Round 10 of the MLeague competition saw formidable achievements from three of the competition’s top teams, each hitting their 10 week undefeated winning streak!
Parkville Panthers and Fitzroy Phoenix asserted themselves in their respected Mixed divisions as the teams to learn from. Panthers took their tenth consecutive win with pace to see out a 40 goal win against DDNA, while Phoenix won a comfortable 15 goal match against Ariels Mixed. After week’s of constant pressure and precision plays, Men’s Division One’s Northern Titans matched Panthers margin and raised to result a 41 goal victory.
With only four weeks left until finals, do these teams have enough in them to keep charging? Or will we have Steven Bradbury situation on our hands for a side to come out of no where?
Riding the line between 4th place and 5th, Blackhawks need for solid wins in the lead up to finals was highlighted in their match against Men’s Premiers golden Geelong Cougars side.
Last time these two teams met, Geelong put up an unstoppable performance that left Blackhawks down in the dumps to lose by 31 goals. However, Blackhawks were notably affected by by the New Zealand Men’s Nationals in Round three, missing a number of key players. Possessing a vengeance, full team and thirst for finals, Blackhawks put it all on the line this week.
Things started very tight in the match, the first break seeing the scores near level with Geelong up by 2 goals. In the midcourt, it was an exciting contest between Blackhawks’ Joel Gosbell and Cougars’ Jed Christian, while Matthew Doyle provided a wealth of support along side Gosbell to have plenty of impact on the decision of plays.
Geelong stretched their lead out heading into half time despite the forceful passes and momentum of Blackhawks’ goalers to drive and receive impressive feeds in. The third quarter saw Geelong break their usual pattern of their known ‘lull third’. Shooting 17 goals to Blackhawks’ 9, it showcased Geelong;s players across the court. Brayden Pastore was agile in the goal third and linked well with Jake Noonan in the midcourt. Down the other end, Josh Burns and fill in Jake Dambrawskas put immense pressure in defence to limit Blackhawks’ entry into the circle.
Although the final quarter saw Blackhawks outplay Geelong, both in their transitions and goal count, the kick into overdrive came too late and Geelong neared another win to finishing in the top ladder spot.
Sirens took out yet another convincing win against Ariels to remain in strong contention to land themselves in finals.
A strong first quarter for Sirens gave them an advantage that ultimately saw them take the win. Strong pressure down the midcourt and consistency to capitalise on turnovers, Sirens took control of the game early to hold a comfortable 12 goal lead at the end of the first half.
Ariels’ sneaky passes in their goal circle made it difficult for Andrew Burgess and Andrew Lewis to predict the type of pass to cover. However, the Siren’s communication between team mates saw Colin Croft in Wing Defence continue to ease the pressure of Sirens defenders by forcing turnovers in the centre third before the ball even hit Ariels’ goals.
James Hertan held up well against Sirens’ power duo of Josh Smith and Brodie Roberts, however the unstoppable two couldn’t miss their goals and worked hard to strategically position themselves. Finishing as strong as they started, Sirens took home another win to keep 2nd place on the ladder.
It was a match all too similar to their Round three clash, St Therese outplaying Seahawks for a full 60 minutes despite some key eye catching moments from the team in purple and grey.
The first quarter demonstrated the development of Seahawks which seemed to put St Therese through their paces. A solid Seahawks midcourt with smooth transitions allowed them to match St Therese’s first quarter score, 18 all.
St Therese’s Dylan Nexhip and Tristan Comans, once again, forced Seahawks to shoot from further out 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. This coupled well with a number of drives on the base line which caught St Therese’s defenders off guard and allowed Seahawks to sneak in some extra goals.
Looking fatigued in the second half, Seahawks’ indecisive passing and unsteadiness down the court allowed St Therese to have full control of the contest. St Therese finished with strong transitions and clean passes to result another needed win in the lead up to finals.
Sharks were not ones to be kept down this week as they took a decisive win against DDNA after falling short in Round three.
Sharks’ consistent dynamic to anticipate the movement and placement of team mates to pass could not be slowed, taking a close but comfortable lead at half time. Strength from DDNA’s midcourt defence to intervene Pasifika’s plays allowed them to stick with Sharks for most of the match.
However, a final quarter thrashing from Pasifika redeem themselves from earlier match in the season and keep the potential to progress towards finals.
Obtaining a 14 goal lead in the first quarter, Cougars continued to capitalise and convert turnovers to achieve another victory against Sharks. Consistency over four quarter proved the difference for Cougars, once again, their intensity never wavering in the 60 minutes.
Cougars transitioned the ball with pace when turnovers were achieved and with each team member playing their role acted as a well-oiled machine. Sharks picked up their pace in the second half, but Cougars control of the match could not be disrupted.
Julia Wooley, Brayden Pastore and Vanessa Augustini not only executed precise plays, but were clear to have fun with the match too. This team cohesiveness was displayed down the court too with each player cheering on the other and providing the moral support to get them across the line.
Who knows what it is, but whatever Vipers did half way through the season to get them playing the way they have over the last four weeks – KEEP IT UP!
The movement of the ball in the midcourt and around both teams goal circles was captivating to watch.
Another win for Vipers came as a result of their persistence in play and their ability to be agile across the court. Despite a lull in the third quarter which gave Eastside hope for a comeback, Vipers trumped their opposition for most of the match with decisive plays in the goal third and some great leaps to intercept in defence.
Although finals are still a stretch for the team in green, their movement up the ladder highlights their progression as a team over the 2019 season.
It was a match of intensity between the bottom placed St Therese and the mid tiered Blackhawks. Scores tied up at the end of the first quarter, it was the final quarter of the match that split these two competitors.
It was the defenders of the two sides that caught spectators attention in the first half. Simon Cartwright and Bess Schnioffsky were agile and manovered their body well around the ball to pick up passes into St Therese’s goals, as well as leaping high for rebounds to convert the ball. For St Therese, Tristan Comans and Clare Johnson’s arms around the ball and over the ball allowed them to distract Blackhawks’ goalers.
After leading at every break, St Therese trumped the Blackhawks this week to see through their second win of the season.
A sizeable 40 goal win makes Panthers’ tenth consecutive win all the more exhilarating for a team that really looks to take out the 2019 season.
Panthers’ win was inevitable from the first half where they held a lead of 19 goals. DDNA’s Steph Poort timed her defense against Uneeg Palavi well, however couldn’t stop the Goal Shooter from executing some clap worthy long bombs. Casey Adamson from Panthers picked up some good turnover ball to convert into extra goals for the team.
However, DDNA lacked the momentum in their midcourt to provide options to transition the ball down the court which ultimately saw Panthers outplay them.
Men’s Division One
Last time these teams met, Storm only went down by 12 goals. This time, Titans were elevated in their dynamic, determination and execution on the court. After week’s of constant pressure and precision plays, Northern Titans raised to result a 41 goal victory to mark their tenth consecutive win of the season.
Titans had full momentum throughout the match with rapid feeding between goalers and pace in each third. The talk between Titans in the mid court and their steadiness to maintain control of the games speed changes saw them lead the entire match.
It was their attacking precision and midcourt defensive pressure that helped them extend their win against Storm. Titans’ sustained fitness levels to deliver an unwavering full 60 minutes sees them in prime position to take out the gold in 2019.
DDNA Red continued their fine form in the competition to continue their four week winning streak with a victory against the team one spot higher than them on the ladder.
DDNA seemed to have learnt from their past mistakes against Combat and started strong to lead at the end of the first quarter.DDNA weren’t one’s to be kept silenced and brought the fight in every quarter to hold their lead and shut down Combat in the second and third quarters. Despite the strategic movement of Combat’s goalers, DDNA’s control of the ball and ability to shift the game pace played a vital role to their win.
A fierce start from Bucks highlighted their confident decision making and consistent movement on court to create options to pass. Despite St Therese leading by 2 goals at the first break, Bucks’ team dynamic was electric, especially between their midcourt. This allowed them to silence St Therese in the following quarters.
Bucks kept their intensity up in the third quarter and held St Therese’s shots to a mere 2 goals. Some final quarter changes for Bucks allowed them to expand on their lead and attain a 22 goal victory, hinting at a reinforced co-operative team to look out for in the final four weeks.
Mixed Division One
In a battle to claim 3rd position on the ladder, St Kilda Bullets and DDNA brought their all this week!
It was a tight and shifting contest with scores fluctuating over quarters. DDNA pounced in the first quarter to lead, only for Bullets to bring it back to a single goal difference heading into the second half. With persistence in the midcourt, accuracy of goals and strategic feeding around the goal edge, DDNA held their lead in the second half to steal third place from Bullets.
Marking a first in the season, DDNA Pink forfeited this week’s match in the third quarter, Bucks’ lead too large.
Despite ending the match early, decisive plays in the midcourt and passion in defence when going for rebounds allowed Bucks to finish strong and add to the points in the competition.
Fitzroy capped off their hard work of the 2019 season with their tenth consecutive win this week! With four more weeks left, could Phoenix go all the way with their undefeated title?
Phoenix were determined to win the ball in each and every contest. The cohesion and consistency from Phoenix proved why they were the better team on the night, executing their ball delivery with patience.
With majority of their core team out this week, there were a number of new faces playing for LTU Eagles.
Juniors took a comfortable lead in the first three quarters with electric defensive pressure that forced needed turnovers and conversions. Eagles gave Ariels a run for their money in the final quarter to score 15 goals to Ariels’ 8, however Juniors had put in the work early in the match and walked away with their fourth win of the season.
Make sure to keep up with next weeks matches and check out the 2019 MLeague fixtures!