The Netball NSW Blues came agonisingly close to their maiden Australian Netball League finals appearance in 2011, finishing the regular season in fifth place just out of reach of the top four.
Victories over Territory Storm, Canberra Darters, Tassie Spirit and South Australia showed the class of this young outfit, that was led by captain Emily Keenan and vice-captain Kimberly Borger.
However it was the heartbreaking one point loss to grand finalist Victorian Fury and the loss to the QLD Fusion after dominating for most of the game that stung most, but showed that the young NNSW Blues team could match it with the best in the competition.
“If we look back to where some of the players were last year to where they are now, I think we’ve seen some huge gains, particularly in their consistency,” NNSW Blues coach Lisa Beehag said.
“I’ve been really pleased with Gabi Simpson. She is one player who played ANL last year and took a big step forward this season. Her consistency over each of the matches was much better. Abbey McCulloch stepped up for us as a goal defence and was one of our most consistent performers.
“It was also great to see Kim Borger back playing at this level – she would have been up there as one of the most consistent shooters in the competition and our captain Emily Keenan gave everything she had each week and was a really solid leader.”
Overall, Beehag was pleased with the performance of the team, commenting that the future of netball in NSW was promising and that the learning opportunities afforded to these players would bode well for their continued development.
2011 NNSW Blues Schedule:
Rd1: NNSW Blues 58 def Territory Storm 44
Rd3: NNSW Blues 47 def by Queensland Fusion 51
Rd3: NNSW Blues 51 def Tasmania 48
Rd4: NNSW Blues 53 def South Australia 51
Rd4: NNSW Blues 52 def Canberra Darters 36
Rd5: NNSW Blues 49 def by Victorian Fury 50
Rd5: NNSW Blues 39 def by Western Australia 50
Rd7: NNSW Blues 39 def by NNSW Waratahs 57
Netball NSW Blues (For full team roster and player profiles click here)
Player Current Club
Anita Blanco Sutherland Shire
Kimberly Borger (VC) St George
Gemma Ferrington CSNA Sydney Uni
Emily Keenan (C) Eastwood Ryde
Abbey McCulloch Eastwood Ryde
Lauren Mellenbergh Baulkham Hills
Brooke Miller Manly Warringah
Vanessa Mullampy Baulkham Hills
Samantha Poolman Newcastle
Kimberley Ravaillion Eastwood Ryde
Gabi Simpson Baulkham Hills
Amy Sommerville Eastwood Ryde
Head Coach Lisa Beehag
Assistant Coach Moira Gaha
Manager Donna Harrison
Physio Brett Doring