Canberra and Tasmania win through to DUANL final

The Tasmanian Magpies and Canberra GIANTS will play in their first Deakin University Australian Netball League grand finals after beating the NNSW Waratahs and Victorian Fury in the competition’s semi-finals.

The Fury and the Waratahs finished first and second on the ladder after the home and away season but the Giants and Magpies produced the goods

CANBERRA GIANTS (58) def VICTORIAN FURY (47)

A final-quarter blitz has seen the Canberra GIANTS pull off a huge upset in the Deakin University Australian Netball League semi-finals, defeating minor premiers the Victorian Fury 58-47 to book a place in Sunday’s grand final.

The Giants trailed at half-time but a supreme defensive effort saw them take the lead in the third quarter and then bury the result with an 18-10 final term in which the Fury – missing goal defence Jacqui Newton and midcourter Tayla Honey, who were both called up to the Melbourne Vixens – had few answers.

The Giants, up against the tournament’s second-highest goal scorer in Rahni Samason, were unwavering in their attempts to quell her influence, holding the Fury to their second-lowest score of the tournament and denying them another shot at the title after the Fury came up short in the decider against Western Sting last year.

Canberra led 12-11 at quarter-time and by as much as four goals midway through the second quarter, but the Fury hit back to close the margin to a single goal, and when the Giants overcooked a pass in their goal circle while leading 20-21, the Vics levelled the scores.

Both teams continued to trade turnovers as the defensive pressure began to tell at either end, before Fury goal attack Sacha McDonald netted one in the dying seconds to give her team a 26-24 lead at half-time.

The Giants’ defence started to come up big in the third quarter, with goal keeper Teigan O’Shannassy intercepting early in the quarter to help give her team back the lead at 31-30, before Giants centre Maddie Hay pulled off a stunning intercept to help take the score to 38-36. A goal to Giants goal attack Beryl Friday on the three-quarter time buzzer saw the home side pull three goals clear – 40-37.

The Fury swung changes at the defensive end in a bid to turn the game in their favour, but from there it was all the Giants, with goal shooter Georgia Marshall and Friday finding the post with ease and scoring 18 goals between them, while Canberra defenders O’Shannassy and Stephanie Macgougan limited the Fury to just 11 attempts.

The Giants will now face the Tasmanian Magpies in Sunday’s grand final. The two teams faced off just a fortnight ago, with Canberra winning game one 52-41 and the Magpies saluting in game two 53-51.

TASMANIAN MAGPIES (66) def NNSW WARATAHS (55)

The Tasmanian Magpies withstood a withering final-quarter fightback from the Netball NSW Waratahs to book their spot in the Deakin University Australian Netball League grand final.

Leading for the entire game, the Magpies saw what was once a nine-goal lead evaporate to just two goals midway through the final term as the Waratahs made a late charge.

But with Magpies goal shooter Jane Cook (55 goals from 58 attempts) all but unstoppable under the post, the Waratahs needed everything to go right for them in the crucial final minutes, and when a couple of errors crept back into their game Tasmania was able to re-establish their advantage and push on for a memorable 66-55 win.

The Magpies got off to a flyer in the first quarter, leading by six goals midway through, with the 200cm Cook providing the expected roadblock for the Waratahs’ defence.

NSW talked in the lead-up to the match about the need to slow down Tasmania’s midcourt, but centre Kelsie Rainbow and wing attack Vanessa Augustini were in full flight early, whipping the ball around the attacking third and catching the Waratahs defenders on the back foot.

But a couple of late turnovers allowed the Waratahs to steady and cut the quarter-time margin to just three goals – 15-12.

The Magpies again started the better of the two teams in the second quarter, taking their lead to seven goals, which they maintained through to the half-time break for a 33-26 advantage.

The teams split the third quarter 16-16, with Magpies goal defence Sharni Lambden and NSW goal keeper Clare Iongi trading spectacular turnovers as the margin yo-yoed back and forth.

The final quarter finally delivered the tight contest many had predicted, with NSW making Tasmania pay

With the margin back to six goals, a Magpies centre pass break gave NSW another opportunity that was duly converted, and then 16-year-old goal shooter Letherbarrow (41 from 46) coolly slotted one from long range to narrow the gap to four.

A miss from Magpies goal attack Cody Lange with 10mins remaining allowed Waratahs to surge again, with the margin slashed to just two.

But that was the end of the Waratahs’ resistance, with a turnover in the goal circle and a footwork call on the otherwise outstanding NSW centre Elle Bennetts giving the Magpies the buffer they needed to close the game out.