Sting aiming to climb ANL podium in 2016

Four bronze medal finishes in the past five Australian Netball League seasons has highlighted to Western Sting what it needs to do to take the next step, coach Michelle Wilkins told CLAIRE MACUZ.

Sting again fell short of a maiden Grand Final appearance in 2015 after losing to eventual runners up Southern Force in the semi finals, relegating them to the play-off for third and fourth where they defeated QLD Fusion 67-45.

Wilkins said teams like Victorian Fury, who claimed a third consecutive titles, and Force showed her players what level Sting needs to produce in order to become a genuine title challenger in 2016 and beyond.

Sting lost to both sides during the season but showed in their regular season meetings they could match it with the best.

“A full game of intensity and effort is required to get up there to positions one and two and to challenge sides like the Victorian Fury,” Wilkins said._MCA3226Li

“We are focusing on developing our players as best we can and working up the linear scale to the standard of the ANZ Championship.

“Finishing in third place three times in the last four years is something that we are aware of and we believe that the way to improve that is just to continue on the path we are on; developing our players, improving combinations and focusing on a whole team effort.”

A shining light to come from the season was the performances of young goal shooter Kaylia Stanton, who eclipsed her 2014 record for the most goals scored in an ANL season by a Sting player.

Stanton shot 340 goals – including a career-best 53 against Fusion – at an average of just under 38 goals a match and 85 per cent accuracy for the season.

Wilkins said it was encouraging signs for Stanton, who is returning to West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championship in 2016.