A review of the 2018 Section 1-3 netball competitions.
Throughout the season five teams battled each other for the Section 1 title, however, one side dominated the competition.
Diamond Creek were the best team all season, finishing on top of the ladder and only losing one game to Greensborough in Round 14 by three goals. Diamond Creek shooter Kelly Sadowy topped Section 1 for the most goal scored shooting 434 throughout the season.
An intense Grand Final, against North Heidelberg, saw the Creekers come out victorious with their ninth-straight premiership making it their 10th out of 11 seasons.
Four of Diamond Creek’s players were named in the 2018 Section 1 Team Of The Year with Kelly Sadowy, Stacey Gannon, Georgia Bowkett and Verhonda Smith named in the squad – with Gannon becoming the first player to win three Section 1 best and fairest awards.
North Heidelberg’s home and away season saw highs and lows with eight wins and five losses seeing them place third on the ladder. However the Bulldogs saved their best for the finals, winning the first semi over Heidelberg and then the prelim over Greensborough to reach the grand final.
Two Bulldogs made their way into the Team Of The Year with Kate Butler and Rebecca Colwell named in the line-up.
Greensborough was the only team to beat Diamond Creek throughout the season and finished second on the ladder after a big win over South Morang in Round 17 saw them leap over North Heidelberg.
However, the Boro left the finals winless after losing to Diamond Creek by 21 goals in the semi final and then three goals in the prelim to North Heidelberg.
Although they fell short in the preliminary final, three players Greensborough players made the Team of the Year with Olivia Ellis, Charlie Seivers, and Madison Carroll landing positions on the team.
South Morang and Heidelberg had a tough season with both teams only winning four games, however, the Tigers ended up ahead of the Lions in fourth position with a better winning percentage.
Heidelberg came up against North Heidelberg in week one of finals and fell short by 21 goals, eliminating them from the premiership race.
Out of the two bottom sides, however, only South Morang has a player in the Team of the Year, with Paige Donker taking out the starting WD position.
Proving they’re the club to beat in the NFNL netball competition, Diamond Creek also topped the Section 2 ladder and won the Grand Final for the second year in a row.
Like their Section 1 team, Diamond Creek were in control of Section 2 throughout the season, only losing one game, which came against Ivanhoe in Round 2 by nine goals.
From there the Creekers dominated the eight-team competition, ending the season with 15 wins – three more than second-placed Ivanhoe, who they would go on to beat in the Grand Final.
Chloe Gray was rewarded for an outstanding season – sharing the competition with Ivanhoe’s Lauren Henderson. Both players were also part of the NFNL’s under-19 representative team that beat the EFL.
Gray was one of two Diamond Creek players in the 2018 Section 2 Team Of The Year, along with Mollie Rose Marchbank – who also finished in the top five of the best and fairest voting.
Ivanhoe finished the season second on the ladder with 12 wins and 5 losses and lost the grand final by six goals.
The young side’s efforts were recognised with four of players named in the the Team of the Year, including best and fairest winner Lauren Henderson ans star shooter Aysha Blade, who finished the year as the leading goal scorer. Olivia Marian and Ebyan Cabdi were also named in the team.
Greensborough finished third on the ladder but lost their first semi final to the Fitzroy Stars nine goals. The Boro had a strong defence, which was recognised with two of Boro’s defenders making the Team Of The Year – namely Belinda Giouskos and Emily Carpenter.
Rounding out the top four were the Fitzroy Stars with nine wins and eight losses. After winning their first semi final, the Stars narrowly lost the preliminary final to Ivanhoe by only five goals.
Heidelberg and Northcote Park finished fifth and sixth on the ladder respectively with Laurimar and St Mary’s finishing seventh and eighth.
Despite ending the season in the bottom two places on the ladder, one player from Laurimar and St Mary each made the Team of the Year, with the Power’s Chelsea Kemp and the Burra’s Jaqueline Harrington named in the Section 2 side.
An eight-team competition saw Bundoora named premiers after finishing the season on top of the ladder with 14 wins and three losses, before capping their stellar season with a 20-goal victory over Watsonia in the Grand Final.
It was a true team performance from the Comets throughout the season, with only one player from the premiers making the Team of the Year – Jacinta Tonkin named in WA. Tonkin and co-coach Vince Bruno were named coach of the team.
Watsonia finished second on the Section 3 ladder, only winning one less game than Bundoora in the home and away season. After losing the second semi final by 14 goals to Bundoora, the Saints went on to power home over Heat in the preliminary final by 16 goals, before falling short in the premiership decider.
Three of Watsonia’s players made the Team of the Year, with Rebecca Jennings Jessica Schumann and Georgia Cornell all named.
Heat found themselves in third position on the ladder after winning 11 games during the season. Three players made the Team Of The Year with Cassie Wilcox, Angela Sanderson and Crystal Phillips listed on the team.
Phillips tied for the best and fairest award with Craigieburn’s Holly Denholm – with the latter making history as her side’s first ever winner of a competition best and fairest award in the NFNL.
Craigieburn finished fourth on the ladder with eight wins and a draw. The draw is the only thing separating the competition newcomers from fifth-placed Thomastown, who also ended the season on eight wins.
Craigieburn’s Denholm was the only player from her side to make the Team Of The Year, named at GK, while two Thomastown players were included, namely WD Lauren Newstead and competition leading goal shooter Lauren O’Rourke.
North Heidelberg finished sixth on the ladder with seven wins, followed by Heidelberg in seventh with five wins and Diamond Creek in eighth with two victories.