Blaze shake City West at Bupa VNL Round 16

There was pride, passion and surprise at Round 16 of the Bupa VNL this week!

Lightning celebrated their annual Pride Round against Geelong, a sea of rainbow colours showing support for the LGTBIQ community. Opposite them, Blaze put an end to Falcon’s undefeated title in Championship.

Don’t miss out on all the anniversaries and rivalries that hit Victoria Wednesday and check out your Round 16 match report now!


Casey Demons (60) def Wilson Storage Southern Saints (48)


A top 4 place was on the line for Demons and Saints this week. Casey had the home court advantage while Saints had the determination to comeback from their loss to Geelong last week. A blowout second half for Casey saw them take out their fifth consecutive win and a position closer to finals to sneak into the top 4.

A hard fought first quarter saw Casey lead by a single goal. As the match went on so did Casey’s lead, their determination down the court giving them a 28-goal second half to attain a comfortable 12-goal win.

Kass Withers and Christie Hillberg’s movement in the midcourt demonstrated strategy in Casey’s plays which allowed them to transition the ball with speed and precision down to Emma Ryde and Erin Bell in goals. Steph McNay in Saint’s defence put up a strong contest against Ryde and Bell, forcing Casey to feed in and out to readjust and find free space.

Only four points splitting Casey and Saints on the Championship ladder, the final two weeks will prove vital for both sides to have any chance on making finals.

Hawks Netball (51) def Peninsula Waves (41)


It was a bitter sweet night for Waves’ Championship squad. Long time netballer and Fury player, Kate Kelly-Oman celebrated 100 VNL games after six years playing in the competition. Unfortunately, her team couldn’t pull out a win to celebrate the occasion, allowing Hawks to snatch a 10-goal win.

It was a close contested first quarter for the two sides, the scores tied up at 11-all. Oman and Enya Broadley, opposing each other in Centre, made for a thrilling showcase of talent as they stuck tight on one another and executed passes as strong as the others. Waves’ team cohesion and patience kept them in the game.

Hawks began to breakaway in the second quarter before pushing out the margin in the second half. Kim Commane showed some new defensive skills as she put the pressure on in the middle third when Waves achieved turnovers. She also played a strong third quarter in goals with Tayla Shannon, the pair shooting at 92% goal accuracy.

Manoeuvring their way to hit the circle edge every time, Tayla Kearns and Lillian O’Sullivan ensured accuracy with each pass into the goals to assist goals with the victory.

Ariels (58) def Boroondara Express (54)


Neither of these sides having the best of success recently, this week’s battle between Boroondara and Ariels was filled with motivation and fluctuation.

Express were on the move in the first half. Isabelle Hodgson for Express worked hard down the court to keep her team in the game, providing plenty of goal assists to Clare Vearing. Down in defence, Rudi Ellis and Caitlyn Degaris proved a lethal combination, their reach over the ball and on-body defence shaking Ariels goalers.

Down by 2 goals at the start of the second half, something ignited within Ariels who increased their drives and power behind passes. They flipped the lead, 2-goals their way, to make the fourth quarter the match decider.

In the end it was the clean transition that got Ariels ahead of Express, with Express making simple execution errors down the court. The work of Jess Maher and Brodie Smith to disrupt Express’ play and leap for rebounds helped Ariels to see out the win this week.

Melbourne University Lightning (49) def by Geelong Cougars (64)


Playing the final match of the night in Lightning’s Pride Round, Cougars delivered an unwavering force that saw them steal a convincing win and maintain 2nd place on the competition ladder.

Cougars pounced from the first pass. Bridgette Furphy and Julia Wooley dominated Cougar’s goaling third with quick plays and precision shooting. Mel Bragg and Jess Stanfield maintained control in defence, limiting passes into Lightning’s goalers and putting up a strong contest for rebounds.

Maddie Carter was there in Lightning’s Wing-Defence remaining free to reset the ball when options were limited in the goal third. The combination between Carter, Jordan Cransberg and Brown was a strength of Lightning that allowed them to limit Cougars scoring shots in the final quarter.

The combination of Fury athletes, Cransberg and Mikaela Vaughan in the attack end allowed consistent flow into the goal circle.

A shift in Lightning’s game play saw them outscore Cougars in the final quarter, 19-goals to 11-goals. However, Geelong’s lead was too big to break and they took out a much-needed win with only two rounds before finals.

City West Falcons (47) def by North East Blaze (56)


For the first time all season, City West Falcons experienced defeat as Blaze came out with intensity to disrupt their near perfect season only two matches before finals.

Consistency was key for Blaze who made no position or player changes over the entirety of the match.

A tight first half saw the two formidable forces bring all their tricks and plays to the court. A match up of Jane Cook and Kaitlyn Black was more than fans could have wanted, the pair highlighting their strengths in the circle. Black’s drives for intercepts were direct and her movement with Tayissa Coppinger was succinct.

The scores tied at 24-all at the end of the first half, Blaze played a commanding third quarter that gave them an 8-goal advantage. Blaze’s midcourt maintained a high intensity in the second half, Elle McDonald, Ella Bayliss and Chloe Lambert taking control of the match to capitalise on turnovers. Maggie Lind and Molly Jovic communicated with confidence in the final quarter but not even their skills could catch up to Blaze’s goalers who shot at 96% goal accuracy in the third quarter and then 100% in the fourth quarter.

This shake up of Round 16 sees Blaze equal with Geelong Cougars on the competition ladder, only percentage splitting the two.

Division One

Casey Demons (52) def by Wilson Storage Southern Saints (55)


Casey and Southern Saints looked ready to go in their warm ups, both looking to comeback from losses. While the game started off close, Southern Saints were quick to kick into gear, taking an 8-goal lead at the end of the second quarter.

Midcourters Jacquelyn Carroll and Caitlyn Alifraco were instrumental to the win, getting their hands on everything, and taking game changing turnovers down the court. The noise of the Saints in defence had Casey rush their ball movement, which made them rely on a long pass into goals where Sasha Witts took chances for intercepts.

Unfortunately for Casey, it was their inconsistency that got the best of them this week.

Hawks Netball (64) def Peninsula Waves (34)


With only a match meaning the difference between 2nd, 3rd and 4th spot on the ladder, Hawks needed a win this week to ensure a safe place.

Hawks emerged to record a convincing 30-goal win over Peninsula, playing a steady match that displayed consistent teamwork across the court. Hawks executed some outstanding cross-court passes by driving hard and fast to make space. The two talls in the goal circle for Hawks worked to their advantage, with Elle Rice and Daisy Hill sharing the load for the night, before mixing things up in the second half by switching Monique Lenehan-Moustafa in too. These combinations were vital for Hawks’ success as they shot at 91% accuracy over the match. 

Jasmine Ferguson and Bronte Pearson were as dynamic as each other, dodging and weaving their way down the court to provide plenty of options for team mates to pass to.

This win sees them secure 3rd place with equal points to Boroondara who sit 4th.

Ariels (42) def by Boroondara Express (61)


With only a match meaning the difference between 2nd, 3rd and 4th spot on the ladder, Boroondara needed a win this week to ensure a safe place.

Ruby Shannon and Kate McCarthy from Ariels demonstrated tight teamwork and movement in the goaling end to keep their team in the game, McCarthy herself playing the first half in Wing-Attack. Her knowledge of a goalers movement meant she executed strategic passes to Shannon. 

However, Boroondara were quick to jump Ariels, taking a 13-goal lead at half time. Ariels struggled to get the ball moving past Express’s defence for most of the game.  The synergy between Naomi Henry and Ruby Barkmeyer in Boroondara’s goal end in the second half was electric and complimented the teamwork of Maddy Wallmeyer,  Chelsea Sartori and Alex Ball in the midcourt.

This win sees them secure 4th place with equal points to Hawks who sit 3rd.

Melbourne University Lightning (43) def by Geelong Cougars (62)


Cougars needed this win against Lightning to hold 2nd place on the ladder, especially with Hawks and Boroondara so close to them.

Cougars had a strong team with known on-court communication to take another win of the season, only making two substitutions throughout the match. Cougars were not afraid of the competition and entered the match with an excellent fight. However, Cougars came to play and began to blowout the margin in the second quarter as they scored 15 goals to Lightning’s’ 8 goals.

Hannah Orval and Anica Scherer’s speedy movement in Lightning’s defence did well to keep up with Cougars. Still, Geelong’s fast pace movement of the ball seemed to shake Lightning and they continued their intensity into the second half  to extend their winning lead to 19 goals.

The cohesive play in Cougar’s goal circle was captivating to watch as Aleisha McDonald and Georgina Cuthbertson bounced off each other and reoffered to their attack players on the circle edge.

City West Falcons (47) def by North East Blaze (65)


Blaze remain the team to beat in Division One, especially heading into finals. Ending as strong as they started, Blaze scored 18 goals in the first and last quarter. Consistency over four quarter proved the difference for Blaze, once again, their intensity not wavering for a moment over the match.

Goal attack Bronwyn Taylor for Blaze was flying across the court with multiple drives into the circle, giving Sam Coppinger and Meg WIlliams plenty of opportunities to assist. Strong holds from the Blaze goalers were effective and hard to defend for Falcons, with Abigail Gedge shooting with strength for another week. 

Despite a third quarter surge of power in Falcon’s attacking end, Blaze had too big a lead and confidently won by 18-goals.

19 & Under

Casey Demons (45) def by Wilson Storage Southern Saints (71)


It was a blowout match from the first quarter for Southern Saints, who scored a mighty 23 goals. The run on continued, big goals being scored from Moody, Esler and Taylor.

Saints ability to create turnovers and put consistent pressure over the ball forced falcons to rush their passes. Saints showcased a free-flowing transition down the court, making it hard for Demons to cause a turnover.

Despite Casey picking up the pace with their play across the second half, Saints’ defensive pressure was too much for Demons,  frantic play and many balls being thrown out of court.

Taking out a confident 26-goal win, Saints remain a match win within the top 4. Casey still have two more chances to see a win through before the season ends!

Hawks Netball (55) def Peninsula Waves (49)


Hawks gave 2nd placed Waves a run for their money this week, swooping in the second half to break away and steal the win.

A closely contested first half, only 1 point split the two sides. Both teams had their share of the momentum with rapid feeding between goalers down both ends of the court. The talk between Waves in the midcourt and their steadiness to maintain their own pace matched Hawks’ ability to put pressure on passes and stick tight on players.

With determination and drive, Hawks’ precision passing and defensive pressure helped them extend their lead over the second half and result a 6-goal lead over Waves.

Ariels (50) def Boroondara Express (47)


A close win over Ariels brings them one step further, 5th place exactly, to playing finals in 2019.

Boroondara came out strong to take an 4-goal advantage over Ariels in the first quarter. Their lead was short lived as Ariels began to click in the second half, upping their defensive pressure and bringing a fast pace to the midcourt that has been an advantage of theirs all season.

Down by 6-goals at the end of the third quarter, Ariels brought a new level of intensity and played a ‘winning’ final 15-minutes to shoot 20-goals. In the end, Ariels accuracy and strategy down the court is what allowed them to sneak up on Boroondara and take a 3-goal win.

Kelly Grace for Ariels pulled out some whopping goals and had speedy pace in the circle that allowed to her to position herself optimally to score.  Wing attack, Emma Allman for Express performed consistently across the game, with quick feeds and ball movement into the circle. 

Melbourne University Lightning (53) def by Geelong Cougars (60)


Geelong played a steady match against Lightning that allowed them to lead the entire match and maintain a consistent intensity.

Lightning struggled to get accuracy of their passes into the goals which gave plenty of opportunity for Geelomg to intercept passes and convert them into goals. Sophie Shoebridge for Cougars was determined to win the ball, linking well with Claudia Plange. The cohesion and consistency from Cougars proved why they were the better team on the night, executing their ball delivery more patiently. 

City West Falcons (61) def North East Blaze (38)


Falcons appear clear to make finals after a heavy win over Blaze this week which secures them top spot on the ladder.

Jasmine Fraser did well in defence for Falcons, restricting Blaze’s ability to enter the goal circle with ease. While Lauren Pentony provided a wealth of support and back up, transitioning the ball from attack to defence then defence to attack. 

Some missed goals for Blaze in the first half of the match allowed Falcons to capitalise and achieve goals. Despite playing a stronger second half, Blaze were merely playing catch up and fell short.

Another success from Falcons makes them the team to beat in 19 & Under.

There’re only two more chances to watch your teams battle it out for a chance at finals!

Get ready for a week of VNL clashes during Round 17 next week! With matches taking place over Wednesday night, Saturday and Sunday, there’s no reason not to get in on the action.

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Written by Amellia Wood