Monash University Storm pulled off one of the upsets of the season, inflicting the first loss of the year on the ladder leading City West Falcons, 48-44.
Monash relied on a blistering opening term to hold the fast-finishing Falcons at bay, with Storm defender Clare Pettyfor’s assurance and rebounding ability from the defence against the perfect finishing of Falcons goaler Kath Knott (32 from 32) able to see Monash home.
A punishing second half display of netball saw Peninsula Waves win big 60-31 over the ACU Sovereigns.
A 32-goal second half could’ve been even greater if not for the Waves’ wastefulness – landing just 68 per cent of their 89 attempts at goal – but their regularity of possession left no one in doubt of who took home the premiership points.
Melbourne University Lightning and the Wilson Storage Southern Saints played out one of the games of the round, with an epic final play ensuring the points were shared between both sides at 41-apiece.
With the Saints holding possession and looking for the game-sealing buffer, Lightning goal defence Madeline Stewart pulled off a high-risk intercept to send the ball down the other end for goaler Mikaela Vaughan to tie the match with a second left on the clock.
A clinical final quarter saw the Boroondara Express step within a game of first spot on the ladder, defeating Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels 61-51.
The high-scoring match ebbed and flowed with the Ariels tying up the scores on the other side of half time having trailed by seven. Delicately poised with a four-goal deficit, it was the second-placed Express who flexed their muscle with 18-goal-to-12 final term sealing the win.
DC North East Blaze confirmed themselves as top four contenders with a crushing 59-34 win over the Geelong Cougars.
After a tight first quarter, the Blaze were able to break the game open after quarter time, leaning on the impressive performance of goaler Simone Nalder (31 from 38) to cruise to victory.
The City West Falcons were at their bullying best, dismantling an weakened Monash Storm side 63-29.
While Storm were reduced to seven fit girls and suffered two injuries during play, the Falcons were ruthless with defender Victoria Honner and goaler Jane Cook (41 from 43) the main destroyers.
The Waves turned in a supreme defensive performance to help themselves to a cruisy 42-29 win over the Sovereigns.
Seemingly comfortably leading by nine at the major break, the Waves put the breaks on the Sovereigns ability to score, leaking just 12-second half goals, while Peninsula wing attack Sara Duncan was crucial in setting up her team on the attacking end.
The Saints continued a seven-game winning streak with a dominant display to beat the Lightning 55-25.
Saints wing defence Adele Rullo was instrumental through the mid court, as her side suffocated the Lightning with a 17-3 final term to record a massive win.
The Express righted a few wrongs in snapping a two-game losing streak to be back on the winners list, defeating the Ariels 48-25.
While the Ariels struggled to get any flow through their offense and ball movement, the Express were at their efficient best with goaler Ella Bertacchini’s 27 goals from 30 leading the way.
The Blaze held off the Cougars in a highly entertaining, high-scoring encounter, winning 51-47.
It was a shootout between both sides’ goalers in Melissa Martinov (Blaze, 30 from 33) and Ruby Horton (Cougars, 38 from 42), but with the support of Martinov’s Blaze colleague Julia Allen (21 from 25), the Blaze were able to see off the final challenge for the win.
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The Storm pulled off a nail-biting to win to upset the ladder-leading City West Falcons, 39-38.
The Storm led by as much as nine goals early in the third term before the Falcons rallied hard to level the scores with four minutes remaining. A tense final few moments saw Stephanie Gibbs (23 from 31) keep a cool head and sink the game winning goal with five seconds remaining to secure the four points.
The Sovereigns stayed inside the top four with a gritty 54-45 win over the Waves.
Despite Peninsula’s accuracy under the net, their opportunities were few are far between too often through the match, Sovereigns wing attack Ashley Ryan proved the catalyst for her side’s important win.
The Saints survived an almighty scare from the Lightning, holding on for a gripping 40-39 win.
Much like their Championship counterparts, the Lightning had the chance to tie the game up, but missed the last-second shot, as Saints goalers Taylor Stafford (26 from 31) led her side to a much-needed win.
The Ariels held off a determined Express outfit to keep their top four chances alive, winning 41-38.
Pulling away early in the second quarter, it looked as if the match would run to script for the Ariels over the bottom-placed Express. Yet it took Ariels’ goaler Danielle Phillips’ 29 goals from 37 attempts to hold on for a tight win.
The Cougars kept the Blaze at arm’s length to hold to win their second straight match, winning 37-28.
Amid errors from both sides through the midcourt, Geelong goaler Hannah van Gemst’s 28 goals from 32 signified the efficient offensive execution when the Cougars got it in the scoring circle and push for another important win.