With finals looming for our MLeague competitors, Round 11 needed teams sitting just outside their ladder to switch gears and go full throttle towards victory.
In the fight to become finals contenders, Blackhawks brought down the force against Sharks to knock them out of the top four on the Men’s Premier ladder.
Panthers asserted their dominance against their biggest rival in Mixed Premier and in Mixed Division One St Therese upset one of the section’s frontrunners in a satisfying one goal defeat.
With big blowout margins and fiery contests from every angle of the court, this week gave us a glimpse of the fighting spirit we can expect as sides play their final three rounds to make finals!
After a slow winless three weeks, Seahawks persevered Wednesday night to obtain a decent win against Ariels.
It was a match all too similar to their Round 4 clash, Seahawks winning with a final score of 49 in both matches. One aspect that varied this time around was Ariels increased intensity in the first quarter.
Both sides pounced from the first quarter, Seahawks only leading by one goal at the end of the first break. Seahawks found control of the match in the second quarter to record a convincing lead of 10 goals. Seahawks possessed momentum throughout the match with rapid feeding between goalers and fast footwork in defence to get around Ariels attack.
A consistent second half for Seahawks gave them the drives and dodges needed in the midcourt to manoeuvre the ball down with speed. Work of Ariels’ midcourt paid off in the second half with some sensational passed executed to keep up with Seahawks. Superiority of play went to Seahawks in the end.
Last time these teams met, St Therese gave Geelong a run for their money, only for Geelong to hold onto the win by four goals.
The intensity from Cougars and St Therese 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. This led to the scores remaining within one goal of each other at the first and second break.
Geelong ended the final 10 seconds of the third quarter with a rebound from St Therese’s goal end to then speed the ball down down the court and show off their skill with a lay up goal by Cameron Allum.
In a match filled with such high skill, the winner was determined by overall execution and consistency. Riley Richardson played a significant role for St Therese, switching from attack to defence instinctively in the midcourt. This allowed his team to take intercepts and cleanly convert.
Geelong’s passes came with force and speed every time though, which saw them break away in the third and fourth quarter and shoot 34 goals to St Therese’s 22 goals.
Despite only two wins on the board for DDNA, this was a week that gave them hope to reinstate themselves as competitions in their league. It was one of the most intense re-matches of the night given DDNA brought their all to the Sirens back in Round 4, only going down by six goals.
This match was no different in terms of intensity, a near even match for a full 60 minutes. The plays of each team were as clean as the other, however there were definite strengths from either side.
For Sirens, Brodie Roberts and Josh Smith paired well again in the circle with the duo’s ability to share the load at the post being vital. However, their accuracy of goaling was nowhere near the precision we have seen in past weeks. This allowed DDNA’s defenders to execute impressive rebounds, intercepts and transitions when converting the ball.
The return of Christian White to DDNA’s goal circle lifted their consistency as he held with confidence near the post to receive feeds from Bryce Rowley. Despite scores in the favour of Sirens heading into the final quarter, DDNA played with a surge of power to catch Sirens off guard and bring it down to the wire. Their efforts fell short in the final seconds though and Sirens held onto the win, barely.
DDNA will come up against Ariels, Southern Seahawks and St Therese in the final three rounds of the season, a relatively easy stretch. For Sirens, they will have to step up for a place in the finals, their final three matches against the top three teams – Geelong, St Therese and Blackhawks.
In the most anticipated match of the night, Blackhawks and Sharks battled it out for dominance heading the final three rounds. Both have fluctuated between 4th place and 5th for the majority of the season. This was the final chance one to domineer over the other.
Blackhawks dominated the first quarter down 90% of the court with their confidence in passing and distracting defence work. These were the two contributing factors to their 41 goal thrashing against Sharks in Round 4. A notable absence in Round 4 was Junior Levi however, who with his height proves the difference between a Sharks win and a Sharks loss most weeks.
His presence this week didn’t shake Blackhawks one bit, Simon Cartwright, Anthony Maniapoto and Jamie Maher strategically ferocious in defence. Despite being noticably shorter that Levi, Cartwright leapt high and grasped at the lobs into Sharks’ goals every time.
Cameron Powell and Brandon D’Monte for Sharks were synchronised in their midcourt plays to transition the ball confidently. This made for an exciting match up with Blackhawks’ Matthew Doyle who was an absolute machine with consistent pace and intensity to control the momentum of Blackhawks’ plays. His connection were even more captivating in the third quarter as he fed into Lachlan Doyle (GA), who possessed a beautifully arched goaling style to attribute to his accuracy.
Heading into the final quarter, Blackhawks led by nine goals. Sharks paced themselves well and brought scores closer, however it was time that got them as the whistle went and they trailed by five goals.
Vipers entered their match against Sharks with a newfound attitude compared to Round two. This time, they had a winning streak on their side while Sharks were on the back end of a significant loss to Cougars.
Strong pressure down the midcourt and consistency to capitalise on turnovers, Vipers took control of the game early to hold a 10 goal lead at the end of the first half. Their goal third had an almost unstoppable combination in Jessica Lallo, Michael Dower and Bridget Ryan. Their connections were succinct and passes predicted confidently, allowing the goalers to shoot with ease. Lallo shone with her shots and Ryand hit the circle edge every time.
Things shook up for the trio however as Junior Levi’s height forced them to shoot further out and avoid him deflecting their shots. Deflections occurred across the court from both sides in fact, an intercepts galore one might say.
Vipers played better in the third quarter but struggled to get their goals in, giving Pasifika the opportunity to flip the margin. In a true fight to the finish, Pasifika held their ground and surprised everyone to put an end to Vipers’ winning streak.
Despite sitting on the lower end of the ladder for majority of this season, Eastside Sonics were in full affect for Round 11 to cause a shock upset to Valley Wolves.
A close contested first half saw the two sides match up well, unable to be split at the first or second quarters and sitting tied at 23 goals. Wolves intensified to play their usual style pf netball to break away and lead by six goals at the end of the third break. Sonics were not stopping though, so close to arguably their most defining match of the season. Samara Harris and Jesse Failla proved lethal for Sonics and this was evident in the final quarter where their efforts made all the difference for their team to triumph over Wolves.
Defensively, both sides were well and truly on top of things, creating intercept opportunities. The vocal aspect of the match was thrilling also, highlighting the intensity and spirit MLeague has to offer.
In a battle of the top two sides, the final margin was larger than most expected after Cougars run of dominance in prior weeks.
Panthers lead for this match was established from the first quarter. Panthers transitioned the ball with pace when turnovers were achieved and held a control over Cougars that couldn’t be broken. Brodie Roberts and Elle McDonald connected the ball well in the goal end, a result of the persistence from Casey Adamson in Wing Defence and Dylan Nexhip in Keeper.
Julia Woolley and Brayden Pastore were influential in the goal circle for Geelong with their accuracy and clever movement to work together. It was ultimately the flow and pace from Geelong that lacked this week, forcing difficult passes and crowding into space.
This week proved why DDNA should not be ruled out of finals in 2019. DDNA were able to take control of the game early and their formidable strength was undeniable in each and every third. This saw their 13 goal lead in the first quarter capitalised upon to result a final winning margin of 34 goals.
There was a familiar VNL face for Blackhawks this week with Hawks’ Enya Broadley taking to their midcourt. Despite the plays of Blackhawks successful at times, they struggled a lot to get their shots in and capitalise on the work of their midcourt. Their first goal didn’t come until half way through the first quarter.
Men’s Division One
In the second Doncaster clash of Division One this season, DDNA Red rectified their loss against Teal with a decisive eight goal victory. This win leaves them with a slice of hope to play off in finals.
Despite a close first quarter battle between the two sides, only one goal the difference, Red ran away in the second quarter to double Teal’s scoring shots. If this match highlighted anything of DDNA as an association, it’s that their midcourt is an absolute strength! It was captivating to see the contest in the mid third, skills and tricks from both teams to oppose one another.
Teal, full of determination, outplayed Red in the third quarter to still remain a chance at the win. However, Red weren’t backing down and drove the win home to land their first win of 2019 against their hometown rivals.
Dominating every quarter of the match, Combat secured their seventh win of the season with a decisive defeat.
Although St Therese didn’t allow themselves to lose by as much as Round 4, they made simple errors that saw Combat trump them.
More than doubling St Therese’s first quarter score, Combat 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 their advantage, consequently forcing St Therese to rush passes and attempt long throws which were intercepted.
What we witnessed this week looked to foreshadow the events we can expect in Men’s Division One finals.
It was a hard fought match against the pair, far too similar to their previous 2019 contest.
Titans pushed their way through to step up in the third quarter, kicking into overdrive to see their biggest lead of the match. Titans drove through their players to ensure they received passes where they wanted to, not where Bucks tried to direct them. Bucks put up a fight but couldn’t deliver themselves the win.
Mixed Division One
It was a game of mixed emotions for DDNA and St Therese, with DDNA looking to secure a confident win, before St Therese shattered those intentions to see a game of tightness.
DDNA started with a four goal lead at the end of the first quarter, only for St Therese to stick with them going into the second half. St Therese won the third quarter. It looked as though a final quarter comeback could be on our hands! With determination and a fighting spirit, St Therese proved spectators correct as they played with intensity to the very last second to look up and see they had won, by a mere goal.
Fancy footwork and a height advantage in the circle made for some impressive displays of defence from Phoenix to shake Bullets’ goalers.
The match started closer than expected with Bullets stepping up to the skill of the undefeated force of Mixed Division One. This was short lived though, the Phoenix magic reigning supreme for another week.
After a sizeable loss to Phoenix last week, Ariels came back strong for week eleven and flipped the tables.
Their movements shone on court with their succinct passes into goals and around circle almost unstoppable. Despite some impressive moments from DDNA, they couldn’t lift this week which left them trailing. Ariels Mixed have demonstrated clear development over the season.
Unfortunately due to wet courts, these two sides landed a draw last time they met. Tonight was a match to assert dominance.
Nothing could separate these two teams over the course of the match. When Bucks increased their intensity, Eagles would match it and more. When Bucks executed an impressive play, Eagles did the same with show-stopping movements. What ultimately split the two were some final quarter missed opportunities from Eagles which allowed Bucks to take a lead large enough to win.
Make sure to keep up with next weeks matches and check out the 2019 MLeague fixtures!