South Australia secure back-to-back U17 national titles

South Australia have held strong to secure a one-goal victory against Victoria to win the 17/U national titles at the National Netball Championships for the second year in a row.

The pressure of the championship match weighed on both teams, with all players starting nervously. South Australia took first advantage and edged out to 9-goal lead at half time, before Victoria found their momentum and began piling on pressure on the score board.

The game looked like going into overtime, Victoria with a chance to level the scores in the dying stages, but a desperate rebound was enough to hold South Australia’s lead.

South Australia’s defensive pressure in the first half was relentless. Tyler Orr and Chelsea Blackman were impressive for the South Australia, restricting Victoria to just eight goals in the first half.

Blackman was incredible in the final minutes and was named Most Valuable Player in the grand final. This caps off what has already been a big year for the 16-year-old, who made her Australian Netball League debut for the Southern Force last month.

South Australian captain Tayla Williams was ecstatic with the win.

“It’s incredible, such an amazing feeling. Our (mantra) for the tournament was, ‘when my body gets tired, my mind says this is where winners are made; when my mind gets tired, my heart says this is where champions are made’, and that is exactly what we showed just then on the court,” said Williams.

South Australian coach Lee-Anne Cummins celebrated an emotional win.

“It’s absolutely awesome, for some of these girls, they’ve have gone through two years undefeated at national championships … I’m really happy for them because they deserve it, they work really hard and it’s just reward for them.”