By MALLORY PETERSEN
South Australian coach Megan Carter declared her team’s hunger for success was the catalyst behind it defending its 21/U National Netball title.
South Australia claimed back-to-back titles after defeating Victoria by 16 goals in the Grand Final in front of a healthy crowd at Adelaide’s Netball SA Stadium.
Carter said she was confident her team could defend the title.
“I told them before they went out there that it’s not about knowing we could win, it’s about wanting to win,” Carter said.
SA finished the championship as the only undefeated team and had eight players chosen in the 2014 21/U national squad.
“I actually started to get a little bit nervous about not having a loss going into finals,” Carter admitted.
“It’s quite different going into finals as an underdog then it is as the undefeated team.
“I was hoping to win all of the games, most definitely, we put ourselves in a good position.”
Carter said the Grand Final triumph was a great finish to what had been a brilliant campaign by the players involved.
“What’s important for these girls is that some of them have been together for five or six years so I just wanted for this to be a nice way to end their state careers,” Carter said.
“Some of them are 21 (years old) this year and they won’t play in the same team again.“
Carter said she had noticed the improvement in her team since the start of the tournament.
“I think the growing confidence of Georgie Virgo was outstanding and the way Maddy Turner took opportunity in the last three games was a credit to her.
“I also wanted to work on partnerships and we really did that well.”
South Australian co-captain Madeleine Proud was awarded the tournament’s San Remo Most Valuable Player award and was one of the state’s representatives chosen in the 21/U national squad.
Proud, 20, said the Grand Final win was ultimately sweeter.
“I loved the fact that we won as a team and so I think that’s the biggest thing for me,” Proud said.
“It’s just a bit extra special getting the San Remo MVP as well, but the real thing for me is winning that gold medal for the team.
“I’m very happy with that.”
Both coach and captain complimented the home crowd which helped the team along to their win.
“Our crowd was amazing,” Proud said.
“We had the cheer squad up there as well as the band so it definitely made the game that bit more special coming into a home crowd on your home court that you know so well.”
Carter said: “It’s always lovely to play in front of your home crowd.”