MAGS re­peat net­ball win in champs

Central Leader - - SPORT - By ALAS­TAIR LYNN

Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School main­tained its un­beaten record to win the Col­lege Net­ball Cham­pi­onship for the fourth time.

A con­vinc­ing 43-32 win over St Kentigern Col­lege on June 1, so­lid­i­fied their spot as the best sec­ondary school team in the coun­try.

The score­board shows a de­ci­sive win, but MAGS co­coach Te Aroha Keenan says the ac­tion told a dif­fer­ent story.

‘‘St Kentigern’s is al­ways go­ing to be a tough com­peti­tor.

‘‘It was a re­ally cap­ti­vat­ing match, some re­ally awe­some skills were on dis­play,’’ Keenan says.

A gritty St Kentigern side man­aged to keep MAGS on their toes right through to the end of the third quar­ter.

Stick­ing to their orig­i­nal game­plan was not an op­tion, as the wi­ley St Kentigern’s de­fence tried to sti­fle some key play­ers.

‘‘They had to ad­just to what was hap­pen­ing,’’ Keenan says.

‘‘There were play­ers that St Kentigern’s put pres­sure on and they coped re­ally well.’’

Keep­ing their com­po­sure, the reign­ing cham­pi­ons showed they are wor­thy of the ti­tle by pulling away in the fi­nal 15 min­utes.

‘‘It was prob­a­bly the most phys­i­cal game we’ve had with them,’’ MAGS cap­tain Holly Fowler says.

‘‘We were quite sur­prised we came away with such a big lead, it was quite a shock.’’

With many se­nior team mem­bers leav­ing at the end of the year, the game pro- vided an op­por­tu­nity for the younger play­ers to step up.

‘‘This is one of the youngest teams we’ve had for quite a while. It has been a big learn­ing curve for them.’’

The side hasn’t lost a game in the Col­lege Net­ball Cham­pi­onship since 2012.

With the Na­tional Sec­ondary Schools Cham­pi­onships fast ap­proach­ing MAGS is look­ing for an­other ti­tle.

Keenan has worked hard train­ing her girls but she says the cul­ture is key to their suc­cess.

‘‘[The girls] want to do well for them­selves, but also to do well for their school. There is a great cul­ture that the older girls pass on re­ally well.

‘‘They’ve all got very strong sup­port­ive fam­i­lies and we couldn’t do half the stuff we do if we didn’t have those fam­i­lies be­hind us.’’

Maia Wil­son also re­ceived some good news this week, with the MAGS stu­dent named as a New Zealand A and Sil­ver Ferns tri­al­ist.

Pho­tos: KATE MEADS / MT AL­BERT GRAM­MAR SCHOOL

Caitlin Dow­den looks to off­load be­fore the St Kentigern Col­lege de­fence can strike.

Goal­keep Elle Temu went on to be named Player of the Grand Fi­nal for her de­fen­sive work.

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