A review of the Sections 5-8 netball grand finals at Parade College.
Section 5 Grand Final – Macleod 1 vs Craigieburn 2
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Craigieburn stormed to their first premiership in their first season in the NFNL after keeping Macleod goalless in the third quarter of their Section 5 grand final.
Despite the final result, it was Macleod who settled into the game quicker with GS Annie Bugden looking confident under the ring.
Craigieburn’s defensive pressure kept them close, with their tight defensive work forcing Macleod to move the ball in slowly.
Macleod were in front by two goals at the end of the first quarter and with the following centre pass in their favour they quickly scored again after C Hayley Carter fed the ball in well over Craigieburn’s defenders.
By the time the second quarter reached its halfway point, Macleod found themselves out to a six-goal lead ,with Craigieburn still struggling to move the ball down court consistently.
A late charge from Craigieburn, however, saw them quickly get a few goals back as they finally settled into the match.
They often say third quarters win grand finals and for Craigieburn it did.
They came out firing with WD Chloe Wilkes intercepting the ball on Macleod’s centre pass. Macleod’s Mollie McKeown then intercepted the ball straight back, however, a bad pass further down the court saw Craigieburn quickly convert.
Only two goals behind and with the centre pass in their favour, Craigieburn WA Maggie Finnerty did well to feed the ball into the circle under pressure from Macleod’s GD Lily McKeown and GK Jessica Bartlett – who were applying tight one on one pressure in the goal circle.
As Craigieburn crept closer, Macleod faltered a replayed ball in their goal circle costing them and allowing Craigieburn to draw level.
A rushed pass into the goal circle almost stopped Craigieburn from hitting the front, however, some smart footwork from their GS Amanda Matthews kept the ball in play and was backed up by her teammate C Ella Stoward who then returned the ball to Matthews for the goal.
Craigieburn played smart defensively, forcing Macleod to pass wide and creating turnovers as Macleod fumbled with the ball.
Macleod had a few good moments during the third quarter with an impressive intercept from GK Bartlett and good work on the circle edge from WA Carter, however, their failure to convert saw them lose the lead – falling five behind at the last break.
Macleod scored quickly in the final quarter after a contact call went against Craigieburn in their goal circle. They then scored again with their GA McKeown doing a wealth of work to get in front of her opponent.
Down the other end of the court, the battle in the goal circle continued as Macleod tightened their defence on Craigieburn’s shooters.
A good rebound from Macleod GK Bartlett turned into a missed opportunity as she gave Craigieburn GS Matthews a hip to the side that was picked up on by the umpire and resulted in a Craigieburn goal.
Still down by five goals halfway through the quarter, Macleod’s mistakes began to add up with desperate attempts to intercept resulting in late challenges and subsequent contact calls.
With just under four minutes remaining, Craigieburn had pushed their lead out to nine goals, with GK Abigail Sergienko and GD Chrissy Finnerty making plenty of rebounds.
The crowd cheered on Craigieburn as they doubled their five-goal lead to 10 in the final minute of play.
However, Macleod weren’t finished yet with GS Bugden slotting in an impressive long bomb and then scoring again off a Craigieburn fumble to lessen the final margin in the last 40 seconds.
Best on court went to Craigieburn C Ella Stoward, who was impressive throughout the match.
Final score: Craigieburn 2 (30) def Macleod 1 (22)
Section 6 Grand Final – Laurimar 2 vs Hurstbridge 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
A tight contest between Laurimar and Hurstbridge saw the Bridges take out the Section 6 premiership with a one-goal grand final win.
Both teams started well, working the ball into their shooters with neither side looking nervous.
Laurimar had the centre pass advantage to start which set them up for a good quarter. However, Hurstbridge’s defensive effort but pressure onto the Power’s passing early.
Bridges’ GD Danielle Apted and GK Kylie Christian kept close to their opponents and tried to deflect and intercept every ball in the air, putting pressure on Laurimar to feed the ball with precision.
The Power went into the second quarter a goal up and with the first centre pass their way again. However, a pick up from Hurstbridge C Samantha Gunn allowed the Bridges to draw level, before a strong drive saw GA Tamasin Krakouer score and Hurstbridge take the lead.
Despite some hesitant feeding into the circle due to Hurstbridge’s defensive duo confusing the space well, Laurimar C Kezia Hallam and WA Lucinda Anderson worked well together to split the circle edge.
Hurstbridge were more poised than their opponents in the second quarter with their passes quick and direct, making it hard for Laurimar to intercept.
After the difference pushed out to four goals, Power GD Samantha Lynn was able to rebound a missed Hurstbridge goal and as a result, her team got one back. They then narrowed the scores again with the next centre pass, leaving them only two goals down at the main break.
Laurimar once again scored of their centre pass and then a breaking call against Hurstbridge saw them draw level.
Neck and neck, the Bridges tightened up their defence once again, forcing Laurimar to move the ball slowly and carefully. Intercepts from both Hurstbridge’s defenders GK Apted and GD Kendra Vann were crucial in their team escaping to front position again.
The Bridges then managed to extend their lead in the final minute of the quarter after a Laurimar missed goal went out and the ball flew down to Hurstbridge GS Amy Fisher, who scored and then scored again with only a few seconds to go.
Down by four heading into the last quarter, Laurimar fought their way back into the game. A contact call against Hurstbridge in their goal circle gave Laurimar a boost with their GA Chloe Freeman finding room in the circle to score.
A missed goal from the Bridges was quickly rebounded by the Power’s GK Brittany Talbot and converted into a goal by their GS Elliott.
Sensing Laurimar coming back, Hurstbridge appeared the most nervous they’d looked during the entire game with the ball being thrown over a third on their next centre pass before they settled back down.
With three minutes remaining, the Power found themselves down by four. A call against Hurstbridge made the crowd erupt as Laurimar charged into their goal circle and scored. The next centre pass in their favour, Power GS Elliott then scored again under immense pressure.
With only a minute and a half left Hurstbridge moved a little too quickly into their goal circle and despite their desperate attempts to keep the ball in, it went out.
Looking up at the clock, Laurimar knew they only had 40 seconds to score.
They managed to escape their defensive third quickly, passing between each other to work the ball down court, however, a stepping call went against them in the centre third.
Hurstbridge played possession netball, slowly passing back and forth between each other to run the clock down, before going forwards for a final shot. The shot missed, however, with only four seconds remaining, Laurimar ran out of time to tie the game and force extra time.
Hurstbridge GS Amy Fisher was named best on court.
Final score: Hurstbridge 1 (30) def Laurimar 2 (29)
Section 7 Grand Final – Whittlesea 1 vs Montmorency 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Montmorency 1 claimed the Section 7 netball premiership with a three-goal win over Whittlesea 1 in the grand final.
Following a thrilling semi-final when the sides last met, the grand final came down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter, with the Magpies holding off a late Whittlesea fightback.
Both teams were quick to find their way into the game – converting early goals to get the scoreboard ticking.
A contact call for interference against Whittlesea was then followed by an offside from their C Courtney Fowles, helping Montmorency push ahead by two goals.
Montmorency GS Kaitlin Muscat was fed a lob into a position under the post in the goal circle and put through another for the Magpies.
Whittlesea saved their centre, turning over the ball from Montmorency before they could score.
A contact against Whittlesea GK Carissa Grant gave Montmorency a penalty shot before the end of the quarter to lead by two.
Whittlesea lifted in the second, with GA Rebecca Wallis deadly accurate on the long shots she took for goals.
The Eagles mid-court pressure made it hard for Montmorency to clear the third and forced a held ball against the side.
Whittlesea GK Grant had perfect timing on rebounds as her side quickly tied the game, with the scoreboard at 11-all.
But with the Eagles threatening to push in front but Montmorency kept calm and re-collected themselves, scoring the final two goals of the quarter to take a 13-11 lead into half time.
A turnover on the centre pass gave the first goal of the third quarter to Whittlesea. The Eagles soon added a second and tied the game once again.
With the momentum their way and by keeping control of the ball to start the half, Whittlesea soon added another goals to push ahead for the first time in the game.
Montmorency GD Madeleine Kreutzer intercepted a ball but her team rushed its passes down down the court and lost possession.
However, with their opponents on top, Montmorency’s defence managed to put a lot of pressure on Whittlesea’s shooters
The Magpies were able to level the scores at 17-all and with no team able to score in the final minutes of the quarter, the teams headed into the last term with even scores.
A couple of hiccups in Whittlesea’s attack gave away possession to Montmorency. The Magpies were quick to turn the errors into scoreboard pressure and raced out to a three-goal lead.
With the premiership hanging in the balance, cautions were given to both sides for the high contact count.
Montmorency was able to hold its lead throughout an impressive final quarter display, with the Magpies ahead 25-22 at the final whistle.
The best on court medallion was awarded to Montmorency C Rebecca Gagliardi.
Final score: Montmorency 1 (25) def Whittlesea 1 (22)
Section 8 Grand Final – Thomastown 3 vs Greensborough 4
by Marisa Sopcic
The Section 8 grand final between Thomastown 3 and Greensborough 4 kept spectators on the edge of their seats, with the Boro winning a thriller to claim the flag.
The teams reunited after a close semi final, in which Thomastown won by three. Friday night’s grand final delivered another nail-biting finish, with an even closer final margin.
Kicking off the first quarter, Greensborough scored the opening goal.
Boro shooters Olivia Turner-Dickson and Sarah Green utilised the baseline well, making short leads to the ball from clean passes under the ring, as their side raced to a 4-1 lead.
However, as the quarter extended, the Boro struggled to convert some chances which allowed Bears’ defenders Tamara Geddes and Rechelle McSwain to take possession of the ball.
Greensborough finished the first term ahead 8-5 and took the first centre but were unable to score from their first foray forward.
Thomastown pushed the ball towards the goals where GA Tanae Creek scored to close the deficit.
It was a low-scoring second term, however, Greensborough’s mid-court pressure forced a few turnovers in their favour which kept them in front by two at half time.
Back on court for the third quarter, Thomastown wasted no time to score the first goal and soon enough the Bears had tied the game at 12-all.
The Bears threatened to lead with each centre pass, but Boro maintained steady heads under the mounting pressure and continued to push ahead by a goal.
Thomastown C Claire Poulter drew a contact call for a free pass into the goal circle, where she delivered to GA Creek, who scored to tie the game at 15-all.
The third quarter was neck and neck, with the teams only separated by a maximum of one at each centre pass.
The scores were locked at 17-all at the end of the term, setting up a grandstand finish in the last quarter.
Thomastown had a strong start to push ahead by three goals in the opening minutes.
But just as their opponents looked like running away with the game, Greensborough settled again, finding space on court to feed forward and put up some goals.
In the final minute of play the game was tied at 23 all, before Greensborough GA Cassie Long put in a shot to put the Boro ahead.
Thomastown took possession from the centre pass, however the Bears were unable to find a target inside their goal circle and a contact call went Greensborough’s way.
From there the Boro were able maintain possession and run down the clock, eventually feeding in to GS Olivia Turner-Dickson who scored with just seconds remaining as the Boro clinched the premiership.
The best on court was awarded to Greensborough’s Olivia Turner-Dickson.
Final score: Greensborough 4 (25) def Thomastown 3 (23)