Metro League: Glimmer of hope remains for Hunter United as they chase miracle run into top four and finals

FINAL HOPE: Hunter United must hope for a minor miracle in the final two Metro League rounds if they are to qualify for the competition's elimination rounds. Picture: Ngaio Stobbs
FINAL HOPE: Hunter United must hope for a minor miracle in the final two Metro League rounds if they are to qualify for the competition's elimination rounds. Picture: Ngaio Stobbs

It might not be completely in Hunter United’s control, but there’s still a glimmer of hope for finals aspirations after the club scored a 61-49 win over Baulkham Hills to move into sixth place in the Metro League.

It was an offensive masterclass from Abbie Gray and Katelyn Stansfield in the shooting circle that guided the team on their path to the potential miracle run into playoffs, coach Traci Baber revealed, as she praised the duo for their accuracy in the game.

“The shooting combination – Gray and Stansfield – were outstanding, they probably missed a goal each all night and their actual play as well as their shooting was just amazing,” Baber said. “They’re two quality players and their shooting stats every week are above 80 per cent, but last night they just clicked really well.”

Katelyn Stansfield. Picture: Ngaio Stobbs.

Katelyn Stansfield. Picture: Ngaio Stobbs.

After leading by just a single goal at the end of both the first and second quarters, United’s defensive output lifted in the third and the team streaked to an eight goal lead, before closing out with the eventual twelve goal advantage in the final scoreline.

“The whole attacking end of the court really fired on Thursday, our third quarter was our championship quarter, after being only one up at half time,” she said.

“I’m really happy with how they all played, it was a great team effort, and definitely outstanding shooting from our shooters throughout all four quarters.”

With just two rounds remaining in the 2018 season, Baber’s squad must win their final two games if they want to level the necessary 16 points to make the cut, but standing in their path are Ku-ring-gai (now ninth) and a massive clash with second placed Randwick.

While United collect the maximum points on offer, they also have to rely on Northern Suburbs falling to first place Hills District and seventh placed Eastwood Ryde.

“I’ve done all the calculations, we just have to win both games and see what happens – we have to hope Northern Suburbs lose is what it comes down to,” Baber said.

Aneeka Marcozzi.

Aneeka Marcozzi.

Regardless of if the Emeralds make their way into the elimination rounds or not however, Baber says the team and backroom staff for the club are just aiming to finish “on the best note possibile” after a stop-start campaign.

“We’re not speaking about semis, we’re just talking about finishing on the best note,” she said. 

“Our focus is train hard, go there on Thursday night and play our best. If we finish on 16 points then we’ll be happy, and obviously that doesn’t exactly mean finals but if we can do that we’ll be pleased with it all considering there’s been injuries, absences, new faces and so much change.”

In the third division, the Diamonds also netted themselves a narrow 49-48 win over Parramatta Auburn, although for United’s second team a finals berth has slipped out of reach.

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