The NFL’s netballers kept their perfect representative record intact with two close wins over the EFL at Parade College.
The under-19 side got the night off to a positive start with a 43-38 win, before the open side held on for a 48-44 victory.
The victories extended the netballers’ unbeaten streak at representative level to eight matches, following wins over the MPNFL and SFNL over the past two years.
The under-19s had to overcome an early deficit before taking the lead late in the first quarter and holding a three-goal lead at the first break.
With goal shooter Tayla Hardiman in fine form in a best on court performance, the NFL was able to stretch its lead in the second term, shooting 13 goals to eight to lead by eight at the main break.
The EFL mounted a comeback in the third quarter to cut its deficit to just four goals heading into the final quarter, before the NFL rallied in the last to finish with a five-goal win.
The open game followed a similar trend, with the NFL leading by two goals at quarter time, before breaking the match open with 15 goals to eight in the second term.
Trailing by nine goals at half time, the EFL fought back in the third to bring the margin back in to seven goals at the final change. The visitors continued the comeback early in the last.
However, the accuracy of NFL goal shooter Bec Colwell ensured the home side was able to keep its nose in front and hold on for a four-goal win.
Young defender Georgia Bowkett was adjudged best on court in her debut performance in the open representative team.
NFL netball head coach Brooke George praised the efforts of both the under-19 and open team to overcome determined EFL teams.
“We were proud of the girls tonight. In both games we got out to a lead and the opposition challenged us but we were able to use our skill and decision-making to look after the ball and hold that lead,” she said.
“We didn’t really know what we were coming into but once we had a look at the opposition and were able to work out what was happening on the court, we were able to change our game plan and tweak things to open up leads.
“For the girls to respond the way they did when the opposition pressed, we were really happy with that.
George paid credit to youngsters Hardiman and Bowkett, who were best on court in the under-19 and open match respectively.
“Tayla Hardiman really settled our attacking end and was dominant, particularly in the first half. She was accurate all night and as a goal shooter that’s all you can ask for. She certainly was a constant throughout the whole game.
“This year we had Georgia Bowkett come up and go straight into our open team and won our best on court tonight, which was excellent. Certainly as those young girls progress through there will be opportunities for them in the open team.
“Certainly a lot more players are turning out to the selection trials each year. In the first year we had a smaller number of players, so our pool is getting bigger.
“The crowds are getting bigger on match day as well which is great.”
Open Representative Team: Stacey Gannon (captain), Casey Barnes, Georgia Bowkett, Bec Colwell, Isabelle Conroy, Jessica Dao, Chelsea Kemp, Chloe Mulenmeesters, Bonnie Smith, and Bronwyn Taylor. Coaches: Jacinta Tonkin and Brooke George.
Under-19 NFL Representative Team: Kourtnee Baird (captain), Courtney Bailey, Olivia Ellis, Chloe Gray, Claire Hardi, Tayla Hardiman, Claire Henderson, Chloe Lambert, Ella Shannon and Emily Williams. Coaches: Sharon Ashworth and Brooke George.