2013 Championships exceed all expectations
One week of some of the best netball on the planet. That is what spectators were treated to when they visited the Boroondara Sports Complex for the 29th Australian Men’s & Mixed Netball Championships.
Six separate divisions were contested by 33 teams, a tournament record. In all, 450 players, coaches, managers, umpires, scorers and trainers participated in what is being dubbed the best championships the association has ever had. Complimenting these teams were 5000+ spectators who attended over 7 days and nights of elite netball action. “This has been a tremendous event. The standard of todays men’s Grand Final was exceptional. It really shows we are headed in the right direction,” described a clearly elated Australian President Mr Grant Crocker. “We have had 6 Grand Finals today, and this 300 seat grand-stand has been completely full for the entire day”.
Mr Crocker was correct. The stand was not only full, it was exceeding its capacity, with spectators forced to sit in the aisles, or grab any viewing vantage space they could find. The crowd for the Men’s Grand Final was estimated to have exceeded 700. And the 700 were not disappointed, if the ooh’s and ah’s are any indication. The speed and quick decision making of the mid court players is not seen anywhere else in world netball. Couple this with the extreme athleticism, and the unique aspect of regular goal tending, the crowd were treated to some amazing entertainment:
- Gillian Baker of Box Hill – “I could not believe how fast those boys are. I’ve been watching netball for 20 years and never seen anything like it”
- Aaron Micalef (12) of Surrey Hills – “I want to keep playing netball. Junior from Qld is huge”
- Michelle Taylor of Brighton – “I’ve seen the diamonds, the ferns and go to all the vixens games, but that was easily the best netball I’ve seen in my life”
- Bridget McDonald of Diamond Creek – “That was amazing. I brought my three kids along, we watched 2 fantastic matches and it only cost us $30 all up”
- Amanda Fletcher of Hawthorn – “I brought my 13 year old son along because he loves playing. I had no idea what it was all about, but have watched and played for 30 years. I couldn’t believe netball could be played like that. My son just told me he wants to be like the Victorian keeper”
OPEN MEN’S DIVISION
The 2013 Australian Championships reached an incredible climax with an almost flawless display from the VIC Men’s Open team, as they took out their 5th successive Australian Championship with a 51 – 37 victory over a very difficult opponent in Queensland. It was a battle of tactics right from the outset. Queensland played their 7’2′ key position player, Junior Levi in defence. This move was countered by Victoria, opting to go with the brave tactic of playing a shorter, more mobile goaling combination in Dan Ryan and Daniel Cooke. A physically taxing strategy, the clever Victorian attack end continually worked the ball around the circle, outmanoeuvring the giant Queenslander, and diminishing his opportunities to goal tend at will.
- Victoria defeated Queensland 51 – 37
- Player of the Grand Final: Merrow Clough (Vic)
- Tournament Best & Fairest: Andrew Simmons (Vic)
OPEN MIXED DIVISION
Fierce rivals Victoria took on a much-improved NSW in a torrid affair with some spectacular play and a close result which was an indication of how closely matched these states were. Despite winning their preliminary games, Victoria knew that NSW had a team that would challenge hard for the title and they certainly did that. NSW got out to an early lead and it went goal for goal for most of the first half. Some changes made by Victoria in the second half proved to wear NSW down and Victoria gained the ascendancy going into the final quarter. A late run by NSW was not enough to pinch the title from Victoria, who regained it for their 5th consecutive year.
- Victoria defeated New South Wales 46 – 43
- Player of the Grand Final: Natasha Westbrook (Vic)
- Tournament Best & Fairest: Natasha Westbrook (Vic)
23 & UNDER MEN’S DIVISION
A tightly fought game between two teams that both had victories over each during the round robin stage of the tournament. Never more than a 3 goal lead for either team throughout the first half, with the scores level at quarter time and Vic #1 team up at the big break. Both teams made changes to try and push ahead and it wasn’t until deep into the third that an unanswered 8 goal run meant the Vic #1 team had inflicted their first big blow. Further changes were made by Vic Dev’t, to tackle this deficit, and in-roads were made, but the #1 team stood up to the challenge and pressed home with a solid final quarter.
- Victoria defeated Victoria 23’s Development 47 – 35
- Player of the Grand Final: Justin Collins (Vic)
- Tournament Best & Fairest: Matt Atkins (Qld)
MEN’S RESERVE DIVISION
The top 2 teams after the preliminary rounds prevailed during the final series, with New South Wales taking on Victoria on Grand Final day. The Vic’s were shooting for their 8th successive title and started the game of strong, jumping to a 6 goal lead early in the game. NSW managed to peg it back going into the 1st quarter break trailing by 3. NSW made changes going in the 2nd quarter, which seemed to settle the side, with ball delivery to the shooters more fluent. NSW eventually forged ahead, achieving a number of un-answered scoring surges, and eventually running out 17 goal winners.
- New South Wales defeated Victoria 49 to 32
- Player of the Grand Final: Bim Wilkinson (NSW)
- Tournament Best & Fairest: Matthew Meaney (Vic #2)
19 & UNDER MEN’S DIVISION
The Grand Final was contested between Victoria and Queensland.
After an exciting extra time battle in the semi final it was set to be a great match.
Victoria came out firing in the first quarter, with the Queenslanders completely swamped by the Victorian mid court press. The Vic capitalised on every turnover, producing an unassailable 18-2 lead at quarter time.
Queensland fought hard to try cut back the deficit, but outstanding continued defensive pressure by the Victorian Cyclones saw them run out convincing winners.
- Victoria defeated Queensland 46 – 27
- Player of the Grand Final: Drandon D’Monte (Vic)
- Tournament Best & Fairest: Jackson Mynott (Vic Development)
17 & UNDER BOYS DIVISION
The dominant team of the tournament, Victoria, showed exactly why they had been untroubled during the rounds, with a commanding performance against their New South Wales opponent. Demonstrating the value of having multiple players with 2 or 3 previous championships under their belts, they were never troubled by a gallant NSW side.
- Victoria defeated New South Wales 74 – 40
- Player of the tournament: Brodie Roberts (Vic)
- Tournament Best & Fairest: Brodie Roberts (Vic)