Waratahs ready to ramp up for ANL finals

Taylah Davies
For the past month the NNSW Waratahs have sat back and watched how the Australian Netball League season has unfolded.

By a quirk of the draw, the Waratahs played six matches in the first three weeks of the season – but have had to wait another month to take the court again.

They’re back in action in this weekend’s penultimate round when they host Western Sting at Newcastle on Saturday before the two teams head back to Netball Central at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday.

With finals a fortnight away, Waratahs captain Taylah Davies, pictured above, said the team was looking to regain their match touch this weekend.

“We’ve been keeping a close eye on all the scores and there’s definitely been some very exciting results, which is awesome for the competition to see how close it’s getting,” Davies said.

“Having three byes in a row, we’re all ready to go this weekend and can’t wait to get back out on court.

“We’ve been training hard in the lead-up to this weekend. They (Sting) have got a lot to play for – as do we. So both teams will be going pretty hard and there will be good match-ups right across the court.”

It’s a crucial double header for Sting, who need one victory to lock away their spot in the upcoming finals series for the third straight year.

The fourth-placed Sting are three points ahead of QLD Fusion (fifth) on the ladder. Fusion only have two matches left to play in their season, against Canberra Darters in the final round.

In their favor is the fact they have beaten Waratahs in their last three outings. But NSW lead 6-4 in overall head-to-head meetings

Reigning champions Victorian Fury sit on top of the ladder, but have finished their regular season campaign. With four matches to play in the last fortnight, Waratahs can unseat their long-time rivals and claim that coveted position.

Waratahs were forced to make late changes to their squad after last year’s captain Emily Keenan withdrew and Kim Commane and Toni Anderson were called up to the ANZ Championship.

Davies, who replaced Kennan as captain, has been impressed by how quickly their young players such as Teigan O’Shannassy, Alison Miller and Georgia Marshall had settled into their squad and given coach Briony Akle plenty of combination options.

“It doesn’t matter who’s out on court, we’re very strong across the board and it’s good to see players stepping up at different times this year,” Davies said.

“Having a good mixture of experience and youth has worked in our favor.

“We’re very supportive seeing our friends offered exciting opportunities by ANZ Championship teams because that’s helped show our young players they’re not far off the mark (playing ANL).”

The Waratahs-Sting double header are the only games being played in Week 7.

Saturday’s game will be played as a curtain raiser to the ANZ Championship match between the NSW Swifts and West Coast Fever at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

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