Here’s the wrap up of all the action in today’s Finals from the 21/U National Netball Championships in Adelaide thanks to our match reporters.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 43 def VICTORIA 27
By SAM FINN
South Australia has created history after conquering Victoria by 16 goals to claim back-to- back 21/U National Netball Championships in front of a vocal home crowd.
SA has become the first team to win the title on its home court in more than two decades as they stormed to victory in a match which ebbed and flowed early, before the hosts put the foot down and showed everyone at Netball SA Stadium why it went through this year’s championships undefeated.
The first quarter began nervously for both teams with SA’s goalers struggling to convert turnovers.
Victoria’s transition from defence to attack was minimal, with fierce defensive pressure from SA a feature. When SA goalers Chelsea Lemke and Cody Lange settled into a rhythm, it proved too much for the defensive pairing of Victorian captain Chloe Watson and the in-form Emily Mannix.
SA took a slim three goal advantage into the first break and the second quarter saw defenders dominate once again, as both shooting circles struggled to hit the scoreboard.
SA’s timing was crisp right throughout the match, with Kelly Altmann finding fantastic space and her speed cutting right through Victoria’s defence.
With five minutes to go in the quarter, SA called a time out and coach Megan Carter went to her bench, introducing Georgie Virgo to goal shooter.
This move had an immediate impact with the SA feeders finding Virgo’s space well. It was Victoria who took the quarter by one off the back of some wonderful work from Mannix in goal keeper, Maggie Lind’s composure and skill in the midcourt and some improved shooting from the pairing of Maddie Morrison and Maddie Hickey.
SA’s lead was a mere two goals heading into the long break.
The third quarter is often known as the premiership quarter and SA showed the vocal crowd why it’s been the best team all week as a 15-7 quarter broke the back of a gallant Victorian side.
Virgo’s presence under the post made all the difference for SA, who released the ball with fantastic confidence.
SA’s defensive duo of Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau made life extremely difficult for the Victorians. Their pressure over the shot and relentless effort in the air and on the ground saw plenty of possession gains and opportunities for SA to extend their lead to 10 goals heading into the final term.
The last quarter was once again a dominant display for the home side, with dominant defence and skilful attacking play the highlights. The final margin ended up at 16 goals and South Australia crowned deserved back-to-back champions.
For Victoria, Lind’s composure and class was evident from the first centre pass, while Mannix produced another strong performance at goal keeper.
Virgo was the difference maker for SA, opening up the goal circle and providing a consistent option. SA’s midcourt used their speed and precise movements to open up the Victorian defence, while at the back, the combination of Klau and Turner proved too much to overcome for the Vics.
South Australia’s co-captain and Adelaide Thunderbirds player Madeleine Proud was named the tournament’s San Remo Most Valuable Player and deservedly chosen in the 21/U national squad.
South Australia shooting stats
Cody Lange 23/29 (79%)
Georgie Virgo 18/24 (75%)
Chelsea Lemke 2/7 (29%)
Victoria shooting stats
Mikaela Vaughan 20/32 (63%)
Maddie Morrison 4/11 (36%)
Maddie Hickey 3/7 (43%)
NEW SOUTH WALES 70 def QUEENSLAND 28
By AMELIA DAWKINS
Queensland had some noticeable omissions from its line-up with shooter Jemmason Power and vice-captain Beryl Friday missing the game due to injury.
Barely anything separated the teams in the opening minutes of the first quarter, in a fast paced game where a number of bodies went to ground as all players worked to the best of their ability.
NSW were the first to break away, remaining solid in defence and working well in attack.
Excellent shooting by goal shooter Kristina Brice helped NSW get out to a comfortable margin at quarter-time leading 20-8.
Queensland looked better at the start of the second and goal shooter Claudia Jones obtained some fantastic shots.
But NSW had more successful passages of play, while the Queensland attack found it difficult to get past goal defence Kristiana Manu’a and goal keeper Karli Ireland who were both reading the play well.
At half-time, it was NSW who had extended their lead to 22 goals.
Despite the margin, the third quarter began rather fiery with Queensland refusing to give in.
But NSW captain and goal attack Amy Sommerville shot some beautiful goals and ensured her team continued to extend the lead.
Queensland’s defence in Aldora Tulua, Kate Dudley and Madeline Walsh were receiving a tough work out but had some wonderful pick ups and caused numerous turnovers.
Unfortunately Queensland were unable to capitalise and NSW led by 32 goals at three-quarter time.
Once again despite the score, it didn’t appear as if there was such a large margin in the fourth quarter as both teams fought equally hard as though it was closer.
But ultimately it was NSW who played the better netball overall and ran away with the win.
NSW coach Megan Simpson was extremely proud of how her team played.
“Our girls came prepared to really do the job and finish the campaign on a positive note,” Simpson said.
“They kept their heads and were really composed.”
NSW will also potentially see a number of current squad members remain in the team for next year.
“We’ve got quite a few young defenders including Maddie Hay and Kristiana Manu’a who are playing above their age group and there’s a couple in our attack line so definitely there’s the makings for a strong Under 21 team for next year,” Simpson said.
New South Wales shooting stats
Kristina Brice 36/47 (77%)
Amy Sommerville 18/26 (69%)
Claudia Russell 16/21 (76%)
Queensland shooting stats
Claudia Jones 21/32 (66%)
Lauren Sculley 4/6 (50%)
Stephanie O’Brien 4/8 (50%)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 55 def ACT 45
By TAMSIN SCHOLZ
Excellent shooting has helped Western Australia defeat the Australian Capital Territory by 10 goals to claim fifth spot in this year’s 21/U National Championships.
These two sides had played out a thrilling draw earlier in the week and WA ended its tournament on a positive.
A third quarter burst set up the WA win, capitalising on pressure by defenders Jessica Penny and Annika Lee-Jones.
Long bombs by WA goal attack Emma Cosh were a highlight of the quarter as WA took a 12-goal lead into the final term.
ACT struggled to make the most of its opportunities throughout the match, while at the other end WA shot accurately.
ACT’s goal attack Danielle Pickett moved well in the ring, while WA’s goal shooter Sophie Garbin shot 15 from 15 in the first half.
Garbin went on to shoot at 84 per cent accuracy for the match while Cosh shot at 88 per cent.
At the other end pressure across the court made it difficult for ACT in attack, and they struggled to get the ball in the ring.
WA captain Jessica Eales in wing defence provided a good back up for the other defenders, forcing several held balls.
While ACT continued to fight hard in the final quarter, outscoring WA by two goals to win the term, the result was never in doubt.
Western Australia shooting stats
Emma Cosh 29/33 (88%)
Sophie Garbin 26/31 (84%)
Australian Capital Territory shooting stats
Georgia Marshall 25/38 (66%)
Danielle Pickett 20/33 (61%)