Newcastle Netball has well and truly established itself as a representative powerhouse in the state, after the squad finished undefeated to claimed the top gong at the Netball NSW Regional State Cup at Sydney Olympic Park.
The back-to-back State Cup glory comes just months after Newcastle stormed to an 18-0 victory in Campbelltown to secure the Netball NSW State Titles championship, crowning a golden calendar year for the association’s representative squad.
In Georgia McVey’s eyes, the close-knit nature of the girls in green and white was the main reason they were able to chalk up an undefeated run among a tournament featuring NSW Regional League winners and runner’s up.
The squad also faced a hefty helping of turmoil heading into their title defence.
Katelyn Stansfield and Sabina Gomboso were ruled out for their Premier League participation earlier in the year, while veteran leaders Narelle Eather, Tiffany Lincoln, and Karlie Robards were also out through injury and absence.
To make matters worse, Ellie McVey suffered an ankle injury early in the tournament’s first day, and defensive star Keeley Mullins was battling through a grievance from earlier in the week (tooth) for much of the Sydney competition.
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In their place, 17s stars Zoe Peden, Mackenzie Stuart, and Janas Burgess stepped into the frame. According to McVey, the young trio “shone” as they filled gaps in the mid-court and attack-end, fitting seamlessly with the Newcastle team.
“They really stepped up when it mattered,” McVey told the Chronicle, and explained that Abbie Gray’s command in the attacking circle also spearheaded Newcastle’s offense against the other regional champs. “She really helped them step up.”
Newcastle soared to an undefeated run in the round-robin, before smashing Ballina 34-14 in the semifinals, and crowning their indomitable campaign against the state’s other regional victors by sweeping aside Orange 26-16 in the final.
“I feel like we have been a really tight bunch of girls, we’ve worked hard all season, and we’re lucky enough to have great coaches,” McVey said when asked what she thought Newcastle’s ‘secret ingredient’ to their success might be.
“We all know each other so well, and lots of us have played together throughout the years with the Greater Open, and so we build off that core group of girls. We’ve got used to each other, and that means we play nearly seamlessly together.
“Even better, the young girls we brought up clicked instantly with us, so we could stick to the same style of netball to get the State Cup win. The whole team stepped up. The team was so strong, and with another year together, we had everything down pat.”
And now, Newcastle’s eyes turn towards rolling their golden 2019 into a shining 2020. The State Titles will again arrive on the horizon, and McVey has full confidence in her side potentially gunning for a back-to-back championship win.
“We’re looking for the three-peat now, we’ve started training our squad for next year,” she said of the association’s representative campaign for next year.
“First, we’ll look to go to State Champs and go back-to-back, that hasn’t been done for a long, long time, and then the three-peat for the Cup would be amazing as well.”
2019 Regional State Cup Final placings
- Newcastle Netball Association
- Orange Netball Association
- Hastings Valley Netball Association
- Ballina Netball Association
- Queanbeyan Netball Association
- Wagga Wagga Netball Association
- Lismore & District Netball Association
- Quirindi Netball Association
- Great Lakes Netball Association
- Goulburn & District Netball Association