For the fourth time in five seasons Western Sting has claimed the bronze medal in the Australian Netball League after toppling QLD Fusion in the play-off for third and fourth at the Waverley Netball Centre in Melbourne.
After Fusion got away to a bright start scoring the first three goals of the match, Sting turned the tables about 10 minutes into the opening quarter to take a 17-11 lead into quarter time.
Sting captain Andrea Gilmore played a pivotal role in defence making several interceptions.
Sting powered on the goals in the second term to extend their lead to 15 goals at the main break with Australian 21/U shooter Kaylia Stanton proving a formidable target in the goal circle.
Fusion coach Jenny Brazel rotated her team to begin the second half, including bringing Queensland Firebirds premiership player Verity Simmons into wing attack.
Lucinda Benjamin, who was called up as a replacement player for the finals weekend for the injured Jemmason Power, was thrown the goal shooter bib for her ANL debut.
The Queensland State League player showed her ability by scoring six goals at 75 per cent accuracy for the match.
Stanton ended the game with 53 goals at 93 per cent accuracy, giving her 340 goals for the season at an average of just under 38 goals a match.
That tally eclipsed the previous record for the most goals scored in a season by a Sting player – previously held by Stanton when she shot 258 goals in 2014.
Sting coach Michelle Wilkins said it was Stanton’s performance, and not the overall record, that she was most pleased with.
“Kaylia is a confidence player,” Wilkins said. “She just wanted to get a good start and be a dominant player on the court.
“We focused on her use of holding in the circle and for the majority of the game it worked as well as we had hoped.”
Sting shooting stats
Kayla Stanton 53/57 (93%)
Lisa Millman 14/20 (70%)
Fusion shooting stats
Cara Koenen 25/31 (81%)
Abigail Latu-Meafou 13/16 (81%)
Lucinda Benjamin 6/8 (75%)
Dominique Scott 1/2 (50%)