A review of Round 7 netball action in the Northern Football Netball League.
Section 1 Round 7 – Diamond Creek 1 vs North Heidelberg 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
A top of the ladder clash between Diamond Creek and North Heidelberg saw the Creekers win in a cliffhanger.
North Heidelberg started the match with the first centre pass, however, were unable to score off it after a missed goal created a turnover.
Diamond Creek struggled to move the ball forwards with only five players on the court to start the game. They eventually worked the ball down to their GS Kelly Sadowy who scored.
With the next centre pass in the Creekers favour, North Heidelberg were able to apply pressure and cause a turn over that gave them an edge with a goal and then another goal from their centre pass.
Diamond Creek finally had seven players on the court after almost five minutes of play and it boosted them, allowing their C Chloe Lambert to move around the court more freely to find space and propel the ball forwards.
The Bulldogs got out to an early three-goal lead before a missed goal allowed Diamond Creek to score and then score again off their centre to get them level with North Heidelberg with four minutes remaining in the first term.
By the end of the first quarter, the Creekers were in the lead by two goals 15-13.
The second quarter saw North Heidelberg’s Chloe Meulenmeesters move from GS into GK and her impact was immediately felt as she continuously moved out of the circle to hunt for any intercept that could be available.
The Creekers and the Bulldogs both managed to turn over the ball in their favour quite a bit during the second quarter, however, both teams played well defensively to turn the ball back their way keeping the scores close.
North Heidelberg hit the front again with around eight minutes left in the quarter after an intercept from GD Lauren Close allowed for Ellen Close to score.
An intercept from Diamond Creek GK Verhonda Smith brought the Creekers back level before a foot on the line during a throw-in from North Heidelberg let Diamond Creek GA Stacey Gannon shoot to put her team ahead once again.
Both teams continued to work hard in the final few minutes of the first half, however, Diamond Creek managed to stay in control to still be in the lead by two goals at the break.
Another rebound from Diamond Creek GK Smith resulted in another goal for the Creekers during the first few minutes of the third quarter and extended their lead to three goals, however, North Heidelberg fought back.
An intercept from Bulldogs GK Stacey Parks combined with good feeding from C Maddison Wallmeyer put the ball to the advantage of GS Rebecca Colwell for a shot on goal that drew the sides once again.
Creekers C Lambert took an intercept that resulted in another goal and pushed her team back out to lead once again and from there Diamond Creek took control of the third quarter.
Smart defence from the Creekers GD Georgia Bowkett saw her put her body in front of her opposition and run hard to try to intercept. It paid off and resulted in slower feeds into North Heidelberg’s shooters.
When opportunities presented, North Heidelberg GS Colwell and GA E Close continued to put the ball up to keep their side within three goals at the end of the third term.
The beginning of the fourth quarter saw North Heidelberg’s C Wallmeyer call time after a small clash that put an end to her good game and saw Kate Butler pull on the centre bib.
Despite having fresh legs on the court North Heidelberg began to fade away a little at the start of the final quarter with Diamond Creek furthering their lead to six within the first three minutes.
Good passing from North Heidelberg and a few mistakes from Diamond Creek brought the Bulldogs back into the game with players on both sides quickly moving from attack into defence to try and swing the ball back in their favour.
North Heidelberg’s feeds into GS Colwell started to become predictable as the Creekers’ defensive duo GD Bowkett and GK Smith started to read the play more and more. However, down the other end, Bulldogs’ defensive pair Meulenmeesters L Close were doing the same.
Rushed passes from multiple North Heidelberg players as time ticked down were intercepted or fell out of court stopping them from being able to change the lead during the final few minutes, as Diamond Creek held on to win by two.
Final score: Diamond Creek 1 (60) def North Heidelberg 1 (58)
Section 2 Round 7 – St. Mary’s 1 vs Greensborough 2
by Stephanie Smarrelli
An early lead from Greensborough allowed them to stay in control of their Section 2 Round 7 match as St. Mary’s mounted a come-back.
It was a slow start for both teams, with errors being made across the court.
Greensborough GS Paris Bosschieter stepped with her first possession and down the other end of the court St Mary’s GS Biljana Cvijetic missed her first shot on goal, resulting in the Boro’s GA Ema Blatancic scoring the first goal after almost two minutes of play.
Greensborough’s defensive duo GK Emily Carpenter and GD Ashleigh Weir were very effective during the first quarter, moving around the circle with their opponents to place doubt in the mind of St Mary’s feeders WA Nakita Lastrina and C Jaqueline Harrington.
This caused the Burra duo to at times take almost the entire three seconds to throw the ball and also caused GA Elise Garwood to hold the ball for too long.
Greensborough were up 3-0 in the first half of the quarter before an intercept by St Mary’s GD Alanna Ward finally resulted in a goal. The Boro fumbled with the ball in attack multiple times and allowed St. Mary’s to draw level with three minutes remaining in the quarter.
A strong lean from Carpenter over Cvijetic turned over the ball again in favour of the Boro, however, it didn’t get far as St Mary’s Alanna Ward turned the ball over for her team.
Towards the end of the first quarter, Greensborough started to find rhythm with their C Imogen Ashworth threading herself across the court well.
St Mary’s were only down by two goals at the start of the second term, however, missed opportunities would push them further behind by the quarter’s end.
Greensborough started the quarter swiftly with a rebound from GD Weir resulting in a goal from a much more confident Bosschieter after nailing a long bomb.
St Mary’s C Harrington defended her opponent Ashley Richmond well in the second quarter, however, was unable to turn the ball over.
The addition of Lilli Florance for the Boro in goal attack opened the shooting circle up more as she was able to find room around St Mary’s defenders to speed to free space along the baseline to score.
There were good signs from St Mary’s at times, led by GD Ward and GK Nicole Tamburini, who challenged as many loose balls as they could.
Despite this, by the end of the first half St Mary’s were 10 goals down, however, they continued to fight for the ball in the second half.
St Mary’s made fewer costly mistakes in the third quarter and their connections from defence into attack started to flow more, with a mid-court switch up that saw Lauren Christian move into C, Lastrina move into WD and Harrington move into WA.
Greensborough continued to move the ball into their shooters consistently, however, the improvement in St Mary’s mid-court made it harder for them to turn over the ball.
Although lifting tremendously in attack and outscoring Greensborough by a goal in the third quarter, St Mary’s still found themselves down by nine at the final break.
A determined St Mary’s took to the court at the start of the fourth quarter that saw them try to come-back and win against tough opposition.
An intercept from St Mary’s WD Lastrina sparked her teammates in the opening play of the fourth term, resulting in a much-needed goal from GA Cvijetic.
The Boro’s swift movement down the court backfired a little in the final quarter with St Mary’s GD Ward moving quickly to read the play and turn the ball over multiple times, as she had been all game.
Missed goals from the Boro resulted in their worst quarter of the match and gave St Mary’s the chance to comeback, despite strong efforts from Greensborough’s defensive duo GK Carpenter and GD Florance as well as WD Ashworth.
The final few minutes of the match were intense, with St Mary’s chipping away at Greensborough’s dominant lead, however, Greensborough slowed down to ensure they kept possession.
In the end St Mary’s ran out of time despite a well-fought come-back to lose to the Boro by three goals.
Final score: Greensborough 2 (31) def St Mary’s 1 (28)
Section 2 Round 7 – Laurimar 1 vs Heidelberg 2
by Marisa Sopcic
Heidelberg 2 managed keep up the pace to win across four quarters to win a close Section 2 game by seven against Laurimar 1.
Setting the tone for the game to come, the teams were tied at 4-all just minutes into the first quarter.
This kept running for the remainder of the quarter as the sides matched each-other to finish 9-all at the end of the first.
It was even scores for the most part of the first half, with the second quarter again proving to be a tough contest, as the defence of each team took intercepts and rebounds in the circle to stop their opposition from pushing ahead.
Sitting just one goal down, Laurimar took the centre for the opening of the second half.
The mid-court pressure by Heidelberg’s Kyra Athanitis, Emily Rowe and Mackenzie Blakey, forced a held ball which was soon converted into a goal.
Laurimar GA Rachel Kemp, was confident in her long shots around the circle, keeping her team in the game despite the small lead Heidelberg had taken this quarter.
Heidelberg shooters Hailey Donahoo and Bridget Mclaren moved in sync around the circle to find the best positions next to the post. From there they had first hands to all rebounds, setting their team up with a four-goal lead nearing the end of the third.
Laurimar dropped slightly in the third allowing Heidelberg to expand on a lead, but with a quarter still to go and just three goals between teams, the Round 7 match came down to the final quarter.
Laurimar’s attack remained in control of their possession as their shooters worked around within the circle to get to their optimum shooting space.
Laurimar defenders Hayley Birch and Mariah Craven got hand to ball on many occasions, but the girls were unable to take full possession, allowing Heidelberg to re-take control of netball and make their shots on second attempts.
Making just a few too many errors around the circle halted the comeback of Laurimar.
Heidelberg worked the ball cleanly down the court late in the contest to remain in front of their competition and take home the win.
Final score: Heidelberg 2 (37) def Laurimar 1 (31)
Section 2 Round 7 – Fitzroy Stars 1 vs Diamond Creek 2
by Marisa Sopcic
A close contest between sixth-placed Fitzroy Stars and second-place Diamond Creek almost ended in an upset as the Stars made Diamond Creek work hard in their Round 7 win.
The tight contest began with Diamond Creek getting the first goal of the match, before Fitzroy came in hot for the second.
Heavy pressure by both defences in the first quarter saw a lot of turnovers between the teams. This kept the score low, with the sides locked at 4-all with just minutes remaining in the first.
Diamond Creek trailed by two at quarter time but took the opening centre pass in the second term. Hitting two quick goals, it wasn’t long before they were again tied with the Stars.
It took the Stars almost half a quarter to get their first score on the board in the second term, while Diamond Creek found it a lot easier this quarter to score some goals.
Defenders Alicia Kruske and Melissa Whitten applied strong pressure on the Stars shooters and sent the ball down to their attacking third to score goals.
A few contact calls against the Diamond Creek defence helped the Stars come back to within three goals before the end of the first half.
The Stars continued to eat into their deficit in the third term and sat just one goal behind Diamond Creek.
In a closely contested quarter of netball, Diamond Creek made a late rush before the three-quarter time siren to make multiple shots and lead by five goals heading into the final quarter.
The Stars got off to a good start in the fourth quarter, scoring the opening two goals. Diamond Creek appeared almost to be rattled in the beginning as the Stars came back to a one goal difference after just a few minutes of play.
The Stars had the centre pass and a chance to tie the game. However, GS Atkinson contacted her player around the circle with just a minute left on the clock, and a call was made against her.
This gave Diamond Creek possession and they were able to push the ball forward and sink a quick goal. With the next centre the Creekers went into the circle once again to score.
With the game on the line it was Diamond Creek who remained calm and in control to take out a three-goal win.
Final score: Diamond Creek 2 (27) def Fitzroy Stars (24)