Stingrays march into Opens Grand Final

//Stingrays march into Opens Grand Final

Minor Premiers Sutherland Stingrays produced a dominant performance to defeat the Manly Warringah Sapphires 68-55 and book their place in the 2016 SAMSUNG Premier League Opens Grand Final.

The Sapphires’ season remains alive as they prepare to face a red-hot North Shore United in next week’s sudden-death Preliminary Final at Netball Central, Wednesday 17 August.

It was a strong showing early from the Stingrays as they marked their dominance on the match. Through the telepathic connection between shooters Mel Tallent and Leah Price (nee Shoard) – the latter coming off a 49-goal individual performance last week – the Stingrays shot out in front.

The Sapphires weren’t to be deterred though and kept pushing through; their midcourters working overtime to back-up to the circle defenders, while providing strong service to Manly’s shooters. But Sutherland were firmly in control by the first break having pulled out to an eight-goal advantage.

With momentum under their sails the Stingrays launched an attack on the second quarter; limiting any opportunities their opponents had to claw back the deficit. Before long Sutherland’s lead was out to double digits which resulted in a personnel switch in Manly’s attacking end.

The most noticeable change was the introduction of Lauren Cantwell at Goal Attack, who partnered with Georgia Marshall at shooter. Cantwell brought a point of difference to the combination, with her turn of speed drawing defenders to open up space for Marshall.

While the Sapphires found some rhythm late in the first half, they Stingrays were firmly in control on the scoreboard as they entered half time with a 33-23 lead.

Despite their opponents fighting their way into the contest, the Stingrays emerged ruthless for the start of the second half – putting up 21 goals to the Sapphires’ 11 to further extend their command on the scoreboard.

Tallent and Price were on-song, and were provided strong possession by their teammates who – despite their significant lead – continued to throw everything into the contest. The Sapphires were valiant, but could not match Sutherland’s tenacity.

In the end the Stingrays pressed on, winning their fourth consecutive quarter, 14 goals to 12, to book their place in the inaugural Grand Final on Wednesday 24 August at Netball Central.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
STINGRAYS | Q1: 20 – Q2: 33 (13) – Q3: 54 (21) – Q4: 68 (14)
SAPPHIRES | Q1: 12 – Q2: 23 (11) – Q3: 34 (11) – Q4: 55 (12)

Shooting Statistics
STINGRAYS: 68/80 @ 85%
M. Tallent: 39/43 @ 91%
L. Price: 29/37 @ 78%

SAPPHIRES: 55/66 @ 83%
C. Linaker: 13/14 @ 93%
G. Marshall: 29/35%
L. Cantwell:13/17 @ 76%

Starting Line-ups
STINGRAYS | GS Mel Tallent, GA Leah Price, WA Braeden Quince, C Maddie Hay, WD Cassie Staples, GD Cassandra Radford, GK Ashley Valeni

SAPPHIRES | GS Cristy Linaker, GA Georgia Marshall, WA Brooke Miller, C Nikki Deegenaars, WD Victoria Low, GD Hollie O’Shannassy, GK Keely Rodrigo