Shining Sapphires to take on best in the state
THE triumphant Goodna Sapphires will join a statewide netball competition after being crowned South East Queensland Cup champions in the inaugural Queensland Premier League season.
After winning 10 matches in a row, the Goodna Netball Association-backed Sapphires had a surprise loss to second-placed Caboolture in the recent semi-final.
However, the dedicated group of players made amends in style, beating Caboolture 55-47 in Friday night's grand final at the State Netball Centre.
"The final score wasn't indicative of the hard-fought match the ladies had played,'' proud association secretary Lauren Lavea said.
"Caboolture came out firing in the first quarter and took the lead 16-10.
"We played smart and utilised all quarters to build our game.
"Our defence in and around the circle was strong, turning over the ball to bring us back to within three (26-29) at half time.''
Laveo praised coach David Eustace for his "great strategy in his movement of players at halftime''.
Eustace put Nicole Theron into the circle to join goal keeper and captain Robyn Walsh, to boost Sapphires' circle defence.
"His direction to our mid court and shooter then drove our final comeback in the second half,'' Lavea said.
"Turning the tables in our favour at the end of the third we were now in the lead 39-36.
"The ladies knew that would not be enough to hold off a young strong Caboolture team and kept fighting for the ball and working the court to get ourselves further ahead to the final hooter.''
Beth Thornton was named player of the match.
Lavea praised Goodna's supporters and strong family connections in the grandstands for encouraging the players at key times.
Next weekend, the Sapphires progress into the Queensland Premier League finals striving to become state champions.
The QPL finals will feature the winners of the Far North Queenland Cup, Central Queensland Cup and South West Queensland Cup compete with the top two teams from the South East Queensland Cup.
The Sapphires are scheduled to play games next Saturday and Sunday with finals in the afternoon.
All games will be held at Carrara Indoor Stadium.