Coastal Sharks have taken out the minor premiership following a dominate performance against Rangers in the final round of the West Australian Netball League for 2018.
“The team is delighted to have had such a great regular season and to obviously get that minor premiership,” said Sharks head coach Terri Nielsen.
The match was full of momentum swings, with the Sharks getting the first lead of the game with some intense defensive pressure early, but the Rangers answered quickly. Paige Doy and Bridget Maxted worked hard to win back ball for their side and helped to keep the margin to single digits.
Shooters Doy and Georgia Pitt had a lot on their plate, with star defensive duo Jess Penny and Olivia Lewis playing some quality netball and causing havoc in the shooting circle.
It took a good ten minutes, but the Sharks settled into the game, their shooting combination of Grace Parker and Emma Cosh hitting their straps.
“We turned over a lot of ball in the last game, so that was a big focus for us, our use of the ball,” said Nielsen.
“Coming into this game with that in mind, we still turned the ball over something like eight times in the quarter, so that will continue to be an emphasis for us.”
With some great play down court, the Sharks lead after the first quarter 13-10.
The second quarter saw the entrance of Brianna Newnham into goal attack for the Rangers, her and Pitt the more experienced shooting combination after the latest rounds of the season.
Some great vision from Maxted and strong and steady work from Rebecca Tuckey saw some great periods of play from the Rangers attack line. Strong drives from Sharks wing attack Brittany Turnbull helped her team work quickly in getting the ball to the circle edge and with periods of momentum keeping both teams on their toes, it was the Sharks still leading by just one goal at half time.
“We knew coming in that this was going to be a damn-good contest,” said Nielsen.
“We had a look over some things from our last match-up with the Rangers side, so of their styles that we wanted to counter.”
With some good netball coming out of both camps, the quarter remained even for some time. Lewis impressed for the Sharks, turning over ball in the form of tips and intercepts, as well as working with Penny and wing defence Emily Smith to create intense pressure over the Rangers attackers and shooters. The fight between Bunten and Turnbull continued, but with some stellar feeds from Sharks feeders and the height from Parker, the Sharks looked impressive.
It was in no way over for the Rangers, defenders Brooke Walker and Ashleigh Howat still contesting each and every ball, but the Sharks played a dominant quarter, outscoring the Rangers 16/23 to 9/10. The score sat at 41-33 with fifteen minutes remaining, the quarter both the Rangers’ lowest-scoring quarter and the Sharks’ highest.
The final quarter saw more of the same for both sides, the Sharks showing no sign of slowing down, with the margin quickly stretching out to 10 goals. Morgan Millar also made an appearance in goal attack for the Sharks, replacing Emma Cosh and shooting at 6/6 for the quarter. Rangers began to slow and showed some fatigue in the final minutes of the match, their drive towards the ball seeming to drop off slightly. In the end, the Sharks were too good, taking the match 55-43.
This match, as well as the West Coast Warriors v Perth Lions game played on Saturday night, has seen the Rangers drop down into third place on the ladder, the Lions making their way up into second.
The Rangers will take on the Warriors next Friday night at 6:00pm at the State Netball Centre, where the winner will go onto play in the preliminary final and the loser will be out of the race.
The Sharks will be taking on the in-from Perth Lions on the same night at 7:30pm, the winner going straight through to the WANL 2018 Grand Final, and the loser playing in the preliminary final.
This finals series will most definitely be one to watch, with four high-quality sides all fighting it out for the top prize, so don’t miss out!
Sharks: 55/69, 80%
- Parker: 45/53, 85%
- Cosh: 4/10, 40%
- Millar: 6/6, 100%
Rangers: 43/58, 74%
- Pitt: 26/33, 79%
- Doy: 0/1, 0%
- Newnham: 17/24, 71%