The KNTNA had a very successful year at the 2019 Country Championships last weekend.
A grade coach (and KNTNA championship coordinator) Karen Justin of Lucindale said all KNT teams progressed through to finish in Division 1 and into finals.
Anyone who knows the championship event knows that this is a feat in itself. All coaches, players and officials were pleased with the team and individual efforts, and also the support of parents who supported the league.
The senior team started well, finishing second in their pool to gain a sought-after spot in the A grade competition. Day two saw some tough matches with the team only securing the one win, and some narrow losses - enough to secure a place in the semi-final against top team Western Border, unfortunately being defeated by 7 goals. The As finished in 3rd place overall (from an original pool of 9).
The juniors were extremely competitive. The 13&U team, coached by Sarah Makin (Keith), and managed by Trish McAuley (Keith), comprised Tess Porter, Heidi Berkin (Penola), Andrea Fuentes (Bordertown), Taya Brunt, Haylee Broadbent (Naracoorte), Lizzie Bird (Borders), Meg McAuley, Sophie Makin, Mia Harper, Macy Llewellyn (Keith). The girls only lost two games, both to Riverland (who they played in the grand final, going down by 3).
Saturday was very successful winning all four games beating Whyalla 24-19, Eastern Eyre 30-17, North Eastern 29-19 and River Murray 29-12. On Sunday the girls lost to Riverland 24-31 but then won all the remaining games for the day against Great Southern 19-12, Mid Hills 16-14 and Western Border 26-11.
On Monday they beat MSE 25-13 which put them into the semi-final against Port Augusta, winning 32-23. They played Riverland again in the grand final, which was a tough, physical game with the girls being down by 10 at half time, but to their credit they played it out. This team's result was one of the strongest finishes the KNTNA has had in many years.
The 15&U team comprised Lucy Henschke (captain, Naracoorte) and Mel Makin (VC, Keith), Olivia Mould, Rosie Pfitzner (Border Districts), Poppy Moyle-Read (Padthaway), Zara Lewis (Kingston), Grace Collins, Mikayla Walker (Naracoorte), and Erin and Brooke Ewer (Kyby). Saturday's competition for the 15s saw the team win three games, only losing one (won 23-15 vs Pt Augusta; lost 18-23 vs Barossa Light & Gawler; won 35-13 vs Southern Hills; won 24-17 vs Mallee), and these results put this team in Division 1 for the Sunday.
On the Sunday they won two and lost two games, including a very tough, come-from-behind win vs Mid SE (28-23). Other results were, won 34-25 vs Hills; lost 18-33 vs Western Border; and lost 19-33 vs Port Lincoln. The team finished 3rd in their pool, and on the Monday, won their first game, but lost the semi-final against overall winner Western Border (24-37).
Coming third in the state was a pleasing result for coach Kath Mott (Naracoorte), and team manager Caz Pfitzner (Border Districts).
The 17&U team was coached by Virginia Ross, and managed by Alecia Hines (Keith). The team line-up was Eliza Staude (Mundulla), Hayley Weatherald and Whitney Rowett (Bordertown), Charlotte Baker (Kyby), Ella Jones, Jess and Grace Bittner (Lucindale), Sophie Bates, Chloe Burke, Tahlia Kavanagh and Bree Harris (Naracoorte).
On the first day the team had three wins, one draw and one loss (the loss only being by a goal!). This allowed them to finish in Division 1 too). In a very high standard pool, the girls finished Sunday second, having to play Port Augusta Monday morning in the quarter final. They lost by 6 goals and Port Augusta proceeded to finish runners-up overall with Western Border taking top honours.
Well done to all who represented the league. From all accounts, some great-watching, tough and hard-fought games were played by the KNT teams, and they made everyone proud.