The Victorian Netball League finals are here, with five clubs to compete in the Semi-Finals on Wednesday night at the SNHC!
The City West Falcons, Geelong Cougars and DC North East Blaze feature across all three divisions, whilst the Melbourne University Lightning will contest the Championship and 19/U finals, and the ACU Sovereigns playing in Division One.
Falcons Coach, Marg Lind, said she has seen a lot of growth in the team this year.
“They’ve definitely improved,” said Lind.
“I think we’re still a bit raw though. I think we’ve got a fair bit of room for improvement… so we’ve got something to build on.”
Lind said she is expecting the Championship finals to be close.
“I think it’s going to be a really even finals series,” said Lind.
“I think last time we played Blaze they were in good form and they’ve obviously got a fair bit of experience there now with players that have been on Suncorp Super Netball lists.”
“It’s probably the most even series so far.”
Major Semi-Final: Melbourne University Lightning v DC North East Blaze
- Round 8, Blaze 47 defeated by 52 Lightning
- Round 13, Lightning 52 defeated by 54 Blaze
A win each during the season will make for a thrilling contest between these top-of-the-ladder teams.
Both teams boast national league talent; the Lightning with Elle Bennetts, Kelsie Rainbow, Mikaela Vaughan and Amelia Brock, and the Blaze with Ella Bayliss, Micaela Wilson and Mary Livesey.
The key match-up will be between Lightning Goal Shooter Vaughan, and Blaze Goal Keeper Wilson, with both players appearing in Suncorp Super Netball earlier this year.
Minor Semi-Final: Geelong Cougars v City West Falcons
- Round 4, Falcons 36 defeated by 47 Cougars
- Round 10, Cougars 48 defeated by 54 Falcons
This is the first time that Geelong have had a Championship team progress through to finals since the beginning of the VNL.
Having relinquished top-spot, which they held for the first part of the season, the Cougars have bounced-back to find some form, particularly in the final round, defeating the Blaze to confirm their position in the top four.
But the City West Falcons also had a strong final round, convincing winners over the Ariels, 81-29.
Major Semi-Final: DC North East Blaze v Geelong Cougars
- Round 9, Cougars 63 defeated 56 Blaze
- Round 18, Blaze 59 defeated 55 Cougars
Playing each other for the second week in a row, these two teams will be no strangers.
Fans can expect added pressure, higher intensity and higher stakes this time round.
The match will be a battle of the shooters, with the Blaze’s Rebecca Colwell and the Cougars’ Hannah van Gemst both dominating the attacking circle during the season.
Minor Semi-Final: City West Falcons v ACU Sovereigns
- Round 5, Sovereigns 53 defeated by 68 Falcons
- Round 12, Falcons 56 defeated by 66 Sovereigns
An elimination final, both teams will come out firing in the minor semi-final.
With a win each, both determined by 10 or more goals, the teams are equally matched head-to-head.
However, the Falcons have the slight upper-hand, claiming four more wins for the season than the Sovereigns.
Major Semi-Final: City West Falcons v Geelong Cougars
- Round 4, Falcons 47 defeated by 57 Cougars
- Round 10, Cougars 60 defeated 53 Falcons
Sitting on the same number of wins for the season, and just three per cent separating the two teams, this match will be tight.
The Geelong Cougars have claimed victory in both meetings this season, and will be out to defend their title.
Minor Semi-Final: Melbourne University Lightning v DC North East Blaze
- Round 8, Blaze 46 defeated 44 Lightning
- Round 13, Lightning 41 defeated 37 Blaze
Head-to-head there isn’t much separating the Lightning and the Blaze, with each team claiming a win by less than five goals.
It was a low-scoring match the last time the two teams met, with Lightning defenders Hannah Orval, Gabrielle Coffey and Zoe Cransberg keeping their opposition to less than 40 goals for the match.
Get to the State Netball Hockey Centre on Wednesday 9 August from 7pm to catch all the VNL finals action!
Tickets are $4.30 for adults, and $2.15 for children.