South Australia 40 v Victoria 26
South Australia mounted a remarkable comeback after quarter time to defeat Victoria and take home their third National Netball Championship title in a row.
Champions the past two years, the South Australians completed the hat trick in front of a passionate home crowd.
Victoria came out firing, taking the early lead. Goal keeper Tegan Stephenson kept South Australia quiet in the opening stages of the game while at the other end, Victorian shooter Uneeq Palavi capitalised on her opportunities.
South Australian 17U coach Lee-Anne Cummins said the message at the quarter time break, when her team trailed 7-13, was to remain calm.
“[The message] was just to refocus and get back to what they do well,” Cummins said following the win.
“I knew if we could re-group what our focus was, and our game plan had been and execute that well, then they would certainly be competitive.”
South Australia settled their nerves and came out firing in the second term. SA sharp shooter Nyah Allan was unstoppable, wasting no opportunity to level the scores at the main break. By half-time the Reds had equalled the scores 18-18.
SA made the third term their own, scoring 12 goals to 3. Dynamic defensive pressure from the South Australians held the Victorians scoreless early in the third with wing defence, Paris Sinclair playing her role beautifully despite a head knock earlier in the game.
Carrying a 9 goal lead, the South Australians didn’t waste any time getting off the mark in the fourth but Victoria refused to go down quietly, fighting back to reduce the lead.
In the end, South Australia proved too strong and coach Lee-Anne Cummins couldn’t have been prouder of her team.
“It’s amazing – for some of these girls its back to back,” Cummins said.
“For me personally, I have been working with some wonderful young athletes who are coming through the pathway, which is fantastic.”
Star shooter and South Australian captain, Lucy Austin was overjoyed following the win.
“I’m so proud of all of the girls. Every member of the team stepped up and did their job, and we pushed it out for the 40 minutes,” Austin said.
“It’s honestly amazing. It’s the best thing in the world and nothing compares to this.”