QUEENSLAND 38 def VICTORIA 28
By LAUREN BORDIN and BEN CARBONARO
An ecstatic Queensland squad overpowered Victoria to win the U19 national title by 10 goals in the Grand Final played in Melbourne.
Queensland coach Christine Voge, who was in tears following the victory, paid credit to her team’s ability to beat Victoria, who had been previously undefeated for the tournament.
“That was our aim today. To come here and to knock them off,” she said.
The game began with both teams strong in defence, as neither team found it easy to find a free player to pass to in the early stages of the match.
Unfortunately for Victorian wing attack Emily Post, her Grand Final ended prematurely as she had to be substituted off the court after injuring herself.
Andrea Tai rebounded a missed shot from Emma Ryde-Coad to give Victoria the lead in the first quarter.
However Queensland wasn’t going to let Victoria get far ahead.
Its defensive pressure was rewarded as a held ball call against Victorian goal keeper Kate Eddy resulted in a goal for Queensland. This leveled the scores at seven-all to end the first quarter.
Queensland took a three-goal lead early on in the second quarter thanks to good feeding into the shooting circle from centre Mahalia Cassidy and wing attack Dominique Scott.
Goal keeper Leah Middleton did well to keep Ryde-Coad quiet throughout the game, although Tai drove well to help move the ball into Victoria’s goal circle.
Cara Koenen, who won Most Valuable Player of the tournament award, had an outstanding second quarter.
Voge described Koenen as a player to look out for in the future as she scored 11 goals at 100 per cent accuracy in the quarter to help Queensland enter the half-time break with a four goal lead over the grand final favourite Victoria.
Queensland looked like it would grow its lead as it had the majority of possession in the first half of the third quarter.
Fighting hard to reclaim a ball that had previously gone out of bounds against them, Queensland showed its determination for victory.
Queensland’s movement of the ball through to its circle was clean, and its opportunities for its shooters were not wasted as it added nine goals to its score in the third quarter.
A quick goal from Queensland in the first 10 seconds of the final quarter saw it extend its lead to eight goals.
Victoria kept pressing and was able to speed up its delivery of the ball into its circle.
However it was never going to be enough to stop Queensland whose movement of the ball into its shooters was exceptional the whole game.
A solid effort from the whole Queensland team saw it win its first grand final since 2010 and only its third Championship since 1983.
Queensland shooting stats
Cara Koenen 27/30 (90%)
Bianca Cattelini 11/14 (79%)
Victoria shooting stats
Emma Ryde-Coad 14/17 (82%)
Andrea Tai 14/16 (81%)