West Leagues Balance beat Souths Lions in 2019 Newcastle open championships netball grand final

West Leagues Balance sealed a third straight championship-minor premiership double with a comprehensive 45-27 win over Souths in the Newcastle open netball grand final on Saturday.

It was the toughest road to the minor title for West, who have been a force to be reckoned with since joining the competition in 2017. They only took first spot, on goal difference, in the final round of the season proper.

But they never looked in doubt as they set up the 18-goal victory on Saturday with a strong first quarter.

West led 14-6 at the first change, 26-14 at half-time and 35-19 heading into the final quarter.

The championship decider was played in strong winds and West moved the ball quicker to the post where they shot at a much higher percentage than their counterparts.

It was the third time the two sides had battled in the grand final.

West coach Tracey Baggs praised her "very talented" side led by inspirational captain and centre Sophie Buckley, who is based in Gunnedah and has been travelling to play.

"Our aim was to start strong, especially with the wind, and I thought we played quite smart as far as how we controlled it early," Baggs said. "You've got to build from there and we did. The ability to get everyone on court was really good."

When asked what was next, Baggs' quick reply was: "Four".

The Lions sustained key losses to injury on the way to their sixth straight grand final appearance and coach Trude Yen was philosophical post-match on Saturday.

"No one expected us to get to this grand final this year," Yen said.

"I'm just so very happy that we were here and the girls got to experience this amazing game against some of the best players in the state.

"They're a class act and they brought their A game today.

"I think some of the younger ones on our team were a little overawed by it all and that's OK. It's all experience and for them it's one of those things they'll remember - their first grand final."

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