Remarkable turnaround sends Stars into Grand Final

Published on Monday, March 20, 2023

Author : Josh Ward

An astonishing fourth quarter comeback from Fitzroy Stars 1 sent their Section 6 semi-final clash with Hume 3 into extra time on Friday night, before the Stars prevailed by two goals in an intense match up at La Trobe Sports Stadium.

The Stars faced an eight-goal deficit at three quarter time before piling on 10 goals to two in order to force two lots of additional time. They then kept Hume goalless in the first period of extra time while managing to find a couple of extra goals in both periods to wrap up a 28-26 victory.

It was the Stars’ fourth consecutive victory as well as their second successive triumph over minor premiers Hume. It means this Friday’s Grand Final will see them face off with the only side to defeat them in Section 6 this season in Thomastown 4, with the club aiming to claim their first summer netball flag since their 2020-21 Section 1 premiership.

Stars goal attack Samantha McKissack had another stellar performance in the shooting circle finishing with nine majors in just two quarters, as well as two further goals in extra time, while Kiarna Atkinson also contributed with 10 goals. Goalkeeper Taylor Cook fought gallantly in all six periods in defence.

Alisha Izlemek continued her good form for Hume and contributed 15 of her side’s 26 goals. Paige Ryan was the standout for her side in defence.

It was a close contest in the opening stages of the match, with the minor premiers doing enough to hold on to a slender one goal lead at quarter time thanks to two last minute majors.

Hume continued to build momentum at the start of the second term, looking to increase their advantage, before the Stars began to break even before the halfway point of the term.

The Stars defence was able to stand firm, conceding only six goals in the term. However, with only three goals in the second quarter themselves, they went into the main break trailing by four majors.

It was a similar story throughout the third term, with the Stars trying to keep up, whilst Hume, led by Izlemek and Isabella Mifsud, continued to get on top of the contest.

As they did in the first, Hume were able to produce two quick goals to finish the third term, producing a nine-goal quarter and extending their margin to eight.

Fitzroy Stars then turned things around soon after the final quarter commenced, with great defensive plays keeping a dangerous Hume attack quiet. They would go on to concede just two goals for the entire fourth period as well as start to suddenly reduce the deficit throughout the term.

With under a minute left, the Stars tied things up and held firm defensively once again to make scores level at the end of regulation.

The Stars opened extra time with a goal inside two minutes before holding off Hume’s constant attacking threats to keep a narrow lead. Another late goal put the Fitzroy Stars up by two.

Hume started the second period of extra time determined to take back the lead, scoring the first goal two minutes in.

But the Stars responded immediately with a major of their own before the strong Stars defensive unit absorbed the pressure from the Hume attackers to maintain their two goal lead and secure their spot in the Section 6 Grand Final.

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