RACT Insurance League Reports - By Chris Bye

19u 2017 Grand Final

Glendon Kingston Blues 19U team achieved their aim of back to back Premierships beating Lexus Arrows 59-47 in the Grand Final at the Silverdome in Launceston, after going through the roster season undefeated.

Rick Fontyn from Fontyn Sports Media announced the players from both teams onto the court and the match ups to start the game were as follows:

Gemma Polley Kingston GS v Alanna Cooper Arrows GA
Makenzie Adams GA v Ellie Fleming GD
Georgia Jones WA v Taylor Kemp WD
Sarah Scott C v Clare Grace C
Brigitte Clack WD v Felicity George WA
Gabriella Lee GD v Stacey Fox GA
Sophie Robbins GK v Phoebe Dillon GS

Subs for Kingston were Sophie Visser, Lucy Street and Hannah Steinhauser
Subs for Arrows were Adelle Salter, Chelsea Jarvis and Amelia Byers

Umpires for the game were James Adams and Ruth Davies with Leah Turnbull as the Reserve.

The first quarter was a tight contest, with form side Lexus Arrows, who were magnificent in the Preliminary final against Cavaliers, taking the game right up to last year’s Champions Kingston Blues. Arrows coach Sheree Kemp started Stacey Fox out at GA and Phoebe Dillon @ GS, while Kingston coach Shane Fish started Sophie Robbins at GK and Gabi Lee at GD, which was the opposite of how both teams started in their previous finals game. Kingston led 13-11 at the first change in a high standard contest. Stacey Fox scored 10 goals from 11 attempts to keep Arrows right in the contest in the first quarter. Sarah Scott was Kingston’s best player in the first quarter, using the ball well on every occasion she had it in her hand and her feeding of the ball to goalies Gemma Polley and Makenzie Adams was immaculate. 

The second quarter was a shootout with Kingston scoring 16 goals to Arrows 13. Arrows GS Phoebe Dillon scored their first 4 goals for the quarter and then GA Stacey Fox took over scoring 8 of their last 9 goals; but Kingston led 29-24 at the half-time interval.

Kingston went into the vital third quarter with the same seven players, but as expected Coach Shane Fish switched defenders Sophie Robbins and Gabi Lee in the last half; with Gabi Lee moving back to GK, still matched up on Stacey Fox, while Sophie Robbins moved out to GD, still matched up on Phoebe Dillon. Arrows Coach Sheree Kemp made a few changes, which included Felicity George moving from WA to Centre to match up on Kingston playmaker Sarah Scott, while Stacey Fox and Phoebe Dillon switched at the attacking end. Kingston continued to score heavily in the third quarter with Centre Sarah Scott and WA Georgia Jones finding Makenzie Adams often. Adams found space in the circle plenty of times as Kingston extended their lead to 10 goals four minutes into the quarter. Arrows fought back as they did in the 3rd quarter of last week’s Preliminary final. Stacey Fox was the star player in the Preliminary Final and she kept Arrows in the game in the third quarter scoring 13 goals from 15 attempts as Arrows scored 15 goals for the quarter. A timely intercept by Kingston WD Brigitte Clack, when Arrows were within 5 goals and had possession, was crucial as Makenzie Adams scored and Kingston ended up winning the quarter and led 45-39 at the last change.

Kingston Coach Shane Fish brought on Sophie Visser to GA to replace Makenzie Adams and Lucy Street to WA to replace Georgia Jones. Arrows started well in the final quarter and converted their first six scoring opportunities, with Stacey Fox scoring 5 goals and Phoebe Dillon 1 and at the half way mark of the last quarter Kingston led 50-45, with the game still up for grabs. Lucy Street moved the ball on quickly into goalies Gemma Polley and Sophie Visser as the Blues scored 14 for the quarter, with Gemma Polley proving to be the match winner scoring 12 goals from 14 attempts. Sarah Scott, Brigitte Clack, Sophie Robbins and Gabi Lee all proved to be match winners defensively in the last quarter as they restricted Arrows to 8 goals for the quarter; as the Blues ran out winners 59-47 in a very high quality 19U Grand Final.

Player of the Match was awarded to Arrows Captain Ellie Fleming who played an aggressive game at the defensive end; helping out GK Alanna Cooper by double teaming Gemma Polley on occasions, as the Cooper/Fleming combination kept Polley, who is a 50 goal plus per game player, down to 34 goals. Ellie Fleming played 7 quarters in the Arrows Open team this season, is a young version of Arrows Open Goal Defence player Aj Gough, and the State 19U player in 2017 looks to have a big future in the game as does Alanna Cooper who played 8 quarters in the Open team this season and also represented Tasmania this year in the 17U National Championships. Goalie Stacey Fox was the other standout player for Arrows in the Grand Final and she is the most versatile goalie in the 19U competition. Fox scored 38 goals from 47 attempts @ 81% and was magnificent.  Fox is exceptionally strong, is an outstanding athlete and looks to have a big future in the game. Arrows were great in the finals series and they played their best netball when it counted in the big games and full credit to all the players in the team and to their Coach Sheree Kemp and Assistant Coach Hayley Sansom for their performances in the Preliminary and Grand Finals. 

Below are some comments on the performance of the Kingston players in the Grand Final and also re their season in general.

Gemma Polley GS – scored 34 goals from 39 shots @ 87% and proved to be the match winner when the game was on the line in the last quarter. Gemma was double teamed but still did the job in the first three quarters and took the game away from Arrows in the last, scoring 12 for the quarter. Ashlea Mawer was the top goal scorer in the Open competition in 2017 scoring 860 goals in 15 matches at an average of 57.3 goals per game at 86% accuracy. Gemma top scored in the 19U competition scoring 737 goals in 16 matches at an average of 46.1 goals per game @ 90% accuracy. To average 46 goals per game @ 90% accuracy is a great achievement and Gemma would have scored even more goals in the 19U competition if she wasn’t rested on occasions when she played in the Open team also this season. 

Makenzie Adams GA – scored 23 goals from 29 attempts at 79.3% accuracy over the first three quarters. Adams was a focal point in attack, with opponent Ellie Fleming concentrating at times on helping Alanna Cooper defend GS Gemma Polley. Makenzie was a free scoring GA player in her first year in the TNL 19U competition as a 15 year old player; but has changed her role to being predominately a feeder of the ball to Gemma Polley over the past two seasons and her feeding skills have been top class. Makenzie took advantage of the space given to her in the Grand Final and proved to be a match winner in the first three quarters and she has now scored at 80% accuracy over three consecutive seasons and may well be the only specialist GA player in the 30 year history of the State League competition to have achieved such a feat. Karana’s Hannah Lee scored at 83% efficiency in her first season in the Open competition this season and her shooting accuracy was one of the reasons why Karana made the finals in the Open competition this year. Makenzie’s 80% shooting accuracy as a specialist GA player over a 3 year period is a unique achievement.

Sophie Visser GA – Sophie in her last season in the 19U competition, came on in the last quarter to GA,  with Lucy Street coming on at WA for the vital last quarter. Sophie won the Player of the Match Award in the Round 18 game against Arrows when she scored 29 goals from 31 attempts at 93%, was in peak form and Coach Shane Fish went into the last quarter with the same offensive line-up of Sarah Scott, Lucy Street, Sophie Visser and Gemma Polley; the same players that scored 94 goals in the Round 13 game against Burnie. The Polley/Visser combination scored 14 goals in the last quarter, which snuffed out Arrows hopes of a last quarter come from behind victory. Sophie is a smart player and has been a good team person in her three years in the Kingston 19U team and she will be an asset to whatever team she is chosen in next season. 

Georgia Jones WA – played three good solid quarters at WA. Worked hard at WA and did the simple things well, feeding the ball to Makenzie Adams when she found space in the circle. Georgia is a highly skilled mid-court player and has now been a member of 5 consecutive Kingston Grand Final winning teams, which could possibly be a club record. If any Kingston players would like to get into a team that has a good chance of winning a GF next season, then my advice would be to try if possible to sneak into the same team that Georgia Jones is in; as she is a champion and is stacking up her bedroom with Premiership medallions.

Lucy Street WA – Lucy and Sophie Visser gave the team fresh legs in the last quarter. Lucy’s vision and quick release of the ball was a key factor in Kingston getting the ball quickly into the circle after the Centre pass from Sarah Scott. Gemma Polley dominated the game in the last quarter and Lucy Street was the key link player that got the ball quickly into Gemma so that she could get some one on one contests, which ensured that the Premiership returned to Kingston for the 2nd consecutive year. Lucy is a versatile player, who is highly skilled and although she also only played one quarter in the Grand Final, her performance was outstanding and she was a match winner for the Blues when the game was there to be won in the last quarter.

Sarah Scott C – The Captain was Best on Court in last year’s Grand Final and once again was one of Kingston’s best players in the 2017 GF. Sarah was almost taken out of the game in the 2nd quarter, but she’s a tough girl and bounced back up off the floor and did everything well in the Grand Final, including her speech at the post game presentation. Sarah also may well have been the star of the show at the post game party. Sarah was an exceptionally good Captain this season after taking over from Madeline Jones; is very highly skilled, uses the ball well and makes very few mistakes for a player that has the ball in her hand as much as she does. Sarah is very highly regarded by Coach Shane Fish, is still only 17 years of age and is a player of the future.

Brigitte Clack WD – Brigitte didn’t win the Player of the Match Award, but was player of the moment in the 2nd half of the third quarter when she picked up a timely intercept at a crucial stage in the game when Arrows were fighting back and working hard to reduce the margin at the last change. As a result of Brigitte’s intercept, Kingston went into the last change 6 goals in front. Brigitte along with Sophie Robbins and Gabi Lee were also the match winners in the last half of the last quarter, when Kingston fought off the Arrows challenge and extended the final margin out to double digits. At only 16 years of age, Brigitte won 3 Player on the Match Awards in her first season in the State League 19U team.

Gabi Lee GD/GK – Gabi had the big task of lining up on Arrows star goalie Stacey Fox and kept the athletic Arrows player to 38 goals, which was 1 less than her season average. Gabi worked hard all game and the experience of representing Tasmania in the 2017 17U National Championships in Canberra held her in good stead as she would have come up against players of the quality of Stacey Fox in many of the games at the Nationals. Gabi is another highly regarded player who has a big future in the game. Gabi was the 2016 All Star GD player and it may be a close call between Gabi and Ellie Fleming for that position in the 2017 All Star line-up.

Sophie Robbins GK/GD – Sophie matched up all game on Arrows shooter Phoebe Dillon and kept her opponent down to 9 goals from 15 attempts for the game. The Blues may lose Sophie next year to Launceston if she gets into the University course of her first choice. Hopefully Sophie will continue to play TNL for some team as she is improving every year and will be an asset for any team that she plays for as she is an athletic defender and a very popular team person who will be sadly missed by Kingston if she moves to Launceston. Sophie was the 2016 All Star GK and both Sophie and Alanna Cooper will be contenders for the position this year. Sophie won 4 consecutive Player of the Match Awards this season, which was a remarkable achievement and may be close to a club record.

Hannah Steinhauser GK – Hannah didn’t get a chance to take the court in the Grand Final, but the tall defender did well for the Blues in every game that she played during the season, after coming in just prior to the season as a late replacement for 2016 Premiership defender Amalia Sharp. Hannah is the Vice-Captain of the Kingston 17U team that will play in the preliminary final on Saturday afternoon at the Hobart Netball and Sport Centre and the tall athletic defender is a key player in the 17U team’s aspirations of achieving back to back Premierships.

Shane Fish – Coach. The Blues Coach is a hot favourite to win the 19U Coach of the Year Award in 2017, with his team going through the season undefeated and winning the Grand Final. Last year Shane was a Joint winner of the award, along with Northern Hawks Coach Kellie Tahiri. This year I’m tipping the Blues Coach to again be a Joint winner of the Coach of the Year, this time along with Arrows Coach Sheree Kemp, who coached her team into the finals this year. Arrows finals performances were magnificent; coming from 10 goals down in the third quarter to defeat Cavaliers in the Preliminary final and then they tested the unbeaten Kingston team for three and a half quarters in a great Grand Final.