Magpies clinch thrilling final to deny Royals Saints

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
Magpies celebrate their A1 premiership today
Camera IconMagpies celebrate their A1 premiership today

Magpies 1 are the champions of the Albany Netball Association A1 competition again after edging out Royals Saints 1 by two goals in a thrilling grand final today.

The season decider appeared to be heading to overtime again to decide the premiership after double overtime was needed for Royals Saints to edge out the Magpies last season.

However, the Magpies held firm in the dying minutes, surviving a late fightback to win, 52-50 in front of a bumper crowd at the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre.

Led by sharpshooter Brittany Needs, who was awarded the Lucille Holt Memorial Trophy for fairest and best in the decider, Magpies opened up the contest to start the final term and were then never headed.

Needs shot impressively to finish with a game-high 39 goals from 47 attempts but it was her influence on the contest either side of three quarter time which proved decisive.

The shooter netted the final two goals of the third term to tie up the scores and then scored the first three goals of the final stanza to give her side a decisive break.

The margin reached five goals with five minutes remaining but Royals Saints goal attack Nardia Humphries (35 goals from 42 attempts) reduced the margin to a solitary goal before Needs settled the Magpies to seal the match in the final minute.

As expected there was little separating the two sides early on with scores tied at the first change.

Magpies could not push their lead to more than five goals as Royals continued to respond and eventually worked their way in front in the third term but could not sustain it.

The premiership was the Magpies second after claiming their maiden title in 2015, lifting the Diane Martin (Jackson) Trophy which was awarded for the first time today.

More in Thursday’s Albany Advertiser

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