This image (above) of Tasmanian coach Elizabeth Carter embracing her Northern Territory counterpart Debra Gray was captured on the Finals Day from the 17/U National Netball Championships last Saturday.
The two teams had just faced off in the play-off for seventh and eighth early in the morning with the Territorians claiming a thrilling one-goal victory after holding off Tasmania in the final minutes.
The 25-24 result ensured that the NT finished the tournament in seventh place – its highest finishing position since 2000.
Significantly, it was also the Territory’s first win in that age group for a decade. To see the elation on the faces of the athletes and coaching staff at the final whistle showed just how much that victory meant Northern Territory netball.
Gray was delighted to see her squad rewarded for their hard work and dedication in the lead-up to the tournament in Perth and throughout the week.
“It’s going to be exciting next year because most of the girls in the team are all bottom age,” Gray said.
“There was significant improvement (in their performances) over the week. They train as hard as anyone else and it was about getting that belief that once they got that win, more will come.”
“She said `I know how much it means to you and your girls’,” Gray said. “She knows how precious those little wins are.”
It was double celebration for Gray as she received her Elite Coaching Accreditation after being assessed by a panel, headed by former Australia coach Jill McIntosh, at the national championships. It’s the fifth stage in Netball Australia’s Coaching Accreditation Pathway.
Gray also led the NT’s 19/U side to historic victories over New South Wales and Western Australia at the 2014 titles in Melbourne.