New South Wales reclaim 21/U national crown

New South Wales has reclaimed the title as 21/U national champions after toppling Victoria 49-46 in the Grand Final at The Silverdome in Launceston.

In a pulsating clash between the two arch rivals, New South Wales edged clear of Victoria in the final minutes to claim a three-goal victory and win its first 21/U national title since 2012.

Victoria led by two goals at quarter-time but the Waratahs took the lead early in the second term and held that for the remainder of the match.

Victoria threatened many times to draw level but NSW stood firm to reverse the result between the two states during the week. The result means that Victoria has finished runners up in the 21/U tournament the last four years.

_MCA1627LiWinning coach Maria Lynch was thrilled with the performances of her players and said with many of her squad eligible to return next year, predicts a bright future for the Waratahs.

“We’ve been building for this for quite some time,” Lynch said.

“We’ve got a great group of girls together and we really see fantastic things happening. It’s important to win the 21 national title.

“We’ve got a young group here and that all bodes well for New South Wales.

“We just stepped up at the right time. It’s been a hard week, there were some tired bodies out there on court but we kept our composure and turned it at the right time.”

Lynch, who also led the Waratahs to their last title in 2012, praised Victoria for pushing her side right to the final few seconds.

“They just wouldn’t let us get away from them,” Lynch said.

“They came with a game plan and we stood up to the pressure. We knew it was going to be tough and in the end we managed to get over the line. I’m so proud of them”

Defender Maddy Turner was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament – making it back-to-back successes in that award, joining April Brandley (nee Letton) as the only athletes to achieve that feat.

Brandley was named MVP in 2009 – jointly with Chanel Gomes – and 2010.

It was Turner’s fourth consecutive title at 21/U level. The 20-year-old was part of South Australia’s team the past three years but has moved to Sydney this year to play with the NSW Swifts in the ANZ Championship._MCA1961Li

“She’s been an integral part of our team and we’ve enjoyed having her in the group and were looking forward to seeing her out there in that red dress for the Swifts,” Lynch said of Turner.

Queensland made it back-to-back bronze medals after defeating Western Australia 54-49 in the play-off for third and fourth.

WA led by as much as nine goals mid-way through the second quarter before Queensland kicked into gear and a dominant third quarter – which it won 19-8 – proved the difference in the final result.

_MCA1691LiQueensland coach Christine Voge said her players didn’t panic when WA took control of the game and was pleased they responded in the fashion they did.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game whatsoever,” Voge said.

“We were very wary of WA but we knew if we played our best game we’d get the win.

“We knew what WA’s strengths were and we really tried to combat those so (the message) was just to go back to our game plan, not to panic and just keep being settled and composed.

“The third quarter the girls put their foot down. Getting the bronze medal is pretty special to Queensland and this group of girls as well.”

The opening match on Finals day saw South Australia – champions the past three years – defeat the ACT 74-32 in the play-off for fifth and sixth.

NEW SOUTH WALES (49) defeated VICTORIA (46)
NSW shooting stats:
Kiera Austin 24/29 (83%)
Georgia Marshall 24/30 (80%)
Alison Miller 1/4 (25%)

Victoria shooting stats:
Jane Cook 34/35 (97%)
Andrea Tai 9/11 (82%)
Samantha Gooden 3/5 (60%)

3rd v 4th PLAY-OFF
Queensland shooting stats:
Cara Koenen 27/31 (87%)
Abigail Meafou 24/31 (77%)
Bianca Cattelini 3/6 (50%)

WA shooting stats:
Sophie Garbin 39/45 (87%)
Kimberley Shepherd 9/16 (56%)
Paige Doy 1/3 (33%)

5th v 6th PLAY-OFF
SOUTH AUSTRALIA (74) defeated ACT (32)
SA shooting stats:
Charlee Hodges 35/38 (93%)
Taylor Greig 22/29 (76%)
Jordan Vivian 17/21 (81%)

ACT shooting stats:
Victoria Schmahl 22/25 (88%)
Cristy Linaker 5/5 (100%)
Zanna Woods 3/6 (50%)
Leigh Kalsbeek 2/4 (50%)