By EREBIRI ZURENUOC
SOUTHERN region sides led by the Port Moresby Netball Association claimed junior titles at the 2018 Newcrest Mining National Netball Championships with three teams winning the grand finals yesterday.
In the Under-13 final POMNA edged Motu Koita West 13-10 with shooter Ralema Genaia starring under the hoop.
The story was the same in the U15 final with POMNA snatching a 24-23 win over a gallant Rigo Central side.
In the U17s, hosts Lae pushed Kairuku Hiri hard before getting pipped 30-29 in a thrilling final.
In the last grand final of the day, Port Moresby had enough in the tank to beat a determined Kairuku Hiri 33-23 in their U21 final.
POMNA shooter Louise Maliaki was the difference converting of her chances.
Maliaki worked well in tandem with goal attack Mary Leka as the pair put a sizable gap between them and the opposition by halftime.
Kairuku Hiri defenders Rita Collin and Arua Gaudi put in a gutsy efforts trying to keep the POMNA pair from running away with the game.
Port Moresby centre Tauma Gulovui and wing defender Uve Rawali had good touches and had the better of their opposites throughout the entertaining U21 decider.
In the U17 final, the Kairuku Hiri Netball Association claimed their first piece of silverware at the national championships with a measured effort over hosts Lae.
In a close affair, KHNA edged in front in the final quarter and were able to hold off a fast finishing Lae.
Shooter Alice James and goal attack Maimu Ray posted scores consistently ensured they kept their team in front in the crucial stage.
Centre Hane Nanadai and wing defender Tiki Vele played a fast game supporting the team to come out strong.
Lae’s Jerrayn Kila and Chreshildah Boi fought back in the second half of the match however, Kairuku goal-keeper Varipore Tau and defender Renagi George did their jobs well enough to limit the host’s chances.
Tournament coordinator Helen Havora said the grand finals were played at a fast pace and provided many quality moments and the closeness of the scores showed that all the teams were at or around the same level.
“It was a really good competition in the grand finals as most of the scores were close which means everyone is playing to a good standard.
“All the finalists played well, however POMNA just grabbed their chances.
“The girls have played their guts out, and the umpires were spot on; the competition was a success.”
By EREBIRI ZURENUOC