Happy 30th for Fury in thrilling finish to ANL season

_MCA7981LiIt was a thrilling finish to the ANL season with top sides Victorian Fury and Southern Force playing out an epic game. Here’s the wrap of the weekend action from Adelaide by AIMEE DAWSON

The 2015 Australian Netball League finalists have been decided after the crucial last round of the regular season in Adelaide.

With Western Sting, Netball NSW Waratahs, Tassie Spirit and Territory Storm all finishing their regular season last weekend, it was left to Victorian Fury, QLD Fusion, Canberra Darters and hosts Southern Force to determine the make-up of the top four. _MCA6272Li

All eyes were on Fusion, who needed to win one of their two games to progress to the finals and subsequently deny the Waratahs a semi finals berth for the first time since 2009.

The Fusion were not able to make that win in their first game of the weekend against the Fury, who triumphed 49-40.

Despite having more shots than Fury in the first quarter, Fusion were not able to capitalise and had a deficit of two goals at quarter-time which increased to seven at the main break. _MCA5374Li

A third-quarter comeback by the Fusion brought the margin back to just a couple of goals; but it was not enough to defeat the flying Fury.

The Fusion had one more chance to make the finals, needing a win against Darters and things didn’t look promising early with a four goal-deficit at the first break.

A strong second-quarter by Fusion saw them reverse this deficit to lead by six goals at half-time. Darters struggled to find momentum in the second-half with Fusion increasing their lead to claim the victory 58–42 and sealing their spot in the finals.

Force’s crushing 74-34 victory over Darters on Saturday night helped set up a fitting climax to the regular season; a showdown against Fury with top spot and the minor premiership the reward for the winner.

_MCA6497LiBoth teams went into the match undefeated and it was Force who started well to hold a three-goal lead at the main break as they sensed an opportunity to bring Fury’s 29-game winning streak to an end.

But with Emma Ryde a clear target in Fury’s goal circle, the reigning champions were able to wrestle back the lead. In a thrilling finish, Force had an opportunity to level the match in the dying seconds, but a desperate shot by Cody Lange came after the final whistle and Fury claimed a 50-49 victory.

The win ensured Fury finished the regular season on top and undefeated heading into the semi finals, where they will meet Fusion.

Force take on Sting in the other semi final with the two winners facing off in Sunday’s Grand Final for the 2015 title.

All finals will be played at the Waverley Netball Centre in Melbourne next weekend.

Week Five Results:

Victorian Fury (49) defeated QLD Fusion (40)
Fury shooting statistics
Emma Ryde 32/40 (80%)
Alice Teague-Neeld 17/21 (81%)


Fusion shooting statistics
Cara Koenen 29/39 (74%)
Dominque Scott 11/24 (46%)

Southern Force (74) defeated Canberra Darters (34)
Force shooting statistics
Charlee Hodges 21/24 (77%)
Laura Packard 20/20 (100%)
Chelsea Lemke 18/21 (86%)
Cody Lange 15/17 (88%)


Darters shooting statistics
Alison Miller 14/14 (100%)
Lauren Cantwell 10/10 (100%)
Simone Nalder 7/8 (88%)
Vanessa Mullampy 3/7 (43%)


QLD Fusion (58) defeated Canberra Darters (42)
Fusion shooting statistics
Abigail Latu-Meafou 35/40 (88%)
Cara Koenen 22/27 (81%)
Bianca Cattilini 1/5 (20%)

Darters shooting statistics
Simone Nalder 15/17 (88%)
Alison Miller 12/15 (80%)
Vanessa Mullampy 8/10 (80%)
Lauren Cantwell 7/11 (64%)


Victorian Fury (50) defeated Southern Force (49)
Fury shooting statistics
Emma Ryde 37/44 (85%)
Alice Teague-Neeld 13/20 (65%)

Force shooting statistics
Cody Lange 29/36 (81%)
Chelsea Lemke 20/24 (83%)

Photos: David Callow