Bupa VNL Round Report

VNL Round 1/8/18
Photo: Grant Treeby / NV


Peninsula Waves 43 def by 62 DC North East Blaze

Melbourne University Lightning 103 def 33 Selkirk Sovereigns

Geelong Cougars 73 def 39 Boroondara Express

City West Falcons 63 def 46 Hawks Netball

Wilson Storage Southern Saints 52 def 39 Ariels


Peninsula Waves were facing the odds as they played off against 2017 premiers, DC North East Blaze. Despite the absence of key midcourter Kate Kelly-Oman, Waves played an outstanding game, with Sacha McDonald and Madeline Morrison stand out members of the team. However, the ten goals scored over Waves in the second quarter paved the way to a 19 goal win for Blaze.

Blaze midcourter, Elle McDonald, said they knew the match was going to be tough from the first whistle. “We were lucky to chip away. We knew Waves were going to come out tough at the start.”

With this victory, Blaze sit level with City West Falcons, but are just outside of the top four by a mere 0.3%.

When asked about the possibility of making finals, McDonald said that her club are taking it week by week, but is confident in the depth of talent the club has to put on court.

Melbourne University Lightning made history on Wednesday night after breaking a monumental VNL record.

In their 70 goal win over the Selkirk Sovereigns, Lightning are the only team to have scored over 100 goals in the last five years in the VNL. Lightning goalers Mikaela Vaughan and Gabrielle Sinclair scored 103 goals from 114 attempts, landing an impressive 90% success rate. The two talented shooters were assisted by Maddy Stewart and Amy Wirth in defence, who limited the ball’s access into the Sovereigns’ goal circle.

The win sees the Lightning jump to second place on the Championship ladder after a significant percentage boost.

Meanwhile, Geelong Cougars have acquired the coveted top position on the Championship ladder following their win against Boroondara Express.

Express’ 68% shooting average gave Cougars’ defenders many opportunities to execute successful turnovers. With the noticeable absence of Goal Keeper Karli Foster, Express were not able to match the speed and agility the Cougars brought to the court.

City West Falcons soared into fourth position on the Championship ladder after defeating Hawks Netball on Wednesday night. Falcons brought forth the level of intensity and power that they are notorious for and dominated the court from start to finish.

Their 95% shooting average, in combination with tough defensive pressure from Jacqui Newton and Zoe Davies, allowed the Falcons to secure a comfortable win and keep their finals dreams intact.

Hawks remain finals contenders thanks to their strong performance in previous rounds. However, since their stranglehold on the Championship grade was disrupted by Melbourne University Lightning last week and must win their next two games comfortably to remain in the top four.

Wilson Storage Southern Saints demonstrated their drastic improvement across the season with a 13 goal win. Even with the absence of Emily Wilson, the Southern Saints remained consistent throughout the game and refused to concede a quarter to the Ariels.

Southern Saints Goal Keeper, Mardi Cunningham, said that their attacking end impressed during the match.

“That performance was probably one of the best games we’ve played in attack,” Cunningham said.


Division One

Geelong Cougars 62 def 26 Boroondara Express

City West Falcons 42 def 35 Hawks Netball

Wilson Storage Southern Saints 43 def 41 Ariels

Peninsula Waves 53 drew 53 DC North East Blaze

Melbourne University Lightning 56 def 42 Selkirk Sovereigns



Geelong Cougars hold their position at the top of the Division One ladder this week after defeating Boroondara Express by 36 goals.

With many players missing from their lineup, Express underwent major movement across the club and were forced to try new combinations on court.

City West Falcons delivered another blow to Hawks Netball after their comfortable seven goal win. Hawks are noticing the absence of star player Olivia Gigli, who is still in the running for the Most Valuable Player award despite her break from the competition. Falcons are now sitting in fifth place and only eight points behind the fourth ranked Selkirk Sovereigns. With this win under their belt, their finals aspirations remain alive.

Wilson Storage Southern Saints and Ariels engaged in a cracking game on Wednesday night. The Ariels held the lead for three quarters of the game, but the Southern Saints were relentless as they continuously challenged their opponents in their fight for the win. As the score gap closed, tensions rose both on and off the court, whilst the pressure seemed to overcome players at times. Shooting accuracy dropped to 50% for the Southern Saints in the third quarter, and 55% for Ariels in the fourth. Despite this, both teams persevered to engage in a highly competitive game of netball, with Southern Saints eventually overcoming Ariels by two goals.

The thriller of the night took place between Peninsula Waves and DC North East Blaze. Despite being out of contention for finals, Waves came out with a point to prove and delivered a shock to their Diamond Creek opponents. In the absence of captain Bridgette Barry-Murphy, Waves midcourter Claudia Whitfort stepped up and played one of her strongest games to date, with her teammates following suit. Alex Maher and Chloe Phillips shot with an impressive 95% accuracy. While Blaze were not as accurate, the clubs stayed within one goal of each other at each quarter break. Despite shooting 13 goals from 13 attempts in the fourth quarter, Blaze were able to fight back and level the score in time for the final siren.

Melbourne University Lightning continued their winning streak after defeating Selkirk Sovereigns by 14 goals.

Lightning Centre Ella Woodman described her team’s performance as “exceptional” as their fitness and connections have significantly improved as the season continues.

“While it is unfortunate that we can’t make finals, we want to finish the season how we would have liked to start it”, Ella said.

This defeat will come as a blow to the Sovereigns, who were hoping to cement a definite position in the finals series. However, they are not out of the running, given that they are sitting two wins ahead of the fifth ranked City West Falcons.



Wilson Storage Southern Saints 38 def by 50 Ariels

Peninsula Waves 51 def by 52 DC North East Blaze

Melbourne University Lightning 48 def by 53 Selkirk Sovereigns

Geelong Cougars 42 def by 57 Boroondara Express

City West Falcons 63 def 45 Hawks Netball Club


Ariels prevailed with a 12 goal win over Wilson Storage Southern Saints on Wednesday. Defensive pressure from the Ariels was strong as they were able to restrict the Southern Saints from scoring more than ten goals in two separate quarters. Kara Morrison was particularly valuable for the Ariels with her shooting efforts; she and Grace Kelly shot with 86% accuracy.

The State Netball Hockey Centre erupted with cheers from both clubs and their supporters when Peninsula Waves and DC North East Blaze faced off. A one goal lead alternated between Waves and Blaze across the first three quarters until Blaze took a four goal advantage at three quarter time. Waves were determined to continue the battle and with less than a minute to go, they had levelled the score. A turnover in Blaze’s favour saw them gain possession of the ball, where Goal Attack Abbey Ellis took the opportunity to shoot the winning goal in the final seconds of the game.

Blaze Goal Shooter, Suli Leota, said that she enjoyed watching the way her team approached the game.

“Watching my team play with their heart and soul and put their body on the line was amazing,” Leota said.

“The win places us nicely in the top four, but we’re not going to become complacent in the final games of the season.”

In a close match between Melbourne University Lightning and Selkirk Sovereigns, the Ballarat squad were able to prevail by five goals. Excitement grew as Sovereigns levelled the score at half time after trailing in the first quarter. Maggie Caris shot a total of 49 goals for the Sovereigns throughout the game, helping her team take the lead during the third quarter and eventually grasp the win.

Boroondara Express affirmed their control over 19/U division this round after defeating Geelong Cougars by 15 goals. As usual, the standard of the Boroondara team impressed spectators; their goalers shot with 89% accuracy, and their defenders were out in full force. Express have sat at the top of the ladder for most of the season and remain finals favourites as they approach round 17.

City West Falcons stepped closer to breaking into the top four after their 18 goal win against Hawks Netball. Falcons shooter, Uneeq Palavi, was in her element as she shot 52 of her team’s total goals. Falcons currently sit one win out from finals contention. Therefore, they must prevail in their next two games comfortably to continue past round 18. This is a tough task, as they are paired against top ranked Peninsula Waves and DC North East Blaze in their final games of the season. Given their recent performance, Falcons are clearly determined and capable of playing in the finals.

The penultimate round of the Bupa Victorian Netball League takes place on Wednesday, August 8th at the State Netball Hockey Centre. Join us from 7pm to watch the round 17 matches take place.