VNL season gets underway

The first round of the Victorian Netball League has wrapped-up, with the DC North East Blaze sitting on top of both the Championship and 19/U ladders, whilst the City West Falcons lead the way in Division 1.

The Blaze recorded wins in all three of their matches against the ACU Sovereigns across the divisions, recording a 60-34 win in Championship and a 72-44 win in 19/U –– securing top spot on the ladder in both. While the Division 1 team were one-goal winners in a thrilling match.

Leading into the round, all eyes were on last year’s Championship grand final rematch between Melbourne University Lightning and City West Falcons. Last year’s premiers proved too strong again and finished nine goal victors in their first match.

The Geelong Cougars Championship team also got their season off to a triumphant start with a win over the Monash University Storm in the Championship division.

A strong second quarter for the Cougars saw them run away to a 10-goal lead, a lead they maintained for the rest of the match, winning 56-41.

Geelong’s, Kate Thompson, was instrumental in the team’s win, shooting 36 of her team’s goals at 90% accuracy.

The 2017 Victorian Fury Most Valuable Player said it was good to be out on court with the team, after being away with the Fury for the last six months.

“Myself and one of the other girls, Tayla Honey, have had other netball commitments, so to be able to be out on court with the Geelong girls again felt really good and I’m stoked we got that win,” Thompson said.

“It was a massive six months [with the Fury]. Lots of travelling and our weekends were consumed with the games, but it was so good to get to play at that elite level.”

Thompson said that it took some time to get the connections to fire, but was impressed with how her team performed throughout the match.

“I think we grew into that game quite quickly,” Thompson said.

“Getting those connections took maybe five or ten minutes but after that it just got better and better, and we were able to get everyone on court and we really consolidated by the end of the game.”

The game of the round for Division 1 was between ACU and the Blaze, with just one-goal separating the two teams at the half-time and three-quarter-time breaks.

ACU lead the first half, in front by three goals at the first break, but then their lead was reduced to just one goal by the Blaze at the halfway point of the match.

The Blaze were the fastest out of the main break, turning a one-goal deficit to a one-goal lead before the final quarter, a margin they were able to maintain for the remainder of the match.

The 19/U opening round saw an upset, with last year’s premiers, Geelong, going down to the Monash University Storm by four goals.

The match was close early, with just one-goal separating the two teams at the main break, however a 14-9 goal third-quarter set the Storm up for the match.