Saints’ clean sweep at Bupa VNL Round 11

Round 11 of the Bupa VNL saw teams take to courts all over Victoria for some serious netball.

Hawks and Cougars 19 & Under girls experienced a last second goal to decide the match while Southern Saints mopped the State Netball and Hockey Centre floor with 3 straight wins.

There’s only 7 weeks left before finals time! Read below to see who might be your 2019 favourite!


Hawks Netball (46) def by Geelong Cougars (64)


After the loss of her partner to brain cancer last month, Tayla Shannon and her Hawks squad had a crowd behind them for two reasons Wednesday night.

With an organised special ‘Beanie Bay’ seating area, Hawks Netball raised proceeds in support of Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer for their clash against Geelong. An almost full bay wearing beanies of all kinds, supporters simultaneously cheered for their Hawks girls and a meaningful cause.

Hawks started well with Shannon taking the first goal of the match that sparked an uproar from fans. Geelong were quick to take dominance of the match though, Horton and Woolley racking up 34 goals in the first half and shooting a goal accuracy of 93%.

In the midcourt it was a fierce contest between Geelong’s Emily Post and Hawks’ Enya Broadley, especially around the goal edge in the third quarter. Despite the strong defensive work of Rennison and Pettyfor once again, Geelong hit their passes every time and executed plays into the goals with precision to steal their 9th win of the season by 18-goals.

Casey Demons (31) def by City West Falcons (66)


Casey’s forceful passes weren’t enough to beat the undefeated Falcons this week.

More than doubling Casey’s score at half time, 33-15, Falcons played another consistent game of netball to demonstrate strength in each third.

Zoe Davies and Sarah Szczykulski worked as power duo in Falcon’s defence to swing on to each other’s players and catch Casey off guard in the goals. This resulted in some striking intercepts for Falcons to take such a commanding lead.

Jini Sivalingam did not miss a shot all match which contributed to the majority of Falcons final score to give the squad their eleventh consecutive win of the season. Can anyone stop them in 2019?

Boroondara Express (41) def by Wilson Storage Southern Saints (64)


While Boroondara entered their match still feeling the win of last week, Saints looked determined in their warm ups to come back from a disappointing Round 10 loss to Blaze.

Saints played with purpose from the first centre and put pressure on Boroondara in the first half with pre-emptive passing down the court and strong defence. This gave them an 11-goal lead at the end of half time that would be difficult for Boroondara to beat.

Saints’ first half goal combination of Wilson and Silvester bounced off each other to shoot 32-goals. A second half changeup saw Ella Quinlan and Sinead Lumsden work equally as well to coordinate in the circle and shoot a further 32-goals to secure 4th ladder spot and another win, 64-41.

North East Blaze (59) def Melbourne University Lightning (44)


Lightning started on a high with decisive decision making to take a 3-goal lead in the first quarter of their match. Blaze fought hard in the second quarter to steal back a lead and deny Lightning an opportunity to best them.

Taking a 7-goal lead at the end of half time, Blaze executed a brilliant final half that highlighted the communication and team solidarity that has made them such a strong unit this season.

Chloe Lambert and Abbey Ellis showed dominance in Blaze’s midcourt during the third quarter. They transitioned the ball strategically and positioned themselves well on the circle edge to reoffer to Nicol and Hogan in goals. The goalers themselves rewarded the hard work of their team shooting 18-goals in the third quarter to stretch their advantage to 14-goals.

Possessing such a commanding lead gave Blaze the opportunity to introduce 19 & Under player, Mia Sudomirski, to the Championship league as she ran an impressive final quarter in Wing-Attack to contribute to Blaze’s final score, 59-44.

Ariels (50) def by Peninsula Waves (52)


It was a battle for control of the match between Ariels and Waves this week. With Waves sitting 2 games outside of the top 4, a win this week was imperative.

A competitive match from the get-go, only 1 point could separate the two squads in the first quarter with Waves taking a scarce lead. A stand out second quarter for Ariels gave them the opportunity to capitalise on turnovers and secure the biggest lead of the match, a result of the accurate goaling of Maher and Gannon.

Ariels 5-goal lead was short lived as Waves picked up the pace in the second half to shoot 16-goals to Ariels’ 9-goals in the third quarter. Madison Capsalis’ direction through Waves’ midcourt in Centre to coordinate the ball with Gabby Dwyer in Wing-Attack highlighted the teamwork of Waves in the final quarter which allowed them to get up on Ariels and win by 2-goals.

Division One

Hawks Netball (44) def Geelong Cougars (38)


So much history between these two sides built up to make for an intense Round 11 match. Hawks had a drive in their eyes to prove why they took out gold against Geelong last year after losing to Geelong in Round 2 this year.

Close but low scores in the first quarter demonstrated the competitive drive from both sides which resulted in a 9-all score going into the second quarter.

Hawks tightened the defence and pressure over the ball going into the second quarter which gave them a chance to capitalise. Emily Kay and Sally Deller in Hawks defence forced Geelong to pass out to the circle to readjust to shoot. In doing this they disrupted Geelong’s plays to take some powerful rebounds and take control of the match.

A blowout second quarter for Hawks saw them to shoot 17-goals to Cougars 6-goals and give themselves the commanding lead they needed to win the match. Despite the comeback efforts from Geelong in the second half, Hawks had a lead too large to take and won by 6-goals.

Both teams with 1 win against each other this year, there is no doubt these two may meet in finals to finally settle their 2019 score.

Casey Demons (47) def by City West Falcons (63)


Only a 1-goal difference at the end of the first half, Falcons broke away over the rest of the match to secure their fifth win of the 2019 season.

An evenly matched contest to start, the 94% goal accuracy of Falcon’s Rebecca Scott in the second half assisted them to take a convincing 16-goal lead by the end of the match. Strength in their defence to intervene with the Casey’s goal focus and tight defence in the midcourt made all the difference to the end result.

Boroondara Express (49) def by Wilson Storage Southern Saints (59)


Saints came out to play hard hitting netball this week and did so with poise to win their second match of the season.

Boroondara lead the match by 2-goals at the end of the first quarter. However, on a mission not be beat, Saints executed a consistent final three quarters to attain a 10-goal lead win.

Team Captain, Caitlyn Alifraco, felt a sense of pride in her team who delivered the quality of netball she knows they can.

“As a team it was a huge relief to finally be able to show the work we’ve done through pre-season,

“We are a good group and we showed that tonight.”

Diversity in their game play is something Alifraco said her team has been focused on to bring to the court.

“We’ve been working really hard on our tight one-on-one defence but have also been trying to mix it up with our zones and box,

“One of our stats from the second quarter was that hit circle edge 10 out of 10 turnovers and we converted 9 of those so it’s been good to reward those recoveries,

“Our flow on from the midcourt has been working well with our connections. It’s taken a little bit for them to come but they are coming along well.”

A standout second quarter for Saints’ newest player, Keely Boudrie, saw her shoot 16-goals from 16-attempts and contribute to her team’s success greatly.

“We’ve had Keely come up from 19’s into our goal third and I think that’s really made a huge difference to have a holding goaler.”

With another win on their Belt, Alifraco said she hopes next few weeks will allow her team to show off their skills and creep their way up the ladder.

“When we’re composed we play beautiful netball and if we can continue to do that we’ll be really up there.”

North East Blaze (67) def Melbourne University Lightning (53)


Blaze remain the team to beat in Division One, recording another win to remain undefeated and 1 game in front Geelong. Consistency over four quarter proved the difference for Blaze, once again, as players intensity didn’t drop over the match.

Holding a 4-goal lead over Lightning in the first half, Lightning kept up with Blaze in the midcourt to transition the ball with pace when turnovers were achieved.Slightly increasing the margin to a 6-goal lead in the third quarter, Blaze blew out the match in their final quarter to shoot 21-goals at 100% goal accuracy between Gedge, Gregory and To’o.

Ariels (43) def Peninsula Waves (39)


Both Ariels and Waves looked strong in their warm-ups, hinting at a match filled with force.

Waves intensity carried them through to their first quarter as they obtained a 3-goal starting lead. Despite Waves speeding the ball down the court into their goalers who positioned themselves well in the circle, it wasn’t enough to keep Ariels quiet.

Ariels flipped the margin in the second quarter to lead by 3-goals. This gave them an advantage that only grew over the course of the match and with smoother transitions and less trouble feeding into their goalers than Waves, Ariels extended their lead to 4-goals by the end of the match.

19 & Under

Hawks Netball (44) def Geelong Cougars (45)


In a match that all came down to a final second shot, Cougars came out on top against Hawks netball this week by 1-goal. Losing to Geelong in Round 2 by over 20-goals, Hawks’ determination drove them to lead for the first three quarters of the match.

According to Captain, Ellie Karaula, this match was one of the most crucial they’ve played all season.

“To be out of top 4 by 2-points this game was really important to us,

“It does go to show that we can compete with some of the top teams in the league,

“However, it is heartbreaking to know as a team you put in all the effort from the moment you stepped on court until the very last seconds and in the last 0.3 seconds for them to come away with the win.”

An undeniable known ability to communicate on and off court as a team, Karaula said tonight’s result came down to poor choices in the middle of the match that left them playing catch up in the final minutes.

“The team work we can’t fault. Everyone from the bench to the court worked really hard to make sure we were in the game 100% but we really need to make sure we make those good options under fatigue and not just what we see first.”

Karaula noted the strategic play of her defence and midcourt as a strength of Hawk’s match tonight that made it easier on the goalers to focus on goal accuracy.

“Defensively we had some beautiful intercepts and those turnover balls are what help us stay up the entire game so we can’t fault our defence end,

“Midcourt has some really good feeds coming along the court to the top of the circle and have been really making sure they’re feeding our goalers off the circle.”

Despite the loss tonight, Ellie Karaula said no matter the end result she is proud in her team each and every week for the determination they put out on the court. She said top 4 is still very much a possibility so look out for Hawks in the last few weeks.

“I’m proud of my girls every week but this week especially,

“We’re hoping for 8 wins to sneak into that top 4 and make semi-finals. It would be pretty rewarding and I think the girls deserve it considering how hard we’ve been working.”

Casey Demons (37) def by City West Falcons (60)


As 1st place Falcons took on bottom ladder holders Casey, it was a closer first half match than spectators expected.

Casey did well to execute their team plays down the court and keep Falcons only 3-goals ahead at the end of the first half. Falcons intensity shifted in the second half though to shoot 10-goals more than Casey in the third quarter and continue to do the same in final quarter. Shooting at 80% accuracy over the night, Falcons stole another convincing win to hold top spot for another week.

Boroondara Express (45) def by Wilson Storage Southern Saints (61)


Scores leveled at 13-all at the end of the first quarter, Saints persevered throughout the rest of the match to lead Boroondara and seize their fifth win of the season and fifth spot on the ladder.

Boroondara struggled to get accuracy of their passes into the goals which gave plenty of opportunity for Saints to intercept passes and convert them into goals. In Saints goal third, McGurgan and Harrington positioned themselves in their goal third strategically, ready to reoffer at any time.

More than doubling Boroondara’s goals in the final quarter, Saints ended their match on a high and with team spirit to win, 61-45.

North East Blaze (53) def by Melbourne University Lightning (59)

Both teams had their share of the momentum throughout the match with rapid feeding between goalers down both ends of the court. The talk between Blaze in the mid court and their steadiness to maintain their own pace matched Lightning’s ability to put pressure on passes and stick tight on players.

An evenly matched first quarter saw Lightning lead by 1-goal. With determination and drive, Lightning’s attacking precision and midcourt defensive pressure helped them extend their lead over each quarter and result a 6-goal lead over Blaze.

This secures them 4th position on the ladder to put them in finals contention depending on their game delivery over the next few weeks.

Ariels (54) def by Peninsula Waves (63)


Waves entered the match to record a sizable 11-goal first quarter lead that Ariels struggled to get in front of over the match.

With Jasmine Mackie, once again, shooting with near perfect precision and Holly Garac manoeuvring the ball down the centre third with speed, Waves only extended their lead with each quarter.

Despite the midcourt magic between Clara Choi and Holly Taubert, Waves sustained their organised movements and outplayed Ariels down the court to seize a 9-goal win.

Round 12 goes down from 7pm onwards next week at the State Netball and Hockey Centre and HE Parker Maroondah Nets. Head down to either venue next Wednesday, June 5th, to see sides face each other. Nets entry fee is just $4 and SNHC is $4.30.

For more player stats and to see the updated section ladders, CLICK HERE

Written by Amellia Wood