Mel Mansfield said "a bit of everything" contributed to Wasps Netball's Grand Final loss
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 20/05/19 11:11am
Wasps Netball head coach Mel Mansfield said "a bit of everything" contributed to their Grand Final loss at the hands of Manchester Thunder.
The 2017 and 2018 Vitality Netball Superleague champions went into the season finale having won eight matches on the bounce but fell short at the final hurdle.
Outstanding second and fourth-quarter comebacks from Thunder proved to be vital as they turned the crunch match on its head, twice, and ultimately secured their first title since 2014.
"It was a bit of everything. We can't take anything away from Thunder, they were really clinical in that last quarter," said Mansfield at full time.
"Leota [Liana] was a problem for us today. She was difficult to win the ball from.
"I don't think that it was to do with character. We've got some fantastic players in that team and we can't forget about what a fantastic season we've had.
"This is about 60 minutes of netball and we probably had two patches in that game where we weren't at our best and that is enough, at this level, to not get you the win."
In a topsy-turvy match, and a match of the highest order, Wasps started the stronger of the two sides while their opponents looked to be the nervous ones.
It seemed like the pressure of searching for an unprecedented third Superleague title wasn't going to get to Mansfield's team and instead, after two losses to Thunder this season, they were going to gain revenge.
That perspective was further boosted by an exceptional third quarter, an 18-10 quarter which put them 45-39 ahead with 15 minutes of netball to play.
However, Karen Greig's Thunder were fearless in their pursuit of victory and Mansfield gave an honest assessment about what happened.
"Did we have it, though? We had a good first quarter and a good third quarter, an outstanding third quarter," noted Mansfield, who was leading the side as head coach in a Grand Final for the first time.
"I then think, should I have done something differently? But, after an 18-10 quarter you wouldn't expect to make any changes and we just rolled over in the last quarter.
"A couple of things went against us and we reacted to that and we just struggled to win any ball - it was an 18-7 quarter and you can't win a final on that."
With the Grand Final marking the end of the domestic season, Mansfield and Wasps Netball must hold onto the hurt of defeat for a while yet.
However, the two-time Superleague champions will no doubt use the emotion of Saturday's defeat as motivation to make sure that they get back in the Grand Final in 12 months time and perhaps finish that one on a victorious note.
The live netball does not stop here! Watch every match of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup live on Sky Sports. Coverage starts on Friday, July 12 plus keep up to date with all of the latest competition news, results and enjoy in-depth features at SkySports.com/netball