From opposite sides of the country, but with the same team spirit and tenacity, New South Wales and Western Australia are the respective champions of the 2017 Girls’ and Boys’ Interstate Series.
In thrilling finales to both tournaments in New South Wales this week, the host girls (pictured above) prevailed in a tight finale against arch rival Victoria at Port Kembla, near Wollongong, with the 4-1 final score line not reflective of the tight battle fought for the Burtta Cheney Cup.
Blues team manager Liz White said it was “fantastic effort by the girls” to defend the championship they’d won in Tasmania last year.
“They were very focused. All week they knew this match was the key to victory and they got it done,” White said.
“They are a great bunch of girls; they get on like a house on fire, they are a cohesive unit. They want to win for each other not just themselves."
Similarly, West Australian boys’ captain Fred Lee was effusive in praise of his teammates after they stormed home to pip Queensland and Victoria to secure their first title since 2000 at Riverside Oaks in Sydney’s north-west.
Lee said the team had spoken about its 17-year title drought and that he thought that while there was no “absolutely outstanding” player among this year’s squad, that their bond was paramount.
“We’re a really close bunch of friends and we came in and said let’s just pull together and win and it’s incredible that we managed to do that as such a close group, being determined and working hard,” he said.
WA was down early in most matches against New South Wales in the final round, but used its renowned fighting spirit to claw back to win 3.5-1.5. The WA squad then watched on as Queensland toppled Victoria to ensure a very sweet victory that kept in train the state’s remarkable recent run.
“I think we’ve got a group of players with so much potential in our little isolated corner and we’re all pushing each other along. It’s fantastic,” Lee said.
The boys’ team event was the last of four in the Australian Junior Championships in the past fortnight and is the forerunner to the final major interstate event of the 2016/17 championship calendar.
The men’s and women’s Interstate Series will be played in Perth at Melville Glades and Royal Fremantle, respectively, in early May.