Netball: Blaze Dolphins reach third straight Netball Super League grand final
Defending champions Blaze Dolphins survived a slow start to march into their third consecutive Netball Super League (NSL) grand final with a convincing 52-39 victory over Mission Mannas at Our Tampines Hub yesterday.
Coach Wang Jing Qing highlighted her team’s defence as an important part of their win.
“Everybody defended well and tried to deny their own opponent, so that put a bit of pressure on the opposing team,” she said.
“We didn’t start well but, as the game progressed, we calmed ourselves down and started playing more steadily.”
The Dolphins had raced to a 4-0 lead, but the Mannas scored the next four goals to make it a tight game. They were tied at 9-9 after the first 15 minutes.
The Dolphins tightened their defence thereafter and pulled away to lead 21-17 at half-time.
They were more clinical in their passing and attacking and never lost the advantage after that to secure their spot in next Saturday’sgrand final.
Shooting percentage of Mannas captain Charmaine Soh.
Former national captain and Dolphins defender Micky Lin said: “We were quite patient and we kept our game plan simple, which worked to our advantage.
“Going in, we knew it was going to be a tough game and true enough, it was.
“Even though the scoreline at the end seems like a comfortable win, the game was intense throughout and at no point did I think we could sit back.”
Mannas captain Charmaine Soh admitted her team could have done better but praised her Under-21 players for stepping up.
“We lost out on our passes and made a lot of basic errors. Both teams were neck and neck in the initial stages but we could’ve treasured our shots and possession near the circle more,” said the attacker who converted just 76 per cent of her shots.
“But our young players really rose to the occasion and they played very well.
“We’re younger so we’re more energetic, but Blaze are more experienced so they played smarter and that’s where we lost out.”
The Mannas can still reach the grand final if they can beat the Sneakers Stingrays in today’s preliminary final.
The Stingrays came from behind to narrowly beat new side Llabten Narwhals 66-63 yesterday.
Stingrays goal shooter Liu Xin Yi, 26, played the entire match despite spraining her left ankle in the first quarter.
She still managed to convert 91 per cent of her attempts.
She said: “It was really nerve-wracking because we were down all the way.
“It’s all thanks to the defenders that we could get some turnovers in the last quarter and we managed to settle down in attack and put in all our shots.
“We can keep up our defence but we have to try to take the lead from the start (in the preliminary final).
“So we have to work on our shooting and attacking.”
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