Match reviews from Round 14 matches in Section 1 and Section 2 of the 2019 NFNL winter netball competition.
Section 1 Round 14 – Heidelberg 1 vs North Heidelberg 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Heidelberg 1 were in a class of their own against North Heidelberg 1 in Round 14 of Section 1, defeating the Bulldogs by 11 goals at RMIT University.
The win keeps the fifth-placed Tigers’ finals hopes alive ahead of a must-win game against fourth-placed Ivanhoe in the final round of the home and away season.
Heidelberg hit the court running, scoring off their first centre pass and capitalising on a few early mistakes from North Heidelberg to lead 0-3 in the opening minutes.
North Heidelberg struggled to transition the ball into attack and when they did it was deflected by Heidelberg defenders GK Akanisi Seeto and GD Vanessa Rischitelli.
Heidelberg’s shooters GS Lauren Spinks and GA Chelsea Ross combined well in the goal circle to easily slot goal after goal.
Although the Tigers had a fast start, the Bulldogs settled into the second half of the first quarter. They swiftly managed to swing momentum their way off some solid circle work from GS Rebecca Colwell and GA Kate Butler.
After hitting the front, however, a simple fumble undid North Heidelberg’s hard work as the Tigers pounced – stealing the lead back only moments later.
One goal down at the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs were still in reach of their opponents, however, Heidelberg surged ahead in the second quarter.
A scrappy few minutes saw the ball fly backwards and forwards as each side struggled to find the net, however, the Tigers were first to pull away once again.
Tight one-on-one work from Tigers GD Mackenzie Blakey kept North Heidelberg’s GA Mahalia Rank at bay throughout the second quarter
Despite struggling to find an easy route into the goal circle, when they Bulldogs did find a way through GS Colwell held her position well to receive the ball to her advantage, keeping the scoreboard ticking over for the Bulldogs.
Heidelberg C Lauren Jones was a standout for the Tigers with her fast drives to the circle edge and pinpoint feeds, making it easy for her teammates to turn and shoot.
Jones’ feeding paired with accuracy in the goal circle saw Heidelberg take a six-goal lead at the end of the half.
The third quarter began much like the previous, with both sides fumbling their passes.
North Heidelberg looked more composed than previously to start the quarter with C Emma Williamson pairing well with WA Butler to hit the circle edge and feed the ball to their advantage.
However, Heidelberg upped their defensive pressure with players intercepting passes that flew across court with ease. Making the most of their turnovers, Heidelberg transitioned down court cohesively, barely missing a beat from one third to the next.
There were some good passages of play from the Bulldogs, however, the Tigers won the quarter by eight goals and inflicted a larger gap on the scoreboard as a result.
Fourteen goals down at the final break, North Heidelberg gave their everything in the fourth quarter, winning it by three goals, however, they were unable to rein in the Tigers.
North Heidelberg’s GK Tessa Willett and GD Jessica Dao read the ball well in the final quarter and forced Heidelberg’s attack end into slipping up. Their teammates made the most of Heidelberg’s mistakes, transitioning smoother than previous quarters into their goal circle.
Colwell continued to position herself well for the Bulldogs and made the most of the penalties that went her way with Heidelberg GK Rischitelli getting pulled up for holding on multiple occasions.
Although, the Tigers faded in the last quarter, their performance throughout the match was enough to secure a comfortable win over a side who had previously defeated them by 10 goals earlier in the season.
Final score: Heidelberg 1 (61) def North Heidelberg 1 (50)
Section 1 Round 14 – Bundoora 1 vs Fitzroy Stars 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Fitzroy Stars 1 assured themselves a double chance in the Section 1 finals, securing second place with a 15-goal win over Bundoora 1 at Parade College.
The result handed the Stars their 10th win of the year and kept them two wins clear of third-placed Diamond Creek 2 with one round remaining.
Fitzroy jumped ahead with an easy feed into goals, lobbing directly to GS Natasha Atkinson-Brown, who caught well at the post.
Bundoora GK Hollie Wilson matched stuck close to Atkinson-Brown, however the Stars GS did well to use her height advantage around the circle.
Bundoora pushed through the close defence work of the Stars and fed the ball cleanly down court and into their attacking circle.
The Bulls weren’t as accurate as the Stars when scoring opportunities presented and went into quarter time seven goals behind.
Bundoora intercepted the opening centre pass of the second term and claimed the first goal, before GK Wilson intercepted an incoming pass, which helped the Bulls claim possession and move the ball down the court for another goal.
Better movement and more accurate shooting by Bundoora saw them close within four goals early in the second quarter.
As their attack strengthened so did the Bulls’ defence. Wilson snatched another intercept and their shooters, Emily Williams and Emily Duggan, played to each other’s strengths to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Fitzroy kept pressing forward despite Bundoora slowly creeping in on the scoreboard. The Stars were successful with their lobs into the shooting circle, with Atkinson-Brown remaining a strong presence in attack
The Stars managed to pull ahead by seven goals at half time and continued their strong work into the third term – where they moved fast on turnovers to find better positions in the ring, which allowed Magi Hollis and Atkinson-Brown for more time to take their shots.
Bundoora tried passing looking down court to break up the Fitzroy Stars structure, but their passes were intercepted as the Stars played a body on body defence.
A 12-goal lead was taken by the Stars but Bundoora kept up the fight and claimed three goals in a row.
Bundoora WD Kendall Fitzpatrick then came through with another intercept, but the side lost possession to wayward passing, which resulted in the Stars scoring on a fast break from the turnover.
Bundoora GS Duggan had a shot in the final seconds of the quarter but was just too far out to make her penalty shot after the buzzer.
Ahead by 12 at the last change, the Stars powered to the finish line in the final term to take away a commanding 15-goal win.
Final score: Fitzroy Stars (64) def Bundoora 1 (49)
Section 2 Round 14 – St Mary’s 1 vs Northcote Park 1
by Marisa Sopcic
St Mary’s 1 remains in the Section 2 finals hunt heading into the final round of the season after a 14-goal win over Northcote Park in Round 4.
The Burra gained their eighth win of the season and sit outside the top-four only on percentage after winning all four quarters against the Cougars last Friday.
St Mary’s pair Jacqui Harrington and Niamh Pilatti worked the ball well into the circle for two early goals.
The Burra’s long passes were effective in the opening quarter as they were able to push the ball forward from the circle and get three goals up quickly
St Mary’s duo Casey Barnes and Rani Madden turned over play with strong intercepts, which helped the Burra reclaim the ball in defence.
The Burra put up 12 goals in the opening term to take a commanding eight-goal lead into the first break.
The defensive pressure displayed by St Mary’s didn’t diminish in the second term, with the Burra forcing multiple held balls on Northcote Park’s possession.
In one great passage of play, St Mary’s GK Madden placed her tap in the perfect position for her fellow defender to scoop up and run down the court.
The Bura stormed out to an 11-goal lead at the beginning of the second term and a huge win looked on the cards.
Northcote Park defenders Aimee Deacon and Julia Olsen gained several turnovers throughout the quarter, but their side struggled to break through the tough defence of St Mary’s further down the quarter.
St Mary’s GS Sarah Hepburn ended the term well, with accurate shooting helping her side to a 12-goal lead at the half time break.
Northcote Park made a positive start to the third term and slotted the first goal, however the Cougars were unable to put together a streak of goals to give them a chance to apply scoreboard pressure on their opponents.
On one occasion, Northcote Park GA Belinda Coward wasn’t expecting a pass back into the circle, but managed to keep the ball in play by tapping to a teammate to help set up a goal.
St Mary’s kept control of the game despite not being as dominant in the third term and took a 13-goal advantage into the last quarter.
Northcote Park’s defence was rock solid in the final term, however the struggled to retain possession of the ball in attack.
Ultimately, St Mary’s fast start ensured they weren’t threatened in the second half of the match and the Burra went on to secure a comfortable 34-20 victory.
To play finals they now must win their final game of the season against ladder-leader Heidelberg and hope that Laurimar loses to Northcote Park.
Final score: St Mary’s 1 (34) def Northcote Park 1 (20)