WITH the final round of the Australian Netball League done and dusted the NSW Waratahs claimed top spot with Victorian Fury also imposing themselves at the top of table. Cellar dwellers Queensland Fusion failed to make a splash this season while the Southern Force and Western Sting only managed four wins for the season.
Western Sting (57) defeated Southern Force (47)
Though the Western Sting did not hold the lead from the get go they worked hard to turn the tables and build their own winning margin. The Southern Force jumped out to a two-goal lead at quarter time credit to the work of Maisie Nankivell around the circle edge to feed into the likes of Asha Thurlow and Cody Lange. A big 17 goal effort in the second quarter helped to set them up for the rest of the game and claim some momentum and control over the match. Both sides finished the game with a shooting average of 83 per cent with the main difference the number of attempts with the Sting putting up 12 more (69-57). As the game went on, the Force brought on Lucy Austin who impressed under the post with 20 goals from 23 attempts at 87 per cent. For the Sting, Emma Cosh and Sloan Burton worked well in the goal circle setting up good screens and making their presence felt on the scoreboard. Burton top scored with 39 goals from 45 attempts at 87 percent.
NSW Waratahs (49) defeated Canberra GIANTS (48)
After a hot start the Canberra GIANTS fought their way back into the contest against the NSW Waratahs. NSW jumped out to a big lead early on, scoring a whopping 19 goals to 10 in the first term and keeping that momentum up until a last quarter flurry from the GIANTS sent shockwaves through the side. The Waratahs had no issues ringing the changes in the goal circle with Alison Miller and Amorangi Malesale both getting a run with a combined seven shots. Meanwhile Kelly Singleton and Sophie Dwyer were prolific under the post with Dwyer highlighting her shooting prowess with 26 goals from 32 attempts. Through the midcourt Claire O’Brien and Tayla Fraser worked tirelessly to work the ball down the court and get into good feeding position while Abbey McCulloch showed her experience and class in at wing defence. The GIANTS are yet to provide statistics and a team list.
Queensland Fusion (52) defeated by Victorian Fury (58)
The Victorian Fury dominated in the first quarter to push out to a six-goal lead but the Fusion worked tirelessly to stay in the hunt. A 16 goal second quarter saw the Fusion get back within five goals at half time and continued to cut the margin down to four goals before a final quarter blitz from the Fury ended those hopes. Emma Ryde was prolific under the post once again using her height and reach to out body her opponents, finishing the game with 37 goals. Out the front in goal attack, Sacha McDonald and Ruby Barkmeyer applied scoreboard pressure and highlighted their accuracy to post for the Fury. For the Fusion, Macy Gardner and Jada Gafa worked hard through the midcourt to hit the circle edge and feed into the likes of Amy Sommerville and Rylie Holland. Holland top scored with 39 goals from 45 attempts with the goal shooter doing the most damage in the second quarter with 14 goals.
Territory Storm (63) defeated Tasmanian Magpies (60)
At the University of Sunshine Coast the Territory Storm claimed an upset win over the Tasmanian Magpies. It was a tight tussle with the Storm pushing out to a commanding lead but the Magpies continuously chipped away at the lead to fall agonisingly short by three goals. The Storm shooters capitalised on their opportunities in the second quarter with Cara Koenen and Binnian Hunt both sitting at 100 per cent shooting 10 and six goals respectively. Koenen’s accuracy to post continued throughout the match with 42 from 47 at 90 per cent showcasing her ability to break open a game with her timing and range. Annika Lee-Jones was important down in defence working with Sienna Allen and Sarahpheinna Woulf to limit the impact of the Magpies shooters. A couple of different combinations were tried out in the goal circle for Tasmania with Zoe Claridge showcasing her hot hand with 16 from 20 at 80 percent. Tried and tested duo Jane Cook and Samantha Gooden also played their role in attack with Gooden making the most of her opportunities at 84 percent.
Western Sting (47) defeated Southern Force (45)
It was a close encounter between the Western Sting and Southern Force with a mere two goals separating the sides in the end. The Southern Force worked their way back into the game to stay in touch with the Sting after they edged out to a four-goal lead heading into the quarter time break. Sunday Aryang and Olivia Lewis applied some strong pressure early on in the game to limit the ease of entry into the goal circle. But as the connection between Charlee Hodges and Lange grew they released the ball with confidence and looked to post more regularly. Hodges finished with 18 goals from 23 attempts while the work of Nankivell and Tayla Williams out the front was impressive. Goal keeper Kate Shimmin also showcased her defensive skill and aerial ability up against Sting shooters Kaylia Stanton and Burton. Stanton led all comers with 22 goals while Cosh showed her versatility switching between wing attack and goal attack. Through the Stings midcourt Courtney Kruta and Jessica Eales rotated through centre and provided good run both offensive and defensive.
Territory Storm (44) defeated by Tasmanian Magpies (66)
The Magpies completely flipped the tables on their previous clash to claim a 22 point win over the Storm. Though Tasmania struggled with accuracy finishing the game at 70 per cent they proved that volume is no issue putting up 95 goal attempts compared to 62. They put out a solid four quarter effort to transition down the court with ease and precision. But it was a 21 goal to nine third quarter that really enabled the Magpies to surge ahead and put their foot down. Cook took control in the goal circle with 35 goals but only managed 69 per cent shooting accuracy. Defensively Melissa Bragg, Brooke Allen, Zanna Jodlowska and Sharni Lambden all worked overtime to confuse the space and cherry pick any errant passes to try and nullify Lucinda Benjamin and Hunt. Benjamin threw her weight around with 31 goals while Chanel Dyer used her netball smarts to get into damaging feeding positions.
Queensland Fusion (49) defeated by Victorian Fury (59)
It was relatively close to start off with as the Fury held a three-goal lead at quarter time before they put the foot down and broke away to create a 12-goal deficit heading into the main break. Fusion tried hard to work their way back into the game but it was too far gone as the Fury stuck to their structures and capitalised under the post. Ryde continued her dominance under the post with 41 goals while Rudi Ellis and Jacqueline Newton worked hard in defence to confuse and clog up the space. Mia Stower made her presence felt for the Fusion on the scoreboard with the goaler converting 12 from her 16 attempts. Maddison Hinchliffe was solid through the midcourt with Laura Clemesha also working hard in defence to win the ball back with her hands over pressure and clever footwork.
NSW Waratahs (66) defeated Canberra GIANTS (27)
The Waratahs and Canberra GIANTS had a relatively even start until NSW kicked into gear and went on a scoring rampage in the third term. The main difference proved to be the volume of shots with the Waratahs simply outscoring them and transitioning down the court with pace and ease. The GIANTS had no answers only managing three goals in the third term while the Waratahs piled on a whopping 17 goals showcasing both their defensive and offensive prowess. Miller was simply unstoppable under the post with 43 goals at 90 per cent. Defensively they were just as impressive with Clare Iongi and Laura Rodger applying good strong hands over pressure and reducing Angelina Frketic’s dominance in the goal circle. Sophie Halpin and Madeline Hay also played her role in wing defence limiting the impact of Taylah Davies around the circle edge. Teigan O’Shannassy and Matilda McDonnell were outplayed by their opposition in defence but worked tirelessly to try and win ball back for the GIANTS.