Wellington Girls’ to meet Mt Albert

WELLINGTON GIRLS’ COLLEGE have earned a crack at the champs.

The WGC senior netball side will meet Mt Albert Grammar in the semifinal of the national college knockout competition, in Palmerston North on Sunday.

Wellington Girls’ reached the semifinals with a decisive 31-21 victory over Wellington East on Monday night.

Mt Albert Grammar has become the benchmark in college netball. The Auckland school has won the national secondary schools championships for three successive years and been a finalist in each of the past seven years.

Their 2015 squad includes four members of the New Zealand secondary schools side and they have stars at both ends of the court. Defender Holly Fowler is in her fourth year in the national schools side and shooter Maia Wilson was selected for the third time last month.

MAGS have also won the knockout competition for three successive years and reached the 2015 semifinals with a 35-26 win over St Kentigern.

Wellington Girls’ coach Emma Weenink is looking forward to the challenge. “We went into last night’s game [against East] with a bit of a nothing to lose attitude and if we take that approach again, and put our best foot forward, I think we can have a good crack at them.

 “But I haven’t seen them [Mt Albert] play and we have a bit of homework to do.”

Wellington Girls’ also have a testing week. They play Palmerston North Girls’ away today, as part of an annual exchange, meet Wellington East again on Saturday, in a premier grade club match, before returning to Palmerston North on Sunday, to take on MAGS.

East led 5-2 in the first quarter on Monday night, in what is an abbreviated format, with eight-minute quarters, but Wellington Girls’ were down by just one at the end of the quarter and weren’t headed again.

Wellington Girls’ dominated the second and third quarters, scoring 19 goals while East managed just seven.

The Wellington Girls’ shooters rarely missed an opportunity, sinking 31 from 35 attempts, with Tegan Graham missing just once from 16 attempts and Aliyah de la Mare shooting 13 from 14.

“We have three good shooters, who all play differently but know how to work together and that gives us a good tool box,” Weenink said. “We knew we would have to play as a team and we did that.”

Wing defence Hine Apanui-Barr was named player of the match by the Sky TV commentators. “Hine really stood up and that was one of the best games I’ve seen her play,” Weenink said.

East coach James Laursen had no excuses but was ruing a high error rate by his team.

“Wellington Girls’ played really well and had more flow with the ball. The ball met the hands every time and they put it in the hoop,” Laursen said. “It’s not rocket science.

“We lost the ball 26 times and that’s an error rate that needs to come down. But I thought Mila [Reuelu-Buchanan] played really well and Amy O’Neill was really consistent and steady.”