It has been a bittersweet ending for our Victorian side at the 2014 21/U National Netball Championships, going down to South Australia 43-27 in Adelaide on Sunday.
SA has become the first team to win the title on its home court in more than two decades as they stormed to victory in a match which ebbed and flowed early, before the hosts put the foot down.
Victorian head coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell said she was extremely proud of her players for not giving in and continuing to fight right until the very end of the match.
“We just couldn’t stick with them for four quarters, they were a very slick side and you know silver is always bittersweet when you make it to the grand final, but our group of players were outstanding in their performance throughout the week and in the grand final, however it wasn’t enough to get us over the line, Keppich-Birrell said.
Speaking after the game, Keppich-Birrell acknowledged the sound contribution of her team to their defensive structures on court, with defensive duo Emily Mannix and Chloe Watson named in the 21/U Australian Squad alongside Melbourne Vixens Kate Moloney, Liz Watson and Joanna Weston, five Victorian athletes in total.
“I have actually never coached a team to have managed over 40 positive turnovers a game, and in the grand final we had 60, so they were definitely the back line stoppers but were well supported from our attacking girls.”
“We have Victorian players who have now been exposed to the pressure of a nationals competition where you are playing two games a day and backing it up, and for them now to know there is that expectation and knowledge that with every game you have to step it up and give it another 10 per cent, and another 10 percent, until you are hitting your straps when finals roll around.”
South Australia’s co-captain and Adelaide Thunderbirds player Madeleine Proud was named the tournament’s San Remo Most Valuable Player and deservedly chosen in the 21/U national squad.
South Australia shooting stats
Cody Lange 23/29 (79%)
Georgie Virgo 18/24 (75%)
Chelsea Lemke 2/7 (29%)
Victoria shooting stats
Mikaela Vaughan 20/32 (63%)
Maddie Morrison 4/11 (36%)
Maddie Hickey 3/7 (43%)
Five Victorians Named in 21/U Australia Squad
A wealth of international experience highlights the make-up of this year’s 21/U Australian squad, named at the conclusion of the National Championships in Adelaide and includes five Victorian athletes.
The 21/U squad will attend a selection trial between 14-16 September at the new Netball Centre of Excellence at the AIS Canberra campus, which coincides with an Australian Diamonds training camp.
A week-long tour of New Zealand is also planned in late September and October.
The Australian 21/U squad: Gia Abernathy (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds), Kelly Altmann (SA), Kristina Brice (NSW), Courtney Bruce (WA/West Coast Fever), Taylah Davies (NSW/NSW Swifts), Beryl Friday (QLD), Sarah Klau (SA), Cody Lange (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds), Chelsea Lemke (SA), Madeline McAuliffe (QLD), Emily Mannix (VIC), Kristiana Manu’a (NSW), Kate Moloney (VIC/Melbourne Vixens), Madeleine Proud (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds), Kim Ravaillion (NSW/Queensland Firebirds), Kaylia Stanton (WA/West Coast Fever), Gretel Tippett (QLD/NSW Swifts), Maddy Turner (SA), Georgie Virgo (SA), Chloe Watson (VIC), Elizabeth Watson (VIC/Melbourne Vixens), Joanna Weston (VIC/Melbourne Vixens).