Contax defeat Matrics in nail-biting grand final
by Georgia Musolino
Contax fiercely thwarted Matrics 59-50 to triumphantly reign premiers and conquer the 2017 Nine News Netball Cup.
This noteworthy grand final match was nothing short of extraordinary, as the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and anticipation from both players and supporters.
Matrics play was phenomenal this quarter, entering the game with their esteemed beautiful flow and slick attack, effortlessly transitioning the ball into goals.
Their attack in the goal third often exceeded Contax’s defence. They mainly utilised quick low passes and bounces between wing players and goal shooter Jeffs, who nimbly led within the ring before shooting calculated swish goals.
Defenders were equally powerful, forcing Contax to initially struggle to transition the ball into the goal ring and ultimately lose the ball. Goal defence Easther especially remained ruthless upon Contax shooters, leaping to snatch lobs into Glasgow before transitioning the ball across the court and allowing for Matrics to showcase lightning quick capitalisation which couldn’t be thwarted.
However, Contax combated against this marvellous play with their equally powerful defensive zones from all girls.
Goal keeper Schmidt particularly gave Matrics shooters a run for their money, soaring to pick up numerous intercepts, from which Contax also displayed awesome capitalisation.
Rewarding these efforts was Glasgow and Hodges, who both persisted with perfect goals the entire quarter.
This fortunately allowed Contax to stay within reach of Matrics, finishing the first quarter 12-18.
Determined to steal back the game, Contax strengthened their defence by transitioning Blackman into goal defence and Greenwell into goal keeper.
These girls proved to be a phenomenal pair with ruthless defensive skills that Matrics struggled to overcome. Blackman particularly stayed tight on Packard at Matrics centre passes, which saw Matrics losing the ball several times and Contax instantly gaining possession. In the goal ring, Greenwell forcefully hit many intercepts from Jeffs to quickly hinder Matrics’ play.
However, Contax’s entire defensive zone intensified their pressure, forcing Matrics to lose possession through rushed passes and held balls.
This play saw Contax scoring three consecutive goals before continuing to slowly maximise their lead between the back-and-forth play.
Matrics still upheld their swift movement and strongly pushed through Contax’s defence, with Jeffs and Packard working cohesively to reward the team with near-flawless shooting.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck Contax towards the end of the quarter when Glasgow and Lemke incurred back-to-back injuries. This saw Winch move into goal shooter and Abernethy into wing attack.
Contax still powered on with their spirited comeback, finishing the quarter strong by six goals and bringing the score to an equal 28-28.
Contax continued their impeccable play into the third quarter, with the fresh players being extremely skilful and maximising Contax’s efforts.
Like lightning, Winch bolted across the goal third, often leading outside the ring and efficiently working with wing players. From here she would direct the ball to Hodges, who also moved and dodged relentlessly across the ring to provide stellar leads and shoot awesome goals.
This smooth play initially saw them soaring above Matrics and gaining a six-goal lead.
However, Matrics’ transition of Packard into goal shooter, Bell into goal attack and Nankivell into wing attack at the start of the quarter proved effective in bringing a dynamic which allowed Matrics to come back.
Bell especially shone in the ring, swiftly dodging across the court and powerfully leading to capture strong lobs directly under the ring, before shooting quick, effortless goals.
Matrics’ overall attack also continued to excel, mainly utilising far, forceful passes to strongly transition the ball.
This contrasted to Contax’s patient play, consisting of short, direct passes and strategically passing behind to players on the centre third boundary line rather than forcing the ball forward.
Fortunately for Matrics, their determined, fighting nature saw them make a quick comeback to close the gap to 40-42, lying a mere two goals away from victory.
The last 15 minutes of the season was either team’s for the taking, with the score nailbitingly close.
In a last-minute effort to enhance their defence and take the win, Matrics transferred Schwartz into wing defence and Croft into goal keeper.
This effectively hindered Contax in quickly transitioning the ball into the goal ring, as all three defenders remained extremely tight upon their players.
Hence, Contax were forced to constantly use their wing players, both of which worked extremely hard to keep themselves available.
Nevertheless, they successfully directed the ball into the goals every time, and both Hodges and Winch finished with nearly perfect goals.
With the excitement of winning and the energy of the crowd fuelling the girls, Contax had incredible momentum which couldn’t be broken.
This pure domination and quality netball saw Matrics slowly crumble under the pressure, with Contax rapidly capitalising and rewarding every turnover.
As the final whistle blew, the entire stadium went crazy, with people cheering and the girls running to each other in pure exhilaration.
It was an unforgettable grand final, and Contax are congratulated for their brilliant win of 59-50 and well-deserved redemption from last year. Well done girls!