Queensland 19 and under secured a silver medal at the National Netball Championships after falling in the grand final 17-25 to Victoria.
The performance was only the side’s second loss in nine games across the tournament, both of which came at the hands of their southern rivals.
Coach Megan Lynch said her side had done their state and themselves proud.
“The girls were definitely glad it was Victoria we were lining up against in the grand final,” Lynch said.
“In the players’ heads, if we were going to win we needed to beat every team and we wanted to get one back on them after they defeated us in the rounds. The girls were focused and ready to go, but Victoria were just too strong on the day.
“We had one training session together prior to coming away due to a lot of girls playing in the Australian Netball League (ANL), so our opening game against New South Wales was our first hit out. From there we built well during the week.
“The players were a team from the very beginning to the end, which makes life easy as a coach. They had a great comradery and wanted to do it for each other. They have done an amazing job to walk away with the silver medal in a hard-fought competition.”
Defender Tara Hinchliffe won tournament MVP, adding a deserved accolade in a break-out year that has seen her appear for the Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds as a reserve and dominate at Queensland State Netball League level and ANL levels.
“She’s outstanding. She was our captain and led from the front with relentless pressure at the back and turnovers when we needed it,” Lynch said.
“She keeps on going no matter what and lifted everyone through her performances. The girls look up to her and love having her lead them. She’s an inspiration.
“Queensland and Victoria are the only sides who had teams in both age group play-off finals – bronze medal and gold medal games. It shows what we’ve been building over the past few years.
“The young girls coming through should be looking up to these girls and aspiring to be like them so as we move forward the job of selectors becomes tougher and tougher.”