In the final countdown of the VMMNA MLeague, teams played their last home and away round to decide who would have a chance at finals in the coming weeks.
With everyone packed in at the State Netball and Hockey Centre, close matches closed out the season with suspense, and finals favourites had their efforts rewarded with spots secured in the Semi Finals.
There was madness on the courts and moustaches in the stands as Movember Australia was celebrated with MLeague dedicating the final round to the worthwhile cause.
Who made the cut for finals? You’ll have to scroll down to find out!
With the highest final score of Round 14, St Therese concluded this week by making a mighty statement. Their victorious score of 80 goals saw them steal second place on the ladder, knocking down Sirens, and end the season with three consecutive wins.
It was evident in the first five minutes of the match that St Therese were in control. They mimicked motions of the flash and passed the ball the a hot potato, in the best way possible. St Therese’s first quarter 14 goal lead inflated each quarter, Josh Clavarino and Corey Nexhip shooting the majority of their teams goals. A final quarter finish shooting 25 goals to Ariel’s five goals solidified St Therese as one of the fiercest competitors to look out for in Semi Finals.
Riley Richardson and Guy Keane swung the ball on the circle edge to confuse Ariel’s defence, making it easier to feed into the goals. Tristan Comans and Corey Nexhip had powerful connections in the midcourt, rewarding turnovers by their teams defenders.
St Therese played an impressive match with highlights from each and every third. Sirens will need to watch out when they face them for a place in the Grand Final.
Blackhawks determination to hang onto the fourth place position for finals got them through their match last night. Willpower shone out of all aspects for them to come back from a deficit and take the lead in the final half.
DDNA began with passes filled with power. A thrilling match for spectators, DDNA held the lead for the first three quarters of the match and entered the final quarter up by three goals. Blackhawks powered through and played a comeback fourth quarter to shoot 18 goals to DDNA’s seven goals, taking back control to win by eight goals.
In DDNA’s goal end, a battle brew between DDNA Christian White and Blackhawks defender Cam Martin. Their intensity matched one another, and both had the ball, nothing else, in sight. Anthony Maniapoto controlled most of Blackhawks’ plays down the court and was a key player to pass to. His movements paired well with Joel Gosbell who was always on circle edge ready to feed.
Ultimately, the match came down to the efforts of Simon Cartwright and Jamie Maher who stepped up their play in Blackhawks’ defence which caught DDNA off guard and kept their team in with a fighting chance.
Blackhawks will have a challenge when the play against the formidable Geelong Cougars next week in Semi Finals.
By far the most formidable force of the 2019 home and away season, Cougars ended their season as strong as they started to secure a respected eight goal win over Sirens Netball.
Geelong looked to have control of the game in the firsrt quarter but Sirens remained in the fight, providing defensive pressure down the court sit only three goals behind at half time. Cougars maintained their lead in the third quarter, Jed Christian and Jake Noonan instrumental players to the communication of their team and drive down the court.
Josh Burns and Alastair Punshon increased Cougar’s defensive work in the final quarter to extend their lead. Not only do Geelong take out first place on the ladder, they do so having won 12 matches from 14 rounds. Time to see if they can keep it up in finals!
Sirens will also take their shot towards gold, matching up against St Therese in the Semi’s.
The finals fate of these two sides rested on the result of this match. If Pasifika won they were through. If Sehawks finished on top their chance depended on Blackhawks.
Pasifika Sharks needed something to push them through, not experiencing a win since round 10. They came into this match up against Seahawks, who possessed fire in the belly after a one goal win back in round seven. The Seahawks on the other hand, had won their past three matches, including a massive two goal victory over Geelong Cougars.
Taking an unexpected six goal lead at the end of the first break, Seahawks continued their consistent efforts over a full four quarters to walk away with a well-deserved seven goal win.
Taurin Eimermacher and Jackson Turner were vital for Seahawks in attack, providing dynamic movement onto the ring, allowing safe and accurate feeds. Sam Mackerras and Brydon Allen were pivotal towards Seahawk’s success as they held up Sharks’ attacking end to turn the ball over and take opportunities for conversion. Pasifika kept up with Seahawks in the midcourt to transition the ball with pace when turnovers were achieved. However, with a number of key players out and a worrying collision in the final quarter, Sharks ended their season lower on the ladder than they would have hoped.
With strong attacking and defensive players at each end of the court, Sehawks remained in control from the first quarter and sure to be happy with their end to the season, even without a spot in the finals.
NNE Vipers, despite having a rocky start, ended their 2019 season on a high. For DDNA however, a final round loss denied DDNA to sneak into the top four for finals.
It was a second quarter boost from the Vipers that saw them run away with their fifth victory for the season, shooting 17 goals to nine to jump ahead after a slow first quarter. Vipers’ Bridget Ryan and Michael Dower kept in true form with drives on the baseline to receive feeds into goals. They held the fort in the first half, however DDNA soon began to pick up their tactic and managed to put it to an end.
A dominant third quarter from DDNA’s Josh Smith and Ellen Hurley turned the tides once more, with the pair leading from the front to put DDNA ahead by just one goal heading into the final quarter. A change-up in attack for the Vipers in the last quarter seemed to spark the side into action once more, with Jessica Lallo reliable in the goal attack. DDNA may have been able to transfer the ball between thirds with ease, but Vipers were able to convert goals which made all the difference to the final score.
One goal the difference heading into final quarter, Vipers win came down to the very last minute where they held on to the very end.
With Sonics a forfeit to their name and DDNA losing to Vipers, Valley Wolves were through to finals no matter the outcome of the match. Either way they came out on top after three weeks of disappointing losses.
Wolves led the entire way and, despite their efforts far more relaxed than previous matches, they held their ground and maneuvered the ball with distinction down the court. The talk between Wolves in the mid court and their steadiness to maintain their own pace matched outplayed Blackhawks ability to put pressure on passes and stick tight on players. Blackhawks couldn’t utilise their space as well as usual and some basic errors in their play saw them fall short.
In a shake up of bibs, usual defender Simon Cartwright changed ends to shoot in the final quarter. To the pleasant surprise of many, he shot with accuracy to secure eleven goals from twelve attempts (missing his last shot right on the buzzer).
With determination and drive, Wolves’ attacking precision and midcourt defensive pressure helped them extend their lead over each quarter.
Charging their way into finals, Cougars secured a second place finals spot with a convincing win that highlighted their team strengths.
St Therese stepped up their play in the first quarter, keeping within three goals of the premiership contenders. A soaring second quarter saw Geelong take back the reins and stride through to finals. Geelong dominated the contest from the second quarter, making use of all opportunities by speeding the ball down the court into their goalers and sticking tight on St Therese to pounce for show-stopping intercepts.
With smoother transitions and precision feeding, Cougars maintained a steady match pace and look ready to roar in Semi’s against Pasifika.
Men’s Division One
Leading the way most of the season, Titans fell short this week as DDNA Red showed them what they are capable of in finals.
It was a tightly contested first quarter with Titans just in front. DDNA brought all their fury and fight in the remaining quarter though so force Titans into a frazzled state.
Control of the match fluctuated constantly and you couldn’t tell whose match it would be. Andrew Baker and Matt Le Gassick passed well to each other and held with enough space to drop back for passes. This gave their midcourt Titans midcourt plenty of opportunity to feed in. Down DDNA’s goal end, Ethan Spiteri shined on court to reward the hard work of his team with goals, especially in the second half with 20 goals to his name. The final quarter saw only five points separate these two forces, DDNA pipping Titans this time.
The two sides look to come out strong in Semi Finals and we wouldn’t be mad if a match like this was played as the Grand Final.
The biggest match of the round saw fourth and fifth play off for an elusive spot in finals, both sides raring to go. Combat had the upper position but in a twist of fate Bucks swooped in at the perfect time, landing a spot in finals.
Combat came out with pace but a stand out second half for Bucks gave them the opportunity to capitalise on turnovers and take the lead, a result pf Chris Baldwin and Shaun Hoult’s defensive pressure. A final quarter quarrel, neither side slowed down, both actually picked up their pace. Bucks managed to hold their lead in the end though, despite a strong Combat midcourt in the final quarter.
Bucks will be back next week!
DDNA Teal remain a likely premiership possibility finishing second on the ladder with three final consecutive wins.
It was a game of momentum this week for DDNA. Teal had their fair share of opportunities and power plays and were looking more dangerous in their transition which left Storm chasing them on court.
Teal’s security of positions in the midcourt highlighted some impressive combinations and versatility in their players.
Mixed Division One
Georgia Hellyer for St Therese was determined to win the ball, linking well with attacker Larni Howard down the court. The cohesion and consistency from St Therese proved why they were the better team on the night, executing their ball delivery with patience. Liam Olver arched his shots well to deliver goals on most occasions while Mason Dale leaped for rebounds and reaches showing dedicated to the intercept.
LTU had brilliant plays on the night but struggled to finish off shots and secure needed goals.
This match sees the end for Eagles and St Therese in 2019.
A lot was riding on this match for DDNA as they sat fifth needing the win for fourth. Unfortunately, coming up against Phoenix didn’t allow them to achieve their desired result.
For Fitzroy however, this win made number 14 for them, marking 2019 a historic year for them going down undefeated in the home and away rounds.
It was a match of the Ariels teams last night that left Mixed (and more experienced side) showing the Juniors why they are boss.
Mixed took a commanding lead that was sustained with the help of their defensive pressure over the ball to force turnovers, resulting in extra goals. Despite the Juniors resilience to come back, Mixed were switched on more than ever and nothing was going to get through them, especially in their defence and midcourt. We hope to see this ferocity as they begin finals next week!
In a preview of what we can expect in finals, Bullets swooped in on Bucks to shake up the top four positioning.
Bullets were a powerhouse in each third. Each player was switched on and gave 100% to play their role on court. Some showstopping direct and long passes into goals from the transverse line of the third captivated spectators. The attackers of Bucks kept them in with a chance and they fought back from a ten goal deficit. However, it wasn’t enough in the end.
Eight matches will decide our grand final contenders next week. Make sure to head down to the State Netball and Hockey Centre from 7pm onward to be the first to find out who could take the gold?