City rise in grand final
CITY Waratahs overcame a spirited Roches to claim the A-grade netball grand final with a 31-18 win on Saturday.
Heidi Dalten starred for City, proving lethal in attack as the Marie Avery Award winner led from the front.
Roches were in trouble before the game began with injury and unavailability of players leaving them with only six players - one short of an on-court team.
Waratahs had a full compliment and the availability of reserves proved a major difference as the game progressed.
Roches started well with Sam Austin impressive while Chantelle Reay starred in defence, rebounding and creating numerous opportunities for her team.
However, Dalten and teammate Nicola Darke had their own ideas, shooting City to a 6-4 lead at the first break.
Roches lifted in the second stanza with Laura Warby creating space in the shooters' circle.
Austin's goal percentages kept Roches in the game while Katie Brown exploited the open court to level the scores at 11-all at half-time.
City defender Tahlia Goodwin said they get off to a slow start, but words from some onlookers lifted their game.
"One of the coaches from another team said that they thought it was the worst we'd played all year," Goodwin said.
"We decided we weren't going to let people think that about us in the second half."
Roches slowed considerably in the third quarter as City began to assume control.
Ashlie Hughes and Candice Chevally controlled the centre court, allowing Dalten and Darke to slot home 13 goals for the term.
City's defensive pairing of Goodwin and Tamara McSkimming also lifted, restricting Roches to just three goals.
The numbers game caught up with Roches, as the Waratahs' full rotation of players proved too much.
Goodwin and McSkimming's work at the back made it difficult for the Roches attack to get through, as they netted only four goals in the final quarter.
City sank seven in the final quarter to finish impressive winners.
Goodwin was happy to have made it back to Grafton for the grand final, arriving late after training in Sydney on Friday night.
"I got there just as the first quarter ended and was really keen to get out there," Goodwin said.
"We all stepped up in the second half and got the result."
Goodwin heaped praise on her teammates, saying she felt privileged to play alongside them throughout the year.
"There's so much talent in the team and it's been an absolute pleasure to play with them," she said.
"They're a great bunch of girls."