The Canberra Netball Association’s division one team continued its dominance of the 2019 HCF State League during Sunday (28 July)’s ACT netball grand finals at the SolarHub Netball Centre.
Up against a determined Arawang side in a physical and fast-paced grand final, Canberra completed a clean sweep of the 2019 season by finishing undefeated minor premier and winning the decider 62-52.
Arawang was looking for back-to-back premierships and had a wealth of grand final experience, having won seven division one premierships from the past 15 seasons, including 12 grand final appearances.
However, this year’s decider saw Arawang play catch-up from the outset as Canberra skipped away to an early 20-10 lead in the first quarter.
That lead blew out to a 17-point margin at half-time thanks to the efforts of the Canberra team’s midcourt players and some costly errors by the Arawang side.
That also forced Arawang to make changes for the second half, with captain Leigh Kalsbeek and Eliza Burton subbed in an attempt to slow Canberra’s fast ball movement.
Arawang also had to contend with the near-perfect effort of Canberra goal shooter Nalani Makunde, who shot 51 goals from 52 attempts, sinking the premiership hopes of Arawang.
The deficit narrowed marginally during the second half with valiant efforts from Arawang’s Maddie Robinson, Hannah Flaherty and Emma Walmsley-Stonehouse and a never-say-die approach from the rest of the team.
Canberra made a late adjustment to their defence in the fourth quarter with 10 minutes remaining and held on for a comfortable 62-52 win.
In the division two grand final, Arawang broke its grand final drought by defeating Belconnen 57-50.
In division three, Belconnen took the honours 57-43 over an Arawang side aiming for its ninth successive premiership.
ACT Netball marketing and communications manager Hayley Lia said this year’s State League has taken a huge step forward with the backing of insurance company HCF and the recent Netball World Cup, where the Australian Diamonds narrowly lost to New Zealand in the grand final.
“We’ve seen one of our best seasons yet, with HCF coming on board to support the most trusted sport in Australia,” Hayley said.
“There are a huge number of highly talented players coming through that has made for a really strong season. It has also come to fruition with the old rivalry between Canberra and Arawang in the division one grand final.”
Meanwhile, the ACT Giants netball players will hold a meet and greet this Saturday, August 3, from 10 am at each of the district netball clubs, ahead of their clash with the Queensland Firebirds in the Suncorp Super Netball competition at the AIS Arena on Sunday at 1 pm.