Netball: Western Sting ready for action in finals series

WESTERN Sting has secured a spot in next weekend’s Australian Netball League (ANL) finals series in Perth with a three-goal victory over the Tasmanian Magpies at the State Netball Centre.

In front of their largest home crowd of the season, the Sting stormed to their second win in as many days to cement third spot on the competition ladder in the final round of the regular season.

Head coach Michelle Wilkins said the victory held extra significance.

“I think that win today meant a lot to our group,” Wilkins said.

“To secure our place in finals in front of a big home crowd, particularly that group of past players, was a special moment for us.”

“These players are very proud to represent WA each time they take the court and the opportunity to play in front of those that have gone before them was not lost on the team today.

“There is no doubt it gave us a lift, particularly in that final quarter, and we look forward to getting out in front of our home supporters again in the finals next weekend.”

The two teams traded goals in the opening stages of the first quarter, before the Tasmanian side took advantage of turnover to establish a two-goal lead which they took to the quartertime break.

A fast-paced start to the second quarter from the home side saw the Sting seize the momentum, as the midcourt combination of captain Jess Eales, Lindal Rohde and Brittany Turnbull found increasing time and space with the ball in hand.

The West Australians managed to convert their opportunities to effect a six-goal swing across the second term, taking a four-goal advantage to the main break in the process.

The Magpies took full advantage of the interval, as the visitors had all the running in the early exchanges of the third quarter to erase the Sting’s lead and level the scores.

The Sting could do little to halt the Tasmanians’ drive, with the Magpies translating on-court pressure to the scoreboard to hold a two-goal lead at the final break.

With their season on the line, Sting returned with intent in the fourth quarter to challenge the Magpies’ stranglehold on the lead.

The passionate home crowd came into their own as the Sting levelled the scores, boosting their team to a new level in the final 10 minutes of the contest to ultimately prove the difference.

While Tasmania continued to push their case, the drive came too late as the Sting went on to secure a 58-55 victory and their place in the ANL finals.

The Sting will be joined in next weekend’s finals series, to be contested across Saturday and Sunday, by the Vic Fury, Canberra Giants and Queensland Fusion.

Doors will open at the State Netball Centre from 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon, with centre pass in the first game scheduled for 4pm.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.