson; Q3 GK Billie Gurr, GD Toni Anderson, GS Georgia Marshall; Q4 GS Holly Pearce, GA Claudia Russell, C Donnay Van Taak, GD Billie Gurr, GK Lauren Moore; 4Q TO – GS Lauren Yagar
NNSW WARARAHS l Q3 – GA Amy Somerville, WA Kaitlyn Bryce, C Brooke Miller, WD Maddie Hay, GD Nicola Styles