PUMAS STUN SYDNEY TO TAKE THE CROWN
Melbourne Pumas led all the way to upset the favoured Sydney Energy 59-39 in the National Netball League final at the Adelaide Powerhouse on Saturday night. Powering away to a four goal lead in the opening minutes, Melbourne’s determination and strong defence was superior to that of Sydney.
Leading at every change, the Pumas’ glue-like defence, especially goal defence Liz Taverner and goal keeper Janine Lynch, made it difficult for Sydney’s shooters Joanne Morgan and Nicole Cusack to get good shots at goal. Sydney Energy found it hard to keep up with the speed, accuracy and determination of Melbourne, but fought to keep the game close. But in the last quarter, even desperate plays could not stop Melbourne from surging ahead to win by 20 goals.
It was a shock defeat for defending champion Sydney, which went into the finals series undefeated, and there was no victory celebration for coach Carol Sykes after her last game at the premier level. An ecstatic Melbourne coach Norma Plummer said her side had suffered injury setbacks throughout the competition, but had been determined to fight back. “I feel we had such a hard semi last night and we had to catch up,” Plummer said. “We knew the first quarter would be it and the game plan worked, everything worked, it was just our night.”
It was even sweeter for Melbourne, with defenders Liz Taverner and Janine Lynch named players of the final.