Southern Force close in on ANL finals berth

The Southern Force is one step closer to cementing a place in the 2016 Australian Netball League (ANL) finals after completing a clean sweep of its double header over Western Sting in Week 6 action reports AIMEE DAWSON.

Force overcame the Sting easily in Saturday’s game, scoring a convincing 70-53 win. It was a battle of the shooters for much of the game with rising young stars Sasha Glasgow (Force) and Sophie Garbin (Sting) almost mirroring each other, scoring 36 and 32 goals respectively at 88 and 87 per cent.

The result came down to turnovers and the defensive pressure, with the Force having 21 more shots at goal.

Sunday’s game was a different story with the Sting fighting back to make it a one-point game.

The Force were the fastest out of the blocks, racing to a 15-5 lead at quarter-time with Kristina Brice scoring all of that total.

But the Sting fought back in the second term to bridge the gap to seven goals at half-time.

The Force, sensing a shift in momentum, benched prolific shooter Brice and replaced her with Glasgow.

Force coach Tania Obst said that she was very happy with the performances of Brice, Glasgow and goal attack Charlee Hodges.

“Krissy shot beautifully,” Obst said. “We just sought of felt like we wanted to get a little bit more movement in that last quarter and young Sasha Glasgow came on and she did a pretty handy job.”

The Sting continued to make in-roads into the margin, but were unable to find that crucial turnover in the final minutes as Force held on to win 56-55 and move into second spot on the ladder.

“It certainly came down to the wire there,” Obst said.

“We had a very positive start and gradually the Sting kept chipping away at it. But we were able to just hold on at the end there so that was pleasing.”

“We were able to nail the last couple of centre passes and score the goals so I think that shows a lot of character to the group and their ability to finish out the game.”

Victorian Fury wrapped up its regular season with two wins over QLD Fusion on the Gold Coast.

The first match was a close contest with Fury holding on to win 46-42 in the curtain raiser to the ANZ Championship match between the Queensland Firebirds and Melbourne Vixens at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Being down by as much as eight goals at half-time, the Fusion staged a comeback in in the third quarter. But the reigning champions did enough to secure the points with Jane Cook a stand-out for Fury, shooting 28 goals at 94 per cent.

Fury dominated the second game, scoring a 55-44 victory to consolidate their spot on top of the ladder.

Vixens youngster Emma Ryde, pictured right, was brought into the team for game two and proved valuable, scoring 43 goals at 88 per cent accuracy.

BurtonPhotography-14253573415Fury now has a fortnight to prepare for the finals series, being played in Sydney on the weekend of June 25-26 while the fifth-placed Fusion is now relying on other results to keep alive their hopes of a top four finish.

Canberra Darters and NNSW Waratahs had the bye.

Click here for detailed scores and stats.

Pictures courtesy of David Callow and Burton Photography