Falcons and Cougars battle in round 12 of Bupa VNL

Round 12 of the Bupa VNL saw some tight battles and blow out margins, yet the intensity across the divisions was immense.

Falcons and Cougars 19/Under girls fought for top position, while the Champ division experienced a 1-goal win in the final moments of the game. There must’ve something in the air at Eagle Stadium, with nothing separating the Division 1 teams, finishing with a draw.

There’s only 6 weeks left before finals, with the competition well and truly heating up.


North East Blaze (70) def Peninsula Waves (40)


The North East Blaze Championship side have continued their impressive form, coming out firing against the Peninsula Waves, maintaining a convincing 19-goal lead at half time.

Reigning hot shot award winner, Libby Nicol was again dominant in the goal circle shooting at 94%, contributing 58 of the 70 goals, alongside 19/U Victorian Assistant Coach, Sarah Hogan who was working hard under the ring. While Abbey Ellis, who was a member of the Victorian 19/U Nationals team, did well to transition from GA to WA, feeding impeccably to Libby Nicol.

With height at both ends, the Blaze were all over the Waves, yet the Waves’ team cohesion and patience kept them in the game. There were several changes made throughout the match to combat Blaze, however Blaze broke away in the last quarter finishing with a significant margin of 30 goals.

Melbourne University Lightning (56) def Boroondara Express (32)


The Melbourne University Lightning have come out with force against Boroondara Express, following their loss to Blaze last week. It was a tight contest for the entire first quarter, with only a 4-goal difference at the first break. The intensity from both sides made for a game of quick transition and defensive pressure critical.

The Lightning defence in Amy Wirth and Madeline Stewart held up the Express, winning many turnovers in the ring, stretching their lead to 11 at half time.

The combination of Fury athletes, Jordan Cransberg and Mikaela Vaughan in the attack end allowed consistent flow into the goal circle, with Mikaela finishing well, with 87% accuracy for the night.

Isabelle Hodgson for Express worked hard down the court to keep her team in the game, providing plenty of goal assists to Clare Vearing.

It was a hard-fought contest across the entire four quarters, suggesting both teams were keen to get on the winners list this week. In the end it was the clean transition that got Lightning ahead of Express, with Express making small basic skill execution errors down the court.

Wilson Storage Southern Saints (66) def Ariels (39)


The Southern Saints took the break early in the game, jumping Ariels with an 8-goal lead at half time. A 97% shooting performance from Ella Quinlan for the Saints put them in a better position than the Ariels, with the Saints attackers able to manoeuvre through the Ariels defence.

The Saints took control in the third ‘winning’ quarter, stretching the lead to 16, proving their patience and flow from defence to attack to be too strong for the Ariels. Sitting fourth on the ladder, the Saints were in full force to keep their position in the top four.

Emma Thompson provided great drive for the Ariels in the centre, with plenty of help from Fury athlete Shae Kyle bringing the ball from defence. However, the Saints finished the night with a big percentage booster, with a 27-goal win.

Hawks Netball (47) def by Casey Demons (56)


It was a goal for goal contest between the two teams in the first quarter, with Casey Demons accurate shooting and the Hawks quick transition proving to be a close battle.

With only one game separating the two on the ladder before the clash, both were fighting for a top four position.

Fury athlete, Emma Ryde was pivotal in the ring, providing strong holds and presence, on top of 86% accuracy. Assistance from former Diamond, Erin Bell saw impressive passages of play that saw the Demons take a 1-goal lead at the end of the first half.

Daisy Hill was fundamental for the Hawks, capitalising under the ring when they needed it the most, keeping them well and truly in the game. While Tayla Kearns didn’t stop running, providing assistance in centre as a key play maker.

It was Casey’s quick ball movement and ease to transition through the Hawks defence that allowed them to break away, finishing with a 9-goal lead in the end.

Geelong Cougars (53) def by City West Falcons (54)


What an absolute thriller this game was at Eagle stadium, with one goal separating the two for a large majority of match. With the scores equal at half time, both teams proved why these sit in the top 3, maintaining intensity across the four quarters.

There is plenty of history between these two sides, with former teammates reuniting as opposition. Tharjini Sivalingam for the Falcons had an outstanding night under the ring, shooting 53 of the 54 goals at 90% accuracy and could not be stopped. While Molly Jovic provided an enormous amount of effort through the midcourt.

Tori Honner and Jessica Standfield had a tough night in defence but were still able to provide plenty of drive down the court. It was a game of protecting possession, and in the end the last minute decided the fate of the game, seeing the Falcons hold on by 1 goal.

Division One

Melbourne University Lightning (51) def by Boroondara Express (64)


Boroondara were quick to jump the Lightning, taking a 14-goal lead at half time. Lightning struggled to get the ball moving past Express’s defence for most of the game but were able to outscore them in the third quarter, keeping themselves close enough to make a comeback.

While Express were consistent across the whole four quarters, Lightning were unable to keep up with the intensity. Fury athlete, Ruby Barkmeyer was impressive in the goal circle, shooting 35 out of the 64 goals for Boroondara, while their defence was terrific, keeping the Lightning quiet. Boroondara stretched their lead in the last quarter, shooting 14 goals to win by 13 and maintain their top four position.

Wilson Storage Southern Saints (49) def Ariels (41)


Ariels and Southern Saints were well prepared coming into Round 12, both having strong wins last week. While the game started off close, Southern Saints were quick to kick into gear, taking an 8-goal lead at the end of the first quarter.

Wing defence Jacquelyn Carroll was instrumental to the win, getting her hands on everything, and taking game changing intercepts down the court. The noise of the Saints in defence had Ariels rush their ball movement, which made them rely on a long pass into goals.

With only a 7-goal lead at half time, Ariels continued to keep themselves in the game, mixing up their attack end, hoping for more consistent flow out of defence. The last quarter saw a hopeful comeback, with the Ariels’ goalers providing plenty of drive and confidence in the goal third for Ariels, leading them to outscore Saints and bring the difference to 8-goals from being 11 at three quarter time. In the end, Saints were too strong and won by 8 goals.

Hawks Netball (65) def Casey Demons (41)


With only 6 goals separating the two teams in the first quarter, Hawks were too strong across the court for the Demons, stretching the lead to 8 at half time.

Jasmine Ferguson was vital for Hawks in attack, providing dynamic movement onto the ring, allowing safe and accurate feeds into the goalers.

The two talls in the goal circle for Hawks worked to their advantage, with Elle Rice and Monique Lenehan-Moustafa sharing the load for the night, before mixing things up late in the third quarter.

A blow out third quarter saw Hawks shoot 17 goals, to take a 16-goal lead, making it hard for the Demons to fight back. Wing-attack, Sarah McCabe worked hard around the ring for Casey, providing second efforts onto the goal circle.

Hawks defenders Emily Kay and Chloe Sinclair were too strong in the ring, making the Demons force the ball back, while rebounding majority of the missed goals. In the end Hawks were too dominant, walking away with an impressive 24 goal win.

Geelong Cougars (50) drew with City West Falcons (50)


It was another game of mixed emotions for the Cougars and Falcons, with the Falcons charging from behind and down by 5 goals at three quarter time, to finish with a draw.

Cougars looked to be the team to beat from the beginning of the game, sitting second on the ladder and in front by a small margin for almost the entirety of the match. Yet it was the defensive pressure from Falcons, Imogen Sexton and Bess Schnioffsky that kept the Cougars accountable, as they refused to give up on the fight.

Goaler Georgie Cuthbertson performed well for Cougars, contributing 30 of the 50 goals, while the duo of Gen O’Connor and Laura Giles was inspiring to watch. Toni Lind for Falcons was determined to win the ball back, using her quick speed in transition, knowing that the clock wasn’t on their side. In the end, the game finished as a draw, with high anticipation for their next encounter.

North East Blaze (56) def Peninsula Waves (44)


North East Blaze remain the top contender for Division One, with another outstanding performance against Peninsula Waves. It was no walkover for Blaze, with Waves only 6 goals behind at three quarter time.

Wing attack Bronwyn Taylor for Blaze was flying across the court with multiple drives on the edge of the circle, giving the goalers plenty of opportunities to assist. Strong holds from the Blaze goalers were effective and were hard to defend for Waves, with Abigail Gedge shotting 43 out of the 56 at 92%.

Waves goalkeeper, Ebony Dolan, worked hard against a taller goal shooter for the night, while at the other end the goalers did well to rebound their own goals to keep themselves in the game. It wasn’t enough for Waves, with the margin blowing out in the last quarter, with Blaze taking a 12-goal lead in the end.

19 & Under

Geelong Cougars (30) def by City West Falcons (41)


It was a fight for top position for the 19/U tonight, with only one game separating the two. While the first quarter was a tight contest, at 9-9 apiece, Falcons were able to break away in the second quarter, finding midcourt flow into the goalers, with the defenders leading from the front, keeping Cougars to 7 goals in the second quarter.

Sophie Shoebridge for Cougars was determined to win the ball, linking well with attacker Ava Pierce down the court. However, the cohesion and consistency from Falcons proved why they were the better team on the night, executing their ball delivery more patiently.

Alexandra Keating worked hard in wing defence for Falcons, assisting to shut down the midcourt early in the game. The pressure from Falcons became too much for the Cougars attackers, going down by 9 in the end.

Hawks Netball (60) def Casey Demons (48)


Hawks were able to take control of the game early against the Demons, who are still yet to win a game this season. With only a 6-goal lead at the end of the first quarter to Hawks, the Demons continued to stay positive in attack, with Jade O’Shannessy a standout for the Demons, shooting an impressive 38 goals at 87% accuracy.

Olivia Spence and Gemma Thomas did well in defence for Hawks, restricting the Demons ability to enter the goal circle with ease. While Abigail Inglis provided a wealth of support and back up for the attacks when switching the ball from defence to attack.

The Demons fought back in the last quarter, outscoring Hawks, but were unable to minimise the margin enough, going down by 12 goals.

North East Blaze (55) def by Peninsula Waves (58)


North East Blaze, who are ninth on the ladder, tested the third place Waves in what was a tight match for most of the game. With only a five-goal difference at half time to Blaze, Waves fought back in the third quarter, with both teams scoring a large 16 goals.

Proving why they are third on the ladder, Waves were determined not to be defeated, with Jasmin Mackie in the ring providing 41 goals for her team, with strong assistance and timely feeds by Hollie Peterson.

Mia Sudomirski lifted the intensity for Blaze, with her dynamic drives to the top of the circle. Yet the defensive pressure from Waves became too strong for Blaze, seeing them lose their lead in the final moments of the game.

Melbourne University Lightning (40) def by Boroondara Express (58)


It was a game of momentum this week for Boroondara and Melbourne University. Both teams had their fair share of opportunities and power plays, but Express were looking more dangerous throughout transition. Both teams were searching for the win, with only one game separating them and their chance of a top four entry.

Wing attack, Emma Allman for Express performed consistently across the game, with quick feeds and ball movement into the circle. Lightning made basic errors into the ring, causing turnover and quick transition for Express, resulting in an 8-goal lead to Express at half time.

While Boroondara looked to have control of the game, Lightning remained in the fight, providing defensive pressure down the court from Meg Matthews and Milly Cram. The margin blew out to a game high of 18 goals in the end.

Wilson Storage Southern Saints (56) def Ariels (45)


Southern Saints looked in control for most parts of the game. Saints goaler Georgia Moody, who was in the 17/U Victorian Nationals team, was exciting to watch with her dominating presence and effectiveness.

Saints showcased a free-flowing transition down the court, making it hard for Ariels to cause a turnover. Their defensive pressure was too much for Ariels, with frantic play and many balls being thrown out of court. However, Ariels goalers Emily Andrew and Madeline Hargrave combined well in the ring, happily taking a shot with confidence.

Ariels were unable to gain an advantage over Saints, with the last quarter blowing out to an 11-goal win.

Round 13 goes down from 7pm onwards next week at the State Netball and Hockey Centre, HE Parker Maroondah Nets and the Somerville Community & Recreation Centre. Head down to either venue next Wednesday, June 19th, to see sides face each other. Nets entry fee is just $4 and SNHC is $4.30.

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Written by Lucy Bishop