Western Sting have defied the odds, defeating reigning champions Victorian Fury 63-47 in the Australian Netball League’s grand final today at Perth’s State Netball Centre.
Canberra GIANTS have also taken out a win today in the preliminary final, defeating Queensland Fusion 64-71 in extra time to finish in third position.
Two weeks ago, Sting sat in fifth position on the ANL ladder and fought their way into the top four at season’s end. After defeating the GIANTS in yesterday’s semi-final, they came up against minor premiers, Victorian Fury who were on the hunt for their fifth consecutive championship.
In her last game as coach, Western Sting’s Michelle Wilkins was proud of her side.
“The way that they played out the four quarters, I don’t think there was anything that was going to stop them today,”
“They were very focussed on what they wanted to do and how to go about it. I don’t think I’ve seen a team work for each other as hard and as openly as this group has,” Wilkins said.
Defenders Jess Penny and Liv Lewis were crucial in the Sting’s win, and Wilkins praised the entire defensive line.
“I thought we really did deny them circle edge space so they couldn’t feed the ball in as easily. I thought that was one of the best games I’ve seen Nat Bright produce and Lindal Rohde continued on with the form she’s had cross the whole season.”
In her first season as Victorian Fury coach, Leesa Gallard was disappointed with the loss but congratulated the home side on their victory.
“All credit to Western Sting, they brought their game today and played it really strongly, especially across the second and third quarter and brought it home in the last quarter.”
“I’m really proud with what our girls were able to do across the whole season but today, we were outplayed by a better team on the day.”
A few changes were made to the Fury side throughout the game, as Gallard sought to open up flow which was shut down by an impressive Sting side.
“We started to get a bit stilted across the transverse line and into the goal circle, so we were just trying to find a bit more flow, but to Western Sting’s credit, they kept their work rate really high.”
In the battle for bronze, Canberra GIANTS claimed the victory over Queensland Fusion in over time, the third game to do so this weekend.
GIANTS were dominant throughout the first half until halfway through the third quarter, when Fusion levelled the score.
With less than ten seconds to go, GIANTS scored and led by one. With a Fusion centre pass, they were able to respond, levelling the scores right on the siren, taking the game in to extra time.
With a three-goal lead after the first half of time on, the GIANTS then ran away with the game, defeating Fusion 71-64.
Canberra GIANTS 71 def Queensland Fusion 64
Victorian Fury 47 def by Western Sting 63
Samsung Australian Netball League grand final MVP: Sophie Garbin (Western Sting)