FINALS MATCH REPORT: Jets zoom past Bull Sharks in sudden death final

FINALS MATCH REPORT: Jets zoom past Bull Sharks in sudden death final

The Bond University Bull Sharks sank like a stone when faced with the clinical attack from a resurgent Jets side to go down by a stunning 30 goals, 73-43, in the first semi-final of the HART Sapphire Series finals last night (28/09/19).

From the opening minutes the Jets executed precision netball, effectively shutting down the Bull Sharks’ prized weapon, South African goaler Sigi Burger (GS). Combined with a defense-heavy strategy through the mid-court, the Jets successfully rattled the youngest team in the competition and knocked them off their game plan.

Much credit goes to young Bridey Condren (GK), who was recently named in the Netball Queensland Elite Development Program squad of 17. Her match-up against the experienced international Burger kept the gun shooter out of her comfort zone, and, often, locked out of the circle as Burger ventured further and further afield to get hand to ball.

It was a result that few could have predicted. The last time the two sides met, the Bull Sharks came out on top, 60 – 54. And as the end of the season neared, the Gold Coast side was finding good form, delivering seven consecutive wins. A closer result was considered the most likely outcome today.

But there were some challenges. The Bull Sharks lost Shenae Grant (GK) early in the first quarter with a serious ankle injury which put the defense at a height disadvantage, with Jets’ shooter Charlie Bell (GS), at 6” 5’ significantly taller than Grant’s replacement defender Abigail Houston.

The Jets’ double act, Luci Benjamin (GA) and Charlie Bell (GS) worked well in the circle, for the most part effectively sidestepping defensive manoeuvres from Abigail Houston (GK) and Jeante Strydom (GD). 

The half time score of 32-19 to the Jets was an indicator of what was to come.

Statistics at half time were revealing. For centre pass conversions, the Jets were superior, with 79 per cent compared with the Bull Sharks’ 52 per cent. Turnover conversions were even more markedly different with the Jets converting 94 per cent of the ball they stole from the Bull Sharks, while the Bull Sharks only converted 54 per cent of their created opportunities.

In finals netball you can’t afford to waste those chances because they don’t come along often enough.

Often the pressure of finals at the pointy end of the season can bring a team undone (par example, the GWS Giants playing in their first AFL grand final and losing by a record margin of 89 points) and for the young Bull Sharks it could be that this was the case.

Loose balls were  easily intercepted and the young Bull Sharks will take many lessons from last night’s match. The adage that you need to lose some finals matches before you can win some is often true and undoubtedly the Bull Sharks will gain valuable insights from this experience.

The full time score was 73-43.

Quarter by quarter scores: Jets Netball v Bond University Bull Sharks

Q1: Jets 14 – Bull Sharks 9

Q2: Jets 18 – Bull Sharks 10

Q3: Jets 22 – Bull Sharks 9

Q4: Jets 19 – Bull Sharks 15

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