FOSTER won three of the six Alberton netball grand finals on Saturday, including A Grade and two of the three junior titles.
Here’s how the day unfolded.
13 and Under, Foster d MDU
A greatly anticipated game between Foster and MDU. Games have been extremely even all season.
MDU began nervously, but after steadying, they took their time, protected the ball and only passed to open players, while Foster played directly.
Despite the varying styles only Foster led by a narrow one goal at quarter time.
As the game continued, the players had to contend with grand final pressure and the unkind weather.
Foster continued to work the ball down the court cleanly. Their strong hands over the ball rewarded them with ‘held ball’ calls to the MDU players.
MDU continued to work the ball patiently into their shooting circle but tight defence from Foster created a ‘crowded’ circle and the MDU goalers struggled to find ‘space’. At the end of the third quarter, Foster had taken a four-goal lead.
MDU came back strongly during the last quarter and got back within a goal.
Calls came from the Foster coaching bench urging their players to ‘stay calm!’ Foster steadied and scored another goal to win by two – 15 to 13. There were cheers and tears from everyone after a fabulous game.
Best on court (awarded by umpires): Meg Rathjen, Foster, Goal Attack.
15 and Under, Foster d MDU
BOTH teams shot well early. Foster was encouraged to ‘come forward’ as their attempted high, long passes slipped through fingers and were ‘grabbed’ by MDU. Scores were even at quarter time, a low scoring affair; 4 all.
The game see-sawed for the first half in what became a very scrappy game in the wet conditions as players tried desperately to win the ball. Easy passes were dropped, players slipped, goals were missed, scores were even again.
During the second half, Foster started to take control, their added height all over the court proving to be an advantage.
Both teams used their bench at all breaks, giving every opportunity for their players to take the court.
MDU tried desperately during the last quarter to reduce the margin but Foster’s strong drives to the ball and short sharp passes through the centre proved too much for MDU in the end, Foster winning 26 to 16.
Best on court (awarded by umpires): Belle Grabham Andrews, MDU.
17 and Under, MDU d Foster
The game was very even for three quarters.
Both goal attacks were shooting well their accuracy above 90 per cent.
Centre passes were broken and immediately broken back. High, wide passes were intercepted brilliantly by both teams, the large, vocal crowd enjoying the spectacle.
The MDU coach asked for more body on body defence, particularly in the circle. The umpires thought there was too much ‘body defence’ and cautioned the girls in the MDU circle.
The fourth quarter brought a change to the game. Foster began to find it hard to get the ball into their shooting circle. MDU found more space all over the court, moving the ball strongly through the centre third into their circle where they were able to work the ball under the ring for an easy shot at goal.
Forced long shots for goal by Foster resulted in vitally needed goals being missed then rebounded strongly by the MDU defence.
MDU appeared to handle the wet conditions better than their Foster opponents who seemed to be nervous running in the slippery conditions. A strong win to MDU in the end 35 to 23
Best on court (awarded by umpires): Kasey Thorson, MDU Goal Defence.
C Grade, MDU d Fish Creek
MDU got out to an early three goal lead. Fish Creek got back into the game but could not reduce this margin.
It was a scrappy game early on. Lots of encouragement came from the Fish Creek supporters willing their team on.
Quick passes in the Fish Creek circle got the ball to the shooter under the ring making for easy goals. Not to be outdone, the MDU shooter worked hard to get in a similar position under the ring making it easier to shoot goals in steady rain. MDU worked the ball strongly through the centre third, while the Fish Creek defenders rebounded strongly in the MDU circle.
Calls came from both benches to ‘slow down’ as the rain continued. Short sharp passes were required. Rushed passes were dropped or went out of court in the wet conditions.
In the last quarter, MDU effectively used long passes into the strong hands of their goal shooter who held ‘good space’. Tensions were high with lots of ‘body on body’ defence occurring all over the court. A ‘warning’ was given by the umpire – ‘no need for elbows’. All players looked exhausted at the end as MDU won a highly emotional and feisty game, 34 to 29.
Best on court (awarded by umpires): Lauren Wightman, MDU Goal Defence.
B Grade, Toora d Fish Creek
A strong start from Toora saw them take a 6-1 lead. Fish Creek appeared nervous. They tried hard to get the ball through the centre third but the strong ‘hands over the ball’ defence from Toora made it difficult.
Toora were encouraged to ‘keep moving’ as they goaled from turnovers, their shooters rebounding strongly from their own ‘missed’ attempts.
Fish Creek’s bench encouraged them to ‘make good decisions’ as they attempted rushed shots at goal and threw wild passes down the court. Toora up 10 to 4 at quarter time.
A different Fish Creek Team took take the court during the second quarter, as they clawed to within two goals and moved the ball cleanly and strongly down the court. Their goalers’ accuracy improved, their defenders played tighter.
The game was more even and intense in the second half. The Toora players were instructed from the bench to ‘keep it patient’. The Fish Creek goal shooter worked hard to get the ball into the Fish Creek goal attack who seemed to be falling back into the shooting circle.
Desperate netball from both teams forced silly errors in the last quarter.
Held balls were called both up the court and in the goal circle.
Fish Creek managed to level the scores as players fought for everything, pulling and snatching the ball from the hands of their opposition.
A nervous missed attempt at goal by Fish Creek resulted in a turnover and goal to Toora. Then a Toora centre pass resulted in a goal. Toora had the edge which they extended by another two goals by the end of the game winning a nail biter 36 to 32.
A Grade, Foster d Fish Creek
Another nail biter which the large vocal crowd enjoyed from the first whistle.
The game had everything! It was body on body defence all over the court. The goal percentages from both teams was above 80 for all four goalers despite desperate hand over ball defence from all four defenders. The lead changed many times.
It became very physical resulting in four ‘cautions’ being given by the umpires.
Foster began the last quarter one goal up. They seemed to steady. Both teams were fired up – another caution given.
The game became even more physical. The Fish Creek goalers became frustrated by their own missed goals.
The crowd was right into the game by now yelling encouragement and giving advice from all corners of the court.
In the end, Foster managed a 35 goal to 29 goal win, securing the flag after finishing third on the ladder.
Best on court (awarded by the umpires): Keighley Starrett, Foster centre.