The Queensland Fusion is still on a high two weeks after almost snatching a nail-biting, come-from-behind win, in its first ever Australian Netball League (ANL) Grand Final appearance.
The Queenslanders narrowly missed bringing home the ANL trophy, going down by just two goals, on the back of a gutsy second half fight back to the Melbourne Fury, 51-49.
Already looking ahead to 2015, Fusion coach Kylee Byrne said she was proud of her team’s effort to claw back from an 11 point half time deficit to push the champions right to the final seconds of the game.
“We talked about the Queensland spirit all year and that certainly got us close to taking the title,” Byrne said.
“No one can take away from us the fact that we created history and we are the first Queensland team in an ANL final, everyone involved can hold their heads high.”
“This is a fabulous result for netball in Queensland and all players, coaches, staff and supporters should be excited about what Queensland can do in the future. We got to the Grand Final and we’ll be all out to get the win next year,” Byrne said.
Byrne said it has been difficult to choose a standout player across the season but the impact of Maddie Walsh, Beryl Friday and Kerri Gordon in the final was just what the Fusion needed to turnaround the second half with captains Demelza Fellowes and Laura Scherian using their experience to lead from the front.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the efforts of this Queensland Fusion team. The way they came together in such a short space of time and to combine as a team on and off the court was a huge achievement,” Byrne said.
The Fury looked set for a comfortable win in the first half, before the Fusion’s maroon spirit came to the fore with the Queenslanders staging an amazing come back and giving the opposition’s strong home crowd at the Waverley Netball Centre, a whiff of an upset.
In a pulsating final quarter, the Fusion continued to bridge the gap and came within a goal with less than a minute remaining in the match.
Fury coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell has praised the Fusion as fearsome opponents.
“They’re definitely a team of the future and the way they’ve been coached and their work rate on court has definitely improved,” she declared of the Grand Final rookies.
“No longer can you think you can hold them off for two quarters and then win the game in the second half. They fight every single quarter and never give up and that’s a credit to them.”
GRAND FINAL RESULT
Victorian Fury (51) defeated QLD Fusion (49)
Fusion shooting statistics
Beryl Friday 22/25 (88%)
Stephanie Wood 20/27 (74%)
Gretel Tippett 7/13 (54%)