Mag­pies pre­vail over gal­lant pre­miers

Albany Advertiser - - SPORT - Cameron New­bold

Mag­pies 1 have sur­vived a strong fourth-quar­ter chal­lenge from Kan­gas 1 to se­cure the fi­nal spot in this week­end’s Al­bany Net­ball As­so­ci­a­tion A1 grand fi­nal, win­ning Satur­day’s tense pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal by three goals in the end.

Reign­ing pre­miers Kan­gas, who had come off an elim­i­na­tion fi­nal win over Gram­mar 1 last week, led by three goals in a low-scor­ing open­ing term, but Mag­pies took con­trol of the con­test in the sec­ond quar­ter. With cen­tre Kelly Judd pro­vid­ing great drive and Claire Roocke swing­ing to goal shooter, Mag­pies net­ted 10 goals to snatch back the lead.

Roocke net­ted five of her 13 at­tempts for the quar­ter, while fel­low for­ward Jas­myne Jones added five goals of her own to help Mag­pies re­gain the as­cen­dancy.

Mag­pies ex­tended the mar­gin dur­ing the third term as they scored five of the first seven goals in the pe­riod with Judd, goal de­fence Ebony Thorpe and wing at­tack Re­becca Goodliffe all play­ing key parts in their side, outscor­ing Kan­gas 12 goals to eight, with Jones hit­ting six of those goals at 100 per cent ef­fi­ciency.

Kan­gas, though, launched one fi­nal chal­lenge in the last term with mid-court star Kate Min­ter lead­ing the way as for­wards Mar­cia Treve­nen and Jodie Wig­nall helped erase the deficit.

Mag­pies led by five goals en­ter­ing the fi­nal term but that was quickly gone as Kan­gas hit seven of the first eight goals in the all-im­por­tant fi­nal term. Kan­gas hit the front through the re­li­able Wig­nall, and with Rachel Will­cocks play­ing well in de­fence, the mo­men­tum had swung in their favour. Mag­pies kept re­spond­ing as Jones helped put her side back in front with a cou­ple of clutch goals as they fin­ished 33-30 win­ners to book a spot in the de­cider.

Jones was ter­rific in the goal cir­cle, fin­ish­ing with 16 goals from 23 at­tempts and young­ster Cait­lyn Wheat­ley added 10 goals at 67 per cent in the last half.

The Mag­pies were well served by Judd and goal­keeper So­phie Ba­con-Lewis, who used her height to great ef­fect while re­bound­ing and in­ter­cept­ing. “Kan­gas pushed us the whole way but it was our de­fence,” Mag­pies coach Rose­mary Wolter said. “The calm­ness of our shoot­ers in the last quar­ter was also a fac­tor — they didn’t let the pres­sure get to them.”

Wig­nall fin­ished with a game­high 18 goals from 29 at­tempts and Treve­nen hit 11 of her 19, but Kan­gas coach Trish Hines said lit­tle mis­takes proved costly.

“The lit­tle things didn’t go our way and they were a bit more com­posed at the end,” she said.

“Their shoot­ers shot well and over­all they had a bit more con­sis­tency but it’s been a great sea­son, con­sid­er­ing how we started.”

Mag­pies progress to their third grand fi­nal in four years and come up against Roy­als Saints 1.

Mag­pies' Re­becca Goodliffe and Kan­gas' Jodi Ferry con­test the cen­tre pass.

Pic­tures: Lau­rie Ben­son

Mag­pies' Cait­lyn Wheat­ley shoots as Kan­gas' Rachel Will­cocks and Tahlie Larosa de­fend.

Mag­pies' Jas­myne Jones looks to shoot.

Kan­gas' Mar­cia Treve­nen looks for op­tions.

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