A review of Round 5 netball action in the Northern Football Netball League.
Section 1 Round 5 – North Heidelberg 1 vs South Morang 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
North Heidelberg gradually pulled away from South Morang to score an impressive win in Round 5 action of Section 1 netball.
The game started with North Heidelberg’s GS Rebecca Colwell missing her first shot on goal before settling and nailing the second.
Both teams fumbled with the ball in the cold stadium during the opening minutes, causing turnover after turnover before North Heidelberg found their rhythm.
Bulldogs GK Kristie Parks and Lions GK Olivia Pels shone for both teams in the first quarter taking impressive intercepts to set their sides up for goals.
South Morang GS Mahalia Rank played well, scoring 10 goals from a range of distances with ease to keep her team close behind North Heidelberg at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw South Morang move their WA Tayla Hardiman into GA. Hardiman was quick in the circle, finding room to score and pass off to Rank who was still shooting well despite missing a few long shots.
North Heidelberg were careful with WA Emma Williamson and C Stacey Parks moving around the circle edge well to feed the ball into their shooters GA Kate Butler and GS Colwell, who were more comfortable closer to the ring rather than risking longer shots.
The Bulldogs upped their defensive pressure throughout the court, causing usually accurate South Morang C Michelle Millhouse to throw the ball to space, with none of her teammates able to provide an option within three seconds.
North Heidelberg’s ability to apply pressure all over the court caused South Morang to slip up on the basics and by the end of the half the Bulldogs were in the lead by 10 goals.
The Lions rearranged their shooting circle again in the third term after losing the second quarter by eight goals. Karli Burns moved into GS after having the second quarter off and worked her way around the circle well, despite tight defensive work from the Bulldogs.
South Morang continued to feel the pressure from North Heidelberg as GD Jessica Dao took crucial intercepts that allowed her teammates to work the ball into the safe hands of their shooters.
South Morang’s GD Paige Donker also played extremely well, chasing after the ball to take intercepts, however, her teammates were unable to make the connections into their shooters.
Despite the scores reflecting North Heidelberg’s commanding performance the Lions started to find space and break free in the final few minutes of the third term to make the game feel closer than it was.
The final quarter began with South Morang still down by 10 goals, however, they were moving the ball better than they had been all game.
Unfortunately for the Lions the Bulldogs maintained a high level. North Heidelberg continued to make the most of the centre passes and the shooting duo of Butler and Colwell remained calm under pressure.
South Morang’s WD Abbey Cooper and WA Lauren O’Hehir, both had good quarters and were able to find space and lead to the ball which allowed for South Morang to make the transition from defence into attack better.
After the first six minutes of play, South Morang managed to cut down North Heidelberg’s lead to five and were looking dangerous, however, the Bulldogs continued to stay calm on the court taking their time with the ball to ensure it landed in the right hands.
As the Lions started to look like they could come back, they started to rush with the ball which in turn created errors and within a couple of minutes they’d allowed the Bulldogs to pull away by seven.
Turnovers and missed goals from both teams saw the ball fly back and forth across the court, before North Heidelberg settled down again and pushed themselves out to a nine-goal lead with four minutes remaining.
Bulldogs defenders Ebony Ellis, Dao and Kristie Parks kept close to their opponents making sure they felt pressure with their passing and shooting up until the end of the match forcing South Morang to fumble their way through the final few minutes.
In the end, North Heidelberg’s ability to stay calm when faced with a possible South Morang comeback allowed them to extinguish the Lions’ flame to win the game by 14 goals.
Final score: North Heidelberg 1 (61) def South Morang 1 (47)
Section 2 Round 5 – St Mary’s 1 vs Ivanhoe 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Ivanhoe managed to stay in control despite what looked like a last quarter comeback from St Mary’s to win its Round 5 match in Section 2.
St Mary’s started the game with the centre pass, however, Ivanhoe GD Lauren Henderson was quick to take an intercept to swing the momentum her team’s way.
It was a nervous start for Ivanhoe GS Ella Shannon who was hesitant to shoot early. After some back and forth with the ball between teams Ivanhoe GA Leanna Sartori scored the first goal of the match.
St Mary’s WD Simona Gruevski stole possession away from Ivanhoe which resulted in her teammate GS Biljana Cvijetic scoring their first goal.
It was the start of an outstanding game for Gruevski who took intercept after intercept throughout the game.
The first quarter was close with both teams making passing errors, however, Ivanhoe capitalised on St Mary’s errors the most, resulting in a five-goal lead at the end of the quarter.
In the opening of the second quarter, St Mary’s managed to turn the ball over on Ivanhoe’s centre pass, once again resulting in GS Cvijetic nailing a long shot.
With St Mary’s starting the second quarter a lot quicker, it was Ivanhoe GK Eliza Gorman-Jacobs taking a crucial intercept in defence that set up her side to stay ahead.
Ivanhoe’s shooters Shannon and Sartori started to gain more confidence as the game progressed thanks to well-placed passes from their C Olivia Marian and WA Maddison Seeley.
Although they started the quarter well, a series of errors by St Mary’s saw them fade away and fall behind by 10 goals.
The third quarter was much better for St Mary’s with their shooters finding more space close to the ring to shoot goals with confidence.
Ivanhoe’s shooters remained calm under pressure, continuing to push their team ahead despite St Mary’s improved defensive pressure, with Gruevski moved into GD and GK Nicole Tamburini getting her distance better over the ball to give away fewer obstructions.
The increased defensive pressure from St Mary’s was hurt by a few missed shots on goal, however, the team had lifted immensely compared to their last quarter and despite being down by 12 goals at the end of the quarter, something was building.
St Mary’s started the last term quicker and more accurate than previously. Their GA Nakita Lastrina had her team’s best quarter, scoring all nine of their goals making it their best of the match.
In defence, Gruevski and Tamburini worked well together to confuse the space in the goal circle, creating multiple turnovers by intercepting and rebounding as pressure mounted on Ivanhoe’s shooters.
St Mary’s managed to keep Ivanhoe goalless for the first six minutes of the quarter, trimming their lead down to five.
In the final few minutes, St Mary’s shooters were unable to follow the ball in once they’d let it go towards the ring and this allowed for Ivanhoe’s Henderson and Gorman-Jacobs to rebound the ball enough to keep their team in possession and ahead.
Aware of the time ticking away, Ivanhoe reignited to battle for every ball and rebound as St Mary’s missed shots on goal and the clock ticking became their downfall.
St Mary’s showed promise in the last quarter and kept Ivanhoe to only four goals, however, it was not enough to take control and win the game.
Final score: Ivanhoe 1 (33) def St Mary’s 1 (27)
Section 3 Round 5 – Thomastown 1 vs Heat 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Thomastown 1 and Heat 1 played out a close game of netball last Friday in their Section 3 Round 5 match.
The teams kept the game close until the final quarter, in which Heat were able to out run their opponents.
Heat came out of the gates early in the first quarter to sit ahead by two. But once Thomastown settled into the game, it began to get the scoreboard ticking over.
With only 20 seconds remaining in the opening quarter an intercept by Thomastown WD Lauren Newstead was passed into the circle and a contact by Heat allowed Thomastown GA Aleshia Thomas to tie the game 6-all.
Hitting the scoreboard early in the second quarter, Thomastown led by two. WA Brooke Chadwick fed the ball into the circle well, giving her shooters time and an opportunity to move closer to the post.
However, Heat were determined to not let the Bears get too large a lead on them.
The final minute of the second term saw Heat take on Thomastown with full force. With strong hands to take a rebound, Heat GS Michelle Kneale converted to tie the game once again.
The Bears were under pressure as the quarter came to a close. GS Julie Sims missed her shot at goal and Heat GD Cassie Wilcox took the rebound and launched the ball down court.
Her team rushed into the circle and took the lead at the end of the first half.
The first centre of the second half was taken by Thomastown, who were quick to get back on equal scores with Heat.
Keeping it tight for most of the quarter, Heat then ramped up their defensive line and gained crucial intercepts to increase their score.
Moving slightly ahead this quarter, Heat forced Thomastown into losing possession a few too many times in their shooting third, with Heat claiming the ball and scoring on turnovers to sit in front by five goals heading into the final quarter.
A long pass into Thomastown’s shooting third went astray early in the fourth term, as Heat found themselves going forward towards their attacking third.
Despite staying within touch, Thomastown couldn’t quite stick it out for the final term as the shooters tired and their passing lacked in accuracy, unable to match the strength of Heat for the full four quarters.
Final score: Thomastown 1 (19) def by Heat 1 (25)