A fast start by Diamond Creek 1 was the difference in a much-anticipated netball bout against the Fitzroy Stars 1.
Diamond Creek proved too polished across the court for the fast-paced Fitzroy Stars in the 42-30 victory at La Trobe Stadium in round two of grading in the 2021 winter season.
The contest was the top-billed match of the 49 played on Friday night, with the 10-time reigning NFNL winter Section 1 premiers continuing their perfect start to their season, defeating the 2020-21 NFNL summer Section 1 premiers.
After conceding the first goal, Diamond Creek went on to dominate the rest of the opening quarter, going into the first break with an 11-goal advantage.
Diamond Creek centre Chelsea Imanisani and wing defence Chylah Rogers dominated the mid-court, setting up goals and intercepting Fitzroy’s attacking plays.
Their work gave Diamond Creek’s attacking force plenty of opportunity, which was welcomed by Kelly Sadowy and Stacey Gannon who shot nine and six goals respectively in the opening term.
Fitzroy was able to stem the flow in the second quarter, with goal defence Lesila Seeta becoming a presence, intercepting several Diamond Creek’s lob passes.
Despite the Stars’ improved performance, Diamond Creek was still able to extend its buffer by a further goal, taking a 23-11 scoreline into the second half.
The third quarter saw Fitzroy attempt to change tactics by slowing down play, however they were unable to reduce the margin.
Diamond Creek improved their lead by a further goal in a 9-8 third term to enter the final quarter with a commanding 13-goal advantage.
Diamond Creek wing defence Chelsea Imanisani intercepted multiple Fitzroy passes in the centre third, while centre Brownyn Taylor was everywhere for Diamond Creek during the third term, delivering clean passes into the goal circle.
Fitzroy fought out the game to the final whistle and was able to reduce the margin by a solitary goal in the final term to cut the final margin to 12.
With the match seemingly safe in their keeping, Diamond Creek took a step back in the last quarter – slowing down play, with their shooters remaining very accurate on goal.
Fitzroy centre Hinemoa Seeto was a standout despite her side’s defeat, with her skilful passes a highlight.
Young gun Natasha Atkinson-Brown continued her superb summer season form – where she won both the best and fairest and Star Shooter, along with the best on ground medal in the grand final – scoring 28 of her side’s 30 goals.
Diamond Creek delivered a cohesive team performance to open the season, with shooters, Kelly Sadowy and Stacey Gannon in strong form.
The performance dispelled any thought that last year’s cancelled season would do anything to slow down the club’s dominance on the NFNL netball court.
Final score: Diamond Creek 1 (42) def Fitzroy Stars 1 (30)