MLeague’s penultimate round 13 held contests that had the power to dictate finals match ups. With home teams taking the advantage in Mixed and Men’s Premier, ladder shake ups hit breaking point.
St Therese gave Sirens a run for their money in Men’s Premier, restating that it’s still anybody’s game after the rounds come to an end next week. Parkville Panthers played their final match before finals with confidence, gifting them a 13-week unbeaten record.
There’s only one more week before finals hit the State Netball and Hockey Centre! Make sure to head down next Wednesday night in your last chance to see certain sides play, as well as the opportunity to get around VMMNA’s MLeague Movember Round.
Seahawks continued their ‘fight to the finish’ attitude this week as the took on DDNA. Sitting two spots out of the top four and relying on the outcomes of Blackhawks and Sharks, Seahawks are hanging on by a thread to their finals chances.
Seahawks had a soaring first quarter to obtain a five goal advantage over DDNA. Continuing into the second quarter, DDNA picked up their performance with terrific transition work through the centre third. Their ability to take rebounds stood out, however after working the ball down to their goalers the pace seemed to slow and DDNA struggled to convert for points.
It was definitely a battle of defence between Priddle and Ford from DDNA, and Mackerras and Hadley. What raised the level of play for Seahawks was their flow between thirds and succinct teamwork. Seahawks’ goal circle worked like a well-oiled machine which allowed them to reward the hard work of their midcourt by securing goals.
After prevailing over Pasifika by two goals last time they met, Geelong were on the hunt to retain dominance over MLeague’s newest arrivals. With their finals spot on the line, Sharks weren’t backing down without a hard fought contest.
Cougars charged into this match with a certain buzz about them. The midcourt combination of Jake Noonan, Matt Blomeley and Jed Chrisitan gave Geelong intensity to transition between thirds and strategically work the ball into their goals. Poni Smith and Zachary Nathan kept the pressure on them for Sharks.
This contest remained tight as anything heading into the final half, 20-all. Sharks picked up in the third quarter to steal a one goal advantage over Geelong, forcing Geelong to bring it all in the final fifteen minutes… and that’s exactly what they did.
Outscoring Sharks by 10 goals, Geelong powered through each third. Keeping composed in their play and determined in their motivations, Cougars’ confidence as a team proved the defining factor of the win. Could this be the key component to seeing them take out a back to back premiership?
With St Therese and Sirens Netball already set to take on finals, this week’s clash was about asserting dominance. In an unexpected twist of fate, St Therese trumped the second place Sirens across the court to see through a satisfying penultimate win.
St Therese came out quick to take an early lead on Sirens, which they managed to maintain across the full 60-minutes. Dylan Nexhip and Matt Longhurst proved themselves as the stronger defensive duo on court. The elevation when jumping to defend shots allowed them to deflect a number of Siren’s goal attempts and lobs.
Elevation was also evident in St Therese’s attack with clean and concise lobs into Corey Nexhip and Connor Lilly. St Therese ultimately had a strong sense of commitment to movements and passes. This strength of play seemed to force Sirens to crack under the pressure, looking slower, rushed and unsettled for most of the match.
With a win under their belt, Ariels looked more polished than most of their season. Blackhawks were on a mission to hold onto their finals contention though.
Blackhawks kept a consistent player fixture to take out another victory, perhaps one of the most important of the season. Blackhawks’ combined success of defensive pressure and ball control saw them steal the win and bring them a step closer to finals. Blackhawks’ midcourt moved at lightning speed and their skillful dodges assisted them to get in front for the pass every time. This allowed them to hit the circle edge and pass swiftly into the goals, timing the release of their passes well.
Blackhawks will finish the rounds against DDNA in a match that will secure their finals fate.
Parkville Panthers played their final match before finals with confidence, gifting them a 13-week unbeaten record. For Valley Wolves, this third consecutive loss sees them hanging on for the chance at finals with DDNA close behind.
Parkville well and truly reigned this match, playing their usual elite level of netball with precision and teamwork. The ability of attack pair Elle McDonald and Casey Adamson couldn’t be beat with their collective ability to not only cleanly transition the ball but also produce plenty of turnover ball.
Panthers blew out the margin as quick as usual, more than doubling Wolves at half time. A further 37 goals in the final half capped off their winning streak.
It was a top-five battle between Geelong and DDNA set to test DDNA after a solid few weeks on the track. With Geelong a key competitor in the division, it made a real test for DDNA who ultimately needed to win this round and the next to make finals, as well as relying on other results to go their way.
An interesting family rivalry hit the court as DDNA’s Josh Smith opposed his sister Allie, who charged through Geelong’s midcourt. Geelong’s goal third perspired an elevated confidence compared with DDNA. DDNA appeared unsettled and the pressure from Geelong’s defenders made DDNA force unconvincing passes.
Despite the loss, DDNA still have a chance at finals due to Wolves’ result against Panthers.
NNE Vipers continued to erase the memory of their average start to the season by triumphantly defeating Melbourne City Blackhawks. Despite no chance of finals, it was a sweet win for Vipers, especially after going down by two goals last time they met.
Vipers came out quick in the first quarter to capitalise on their opponent. They utilised their ‘resets’ of the ball, passing back to the centre third from the goal third to readjust positioning. This saw combinations in Bridget Ryan, Ben Bruitzman and Michael Dower flourish on court. However, goaler of the match had to go to Blackhawks’ Madeline Hargrave who arched her beautifully which resulted in 13 goals alone in the first quarter.
Both sides will play their final matches of the season next week.
Despite an impressive win this week, Sonics fall short of finals contention and will finish their season off next week.
A steady match from Sonics allowed them to secure a well-earned win that displayed consistent teamwork across the court. Sonics’ framework and strategic play on court allowed them to have a number of strong moments across the night with consistency across four quarters and an ability to achieved needed goals. Their transition of play and tight defence over the court forced plenty of turnovers and allowed them to get their hands on the ball.
Men’s Division One
It was the match for third place between Bucks and DDNA. As expected it was one to watch in a thrilling conquest for superiority.
Side by side, scores remained level until the second half. Each were playing to their strengths and trying to intimidate their opposition. Bucks’ passes had visible force behind them which made it difficult for DDNA to intervene. The third quarter see an elevated level of play from DDNA. They were speedy through the court, strategic in goals and challenging in defence. This prime combination saw them pull ahead in the third quarter and bring it home in the fourth.
Thriving after their win, DDNA slip into third place with one final match in the rounds.
A challenging season was made no easier this week as they came up against City Combat. Combat have finals in their sights sitting in fifth place, however rely on the outcomes of other sides.Their win this week allowed them to hold onto hope.
To much surprise, Southern Storm charged into the match early to sneak up on Combat and achieve a first quarter lead. Combat’s attackers drove hard and fast to the ball and defensive pressure was put on over the ball from each player in the second quarter. This saw the roles reversed and Combat lead until the last whistle, scoring no less than 11 goals over the final three quarters.
A significant win for DDNA Teal puts them equal points against their home town rivals DDNA Red.
Bombing a whopping 19 goals in the first quarter to more than double St Therese’s eight scoring shots, DDNA put themselves in a tough to beat position. Shooting another 19 goals in the second quarter was the nail in the coffin.
DDNA moved swiftly down the court and used the match to hone their skills in each third. Their midcourt will be a strong asset going into finals, however their ability to play under pressure will be challenged.
With a possible win against Southern Storm next week, can DDNA Teal trump DDNA Red?
Mixed Division One
Despite a forfeit last week, DDNA Pink were back this round to play for a possible win. Unfortunately for them, St Therese pipped them at the post.
DDNA came out strong to lead on St Therese by two goals. Larni Howard was instrumental to their teams’ win. directing the play of the ball with confidence. St Therese looked ready to pounce at any chance for an intercept, taking several notable ones in the match and forcing turnovers in Pink’s goal third.
Although St Therese will just miss out on finals, their performance this week highlights the team spirit that has seen them have fun on court week in and week out.
Bullets showed us their finals ambitions as they took out a needed win to sit fifth place on the ladder with equal points to fourth.
A powerful game from both teams, St Kilda took off in the first quarter to charge on the Eagles. LTU weren’t to be kept down and caught up to tie with Bullets in hte second quarter. Bullets executed plays with decision and decisiveness in the second half to take the lead and hold onto it for the entire second half of the match.
Bullets demonstrated strength in their attacking combinations, transitioning smoothly between the thirds to utilise turnovers from their defensive end.
Ariels Mixed have assured themselves a finals playoff with a victory securing second place on the ladder.
Double digit results each quarter came as a result of strong transition work between thirds for Ariels. Although Bucks achieving some much-needed turnovers, Ariels were too strong to be beat.
Despite Ariels pulling ahead in the first quarter, it was determination from DDNA that saw them shoot 20 goals in the third quarter and lock down a needed win.
Making it their eighth win of the season, DDNA Red sit fourth going into the final round.
Make sure to keep up with next weeks matches and check out the 2019 MLeague fixtures!