Nakita Jackson and Rhiannon Stokes have returned to Newcastle with 2019 National Netball Championship silver medals, after finishing runners-up at the representative event in Brisbane this week.
Although the Netball NSW campaign finished just shy of a top spot thanks to a 49-20 loss at the hands of a dominant South Australia, a second place finish in a field of the nation’s best is still a rousing result for the state, and the young Novocastrian stars.
Stokes, Jackson, and the entire NSW state team started their campaign at the Queensland State Netball Centre with three straight wins on the opening two days, including a 40-27 romp against Western Australia, a 37-31 win over Northern Territory, before rounding out their opening wins with a narrow 27-25 game that was sealed at the death.
NSW then confirmed their finals berth with an opening draw against Victoria, 34-all, before defeating Tasmania 52-28. The team then suffered their first defeat against host team Queensland in a fiery 44-40 battle ahead of the playoffs.
NSW moved into the finals in third place, sealed off a 37-24 over ACT, and came up against the Victorians again in the first semi final. A ticket to the decider came for the girls in blue as they held a one-goal lead for much of the contest, finally stretching their advantage to three to close out the elimination game 35-32.
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After nine games in Brisbane, the under 19s side had recorded six wins, one draw, and just two defeats in their campaign.
Newcastle’s Dakota Thomas was also involved in the National Championships, representing the Northern Territory in Brisbane.
Thomas and her NT Under 19s outfit finished seventh in the round robin with a 1-6 record, before defeating the ACT 39-29 in the lower bracket semi finals. Thomas’ campaign ended with a 50-19 loss to WA on Tuesday morning.
Stokes (West 1), Jackson (Souths), and Thomas (BNC) now return to the Greater Open Championship, which is currently on a multi-week break due to Easter and the school holidays. The premier competition and all Newcastle Netball leagues return in May.