VMMNA MLeage Round 3 meant serious action was guaranteed at the State Netball and Hockey Centre last night.
Despite a number of players overseas competing in the 2019 New Zealand Men’s Nationals, the men and women still in Melbourne shot up a storm to result in some mammoth margins.
Only three weeks in and already the competition is stirring between sides! Check out this week’s match report and get up to date!
The intensity from Cougars and Blackhawks was on from the very first whistle, each side looking as determined as the other. In their passes, their plays and even their eyes you could see the passion driving both teams.
In a match filled with such high skill, what came down to splitting the winner was overall execution. Only down by 2 goals at the end of the first break, Blackhawks kept their consistency in line with Cougars in the second quarter.
Geelong’s passes came with force and speed every time though, which saw them break away in the third quarter and shoot 18-goals to Blackhawks’ 5-goals. A 25-goal final quarter for Cougars cemented their significant winning margin. Cougars also spiced things up in the final quarter, their defence trying some sneaky lifting of each other to defend Blackhawks goal attempts.
From the players:
“We both came out firing and they were really aggressive through the middle so we had to switch some players. It was so even for the first part of the match but we just kept up the pace for the whole game which really showed at the end.
“Josh Burns particularly has been playing really well down in defence with Alastair Punshon also down there. With both Gerard and Matt coming on to the circle each time and balancing the pace of our team through the centre was really great for us too.” – Cameron Allum, Geelong Cougars
Sirens were on fire this week and came out to a flying start, shooting 22 goals in the first quarter! They were able to maintain a consistent pace and intensity over the entirety of the match which ultimately saw them walk away with a sizeable win.
Sirens’ midcourt movements seemed to hold the team together and keep them stable when the pace began to rush. With strong combinations in sync in each third, it seems Sirens are on track to be key competitors in 2019.
From the players:
“It was a tough fought first quarter with them really sticking with us, but as our combinations continue to develop from previous weeks we managed to find more space on court, hence the big win. We were able to build on pressure from defence and convert.
“For Josh Feeney is was his first game playing and in Wing Attack while we have some of our guys in New Zealand. He did really well to slot in and find connections in the goal circle.
“If we keep building and trusting each other there’s no doubt you’ll see us in those top positions on the ladder. You could tell in the first round we hadn’t played together before but we have a lot of fun together and are learning each other’s styles of play week by week.”– Tory Allen, Sirens Netball
What was a neck-and-neck first three quarters for DDNA and Sharks blew out in the final quarter to see DDNA cause Pasifika’s first upset in the MLeague competition.
Even match ups throughout the court resulted in some impressive plays from both sides and turnover conversions that kept scores tight. The notable absence of Junior Levi’s height for Sharks made it difficult for them to get around DDNA’s close contact defensive movements.
In the end DDNA’s success came down to their attacking ends persistence and the progression of the ball in the midcourt. Cameron Hughes in Centre forced options down the court well and instigated dynamic plays into the goal third. This midcourt momentum saw DDNA get the ball straight into Christian White and David Butler in goals, who’s positioning maximised goals.
From the players:
“With so many of our players being out this week, and only having six players, I think we all just decided to go in and have a lot of fun. We really had each other’s backs which resulted in the scores.
“Pasifika have had a lot of hype about them and at the end of the day it was great to get a win against the Sharks who have so far not lost a match, until now.
“In goals, with me and David Butler, we are very clear in what we want to do and plays we want to execute. Our combinations all round are getting there slowly, for sure.” – Christian White, DDNA
In a tough match between Seahawks and St Therese, a slight first quarter lead by St Therese gave them just enough edge to steal the win.
St Therese forced Seahawks to shoot from the edge of the circle which made it difficult to achieve high accuracy of goals. Nonetheless, Seahawks made some impressive shots that kept them within reach to possibility take the lead.
The defensive pressure from St Therese just couldn’t be beat this week and forced Seahawks to turnover the ball more than desired. Converting these into 22-goals in the final quarter, St Therese secured their win and a final winning margin of 12 points.
From the players:
“Extremely defensive match I would say, which made it even tougher to convert passes. St Therese put on an amazing full court pressure and trying to get through their zone made it difficult for us and it definitely wore us down.
“Our patience had to be one of our best features from the match. The way we just played it round to convert to goals and not bombing it away was impressive for us and a positive.
“Our defence end is really clicking too. For next week there’ll be a lot of running preparations and having extra players on the bench to rotate will mean we’ll keep up the intensity for a full 60 minutes.” – Sam MacKerras, Southern Seahawks
Obtaining a 10-goal lead in the first quarter, Panthers continued to capitalise and convert turnovers to achieve victory against Vipers. Consistency over four quarter proved the difference for Panthers, once again, their intensity never wavering in the 60 minutes.
Holding a whopping 36-goal lead over Vipers at the end of the first half, Panthers transitioned the ball with pace when turnovers were achieved. Vipers picked up their pace in the second half, but Panthers control of the match could not be disrupted.
Despite not seeing a win yet in the season, Vipers displayed skill in the attacking third with decisive movements and variety of passes into the circles. Their match against Blackhawks next week may just be their chance to break their slow start.
DDNA were able to take control of the game early against the St Therese, who are still yet to win a game this season. DDNA acted as a formidable force to double St Therese’s first quarter score.
Sam MacKerras did well in defence for DDNA, restricting St Therese’s ability to enter the goal circle with ease. DDNA also continued to provide a wealth of support and back up for the attacks when switching the ball from defence to attack.
With an average of 17 goals per quarter, DDNA executed a strong match to seize a winning margin of 26-goals.
The 2018 Runners Up team, Valley Wolves, executed a brilliant display of netball in their win against Pasifika Sharks. Their on court synchronisation was enhanced from last week and the team we saw make it to finals last year looked to be in their known fine form.
Sharks struggled to get accuracy of their passes into the goals which gave plenty of opportunity for Wolves to intercept and convert turnovers into goals. Wolves ended their match on a high with team spirit to win by 24-goals.
A close first quarter contest saw Blackhawks only trail Cougars by 4 goals at the end of the first half, keeping them in with a fighting chance.
While Cougars were consistent across the whole four quarters, Blackhawks were unable to keep up with the intensity. Chelsea Ross was impressive in Cougars goal circle, shooting 15 goals in the third quarter. Cougars defence was also terrific, keeping Blackhawks quiet in the second half.
Men’s Division One
Despite a slow first quarter, Combat turned things around in the second half of the match to steal the win against DDNA.
A deciding third quarter, Combat kept DDNA quiet and kept them to a mere 5-goals while they secured 12 to increase their lead. Decisive plays in the midcourt and passion in defence when going for rebounds allowed Combat to finish strong and add to the points in the competition.
Bucks have continued their impressive form, coming out firing against the St Therese to achieve a convincing 18-goal victory over St Therese.
With height for both teams, Bucks were all over the St Therese with team cohesion and patience. There were several changes made throughout the match for St Therese to combat Bucks, however Bucks broke away in the second half finishing with a double digit defeat over St Therese.
Doubling Storm’s first quarter score, Titans continued their efforts across the match to bring ferocity and fearlessness in their attack end. Their control of the ball dictated the match pace which they used to play their game, consequently forcing Storm to rush passes and attempt long throws which were intercepted.
A steady 8-goal win for Titans gives them the confidence they need after a 1-goal loss to DDNA Red last week.
Mixed Division One
Phoenix came out to play this week in a monstrous victory against St Therese. With quarter scores being broken down to 23, 14, 18 and 15, their final score of 70 was a direct reflection of the strong skill and coordination of ball movement from player to player.
Ultimately, Fitzroy’s midcourt was speedy and their passes into goals shifty, while down in defence they showed determination and drive to rebound and intercept any passes.
With the familiar VNL face, Sam Silvester, back at the State Centre scoring goals, St Kilda Bullets were unbeatable as they took on DDNA Pink.
Despite the clear team communication and strategic switching movements in DDNA’s defence, St Kilda’s speed and accuracy of passes allowed them to drive hard across four quarters and secure long passes into goals.
With a sea of red at Ariels and Eagles match, it was Eagles who soared away with the win, made especially sweet after experiencing a draw last week.
Despite Ariels speed and utilisation of wings, Eagles composure down the court allowed them to keep controls while Ariels began to scramble in the second half.
After taking the week off last week, Ariels Juniors were back in full force to execute an excellent win over Bucks.
Only a point separating the sides at the end of the first break, Ariels increased their intensity in the second quarter to see a 6-goal lead come their way. A 30-goal second half rewarded Ariels’ efforts and communication down the court, with many strategic plays catching the attention of spectators.
Make sure to keep up with next weeks matches and check out the 2019 MLeague fixtures!