As finals got underway in our NFNL winter netball competition, NFNL netball reporter Elly Kirlis had an eye on some of the many intriguing fixtures that took place at La Trobe Sports Stadium on Friday night.
Ivanhoe 2 have advanced to the Section 2 preliminary final after defeating Montmorency 1 by five goals while Epping 3 eased their way into the Section 9 grand final after a comfortable 15 goal victory over Kilmore 3.
Section 2: Montmorency 1 vs Ivanhoe 2
It was a close contest all night with just one-point separating the two sides at three quarter time, but an eight goal to four last term secured Ivanhoe’s 33-28 victory.
Greta Gorman-Jacobs led the scoring for Ivanhoe with 30 goals. She was excellent in the front court and played a big role in her side’s victory. The defensive end of Alexandra Roseman and Ava Tarau held up strongly also.
For the Magpies, Danielle Vickery-Howe scored 18 majors, while Morgan Jones and Casey Jewell contributed with nine and five goals respectively.
This was a highly anticipated clash as although Montmorency were the higher placed team, and defeated Ivanhoe by seven goals in their only other meeting in Round 3, the Magpies had lost their last four matches in the competition, meaning they’d have to change their fortunes against an opposition who had won two of their last four games.
Girman-Jacobs got things going from the opening whistle, helping Ivanhoe produce a 11 goal to six opening quarter by scoring 10 of the 11 majors.
Montmorency’s Jessie Thomas-Connor also had a brilliant start to the quarter, threading the needle into the shooters, whilst Ivanhoe’s wing defence Zoe Bell worked hard as contesting for intercepts.
The second quarter belonged to the Magpies, winning the quarter by three goals and forcing Ivanhoe to make mistakes.
Ivanhoe did fight back late in the quarter, with their physicality in the shooting circle increasing, and as a result they kept their lead at the main break.
In a tight third quarter, the Magpies again won the quarter but the excellent defensive work from Ivanhoe meant they still had the lead at three quarter time.
Tarau and Roseman stood tall for their side, shutting down the offensive drives of Montmorency, whilst also doing a great job beginning the transition into attack.
In an entertaining final term, Ivanhoe were able to break through the strong Magpies defence, with their immense pressure forcing their opponents to make silly mistakes before capitalising in attack.
That pressure translated with an eight goal to four final term that secured Ivanhoe’s spot in next week’s preliminary final.
Section 9: Epping 3 vs Kilmore 3
In a top of the table blockbuster semi-final, Epping 3 have set a statement to the rest of the teams, after defeating Kilmore 3 by 15 goals at La Trobe Sports Stadium.
Competition leading shooter Ebony Albon was once again hard to stop in the attacking circle, shooting 20 goals, while Amanda Matthews also provided a great avenue to goal, shooting 14 majors.
Vanessa Smith top scored for Kilmore with seven majors with Alexandra Byrnes also keeping busy in the midcourt.
Epping finished the home and away campaign as minor premiers with only one blemish for the season. But that loss happened to be their Friday night opponents back in Round 8, when Kilmore prevailed by a solitary goal, setting up a long-awaited semi-final.
In a hot start and with a point to prove, Epping scored the opening four majors of the game to put Kilmore on the backfoot early, before things settled down and Kilmore slowly came back into the contest.
Albon started well with six first term majors and it continued in the second quarter when she added a further five goals to her tally.
Epping’s quick ball movement was too much for Kilmore in the first half, although Logan Scott was a spark for them in the defensive end.
Although Kilmore were still in touching distance, Epping had all the momentum in with a six-goal half time lead.
Kilmore would start the third term with a strong opening few minutes before Epping’s centre, Natalie Parente, stepped up for her side, putting her body on the line and contesting some tough contests.
The momentum then shifted into Epping’s favour again, allowing them to establish a nine-goal three quarter time lead.
Never looking back as the final term got underway, Epping’s entire team went to another level, dominating at both ends of the court to produce an impressive 10 goal to four last quarter and prevail by 15 goals.