Orange’s Bernadette and Eliza Mills have helped NSW claim the 2018 Marie Little Shield after a come-from-behind win in the grand final over South Australia in Brisbane on Sunday.
The multi-talented twins were first selected for the NSW Marie Little Shield side in 2015, but have also spent plenty of time playing basketball at a state level.
Incredibly, his is the fourth consecutive year NSW has won the Marie Little Shield, and Monday’s win forced them to overcome an early 3-0 deficit to eventually claim a 13-10 win.
Both twins are deadly in the ring, with both able to play both goal attack and goal shooter, while Bernadette is also listed as a centre.
The Marie Little Shield is an annual tournament that provides women with an intellectual disability the chance to compete at a national level, named after disability netball pioneer Marie Little OAM.
Six states and territories competed in the event, and the grand final was a curtain-raiser for the opening match of the Constellation Cup between Australia and New Zealand.
NSW coach Jenny O’Keeffe was thrilled with how her team pulled together to come away with the win.
“I couldn’t be prouder. They went out there and really did their jobs,” she said.
“There was always the potential for us to lose the moment being out on a big court like that in the lead up to the Diamonds and Silver Ferns match, but they held it together and for that I’m really, really proud.”
NSW skipper Melissa Gallagher was thrilled that her side has been victorious once again.
“I’m very proud of the girls and how we worked together. We worked as a team and we helped each other out when we needed,” she said.
“It was a hard game. The girls did really well. I really am proud of them. The team played really well.
“Four years in a row – that’s pretty amazing for a Marie Little Shield team and for New South Wales. For us I think it just boosts our confidence.”
Vice-captain Dallas Austin was also pleased with Sunday’s results and the effort her team put in to secure the win.
“I’m so pumped at the moment. I was hoping it was going to happen but was not betting on it, especially after losing to South Australia yesterday.
“But it was good to just shake it off today and go back and do what we do best.
“The team was great – great teamwork and cooperation. It was definitely a harder competition this year. I could see improvement in everybody.
“Everyone is pushing more and that’s what I like to see in this competition,” she said.
Victoria won the bronze medal in the shield after defeating Queensland in the third-placed playoff on Sunday afternoon.
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