NSW Women show the way
At the start of 2009, NSW appointed a new Women's Coaching Co-Ordinator, naming former NZ Captain Anthony Thornton to the role. Having coached ACT for the last 3 years, Anthony and his family have made the move 3 hours north to take on the challenge of leading the NSW coaching staff.
And what a year they have had so far. The NSW Arrows enjoyed an undefeated run through the AHL tournament, ultimately defeating the Queensland Scorchers 5-3 in the grand final.
This has been followed this week by the NSW Under 21's (shown at right) enduring a heartbreaking grand final loss to the surprise team of the tournament, Tasmania, going down 1-0.
NSW had been made to work hard in the semi-final on Friday against WA, who lead from the second minute, but a brilliantly taken reverse-stick shot by Emma Coppin in the last 90 seconds allowed NSW to force golden-goal extra time, and to ultimately win through to the final 4-2 on Penalty Strokes. The victory was soured a little with a bad ankle injury to NSW's Kellie White, although the lenghtly break to treat the player allowed NSW to regain some composure and start to press forward and demonstrate good attacking class. WA countered this with excellent defence and stretched NSW's defence with good fast-breaks out of defence. In a high-class match, both teams were unlucky not to win the match in regulation. (More photo's from this match are available here - Note: Registration is required to view these photo's)
Congratulations to the players and coaching staff of the NSW AHL and Under 21 sides for their great performances this season, and lets hope that when it comes time for the Veterans National Championships, that the NSW Men and Women can also be found at the top of the table.