Reviews of each of the five 2018-19 NFNL Summer Netball grand finals, which were played at Parade College on Friday.
Section 1 Grand Final – Fitzroy Stars 1 vs St Mary’s 1
Fitzroy Stars claimed the 2018-19 Section 1 Summer premiership with a six-goal win over St Mary’s.
The Stars claimed the flag with a 35-29 triumph at Parade College on Friday night.
The Stars led right throughout the grand final but were made to work until the end by a gallant Burra outfit.
Stars goal attack Brigitte Linares was adjudged best on court for her fine display.
The first quarter began as an arm wrestle as the two sides traded goals at either ends of the court.
Caitlyn McLeod and Casey Barnes had an absorbing match-up in the midcourt, with both feeding the ball well throughout the first term.
The Stars went into the first break with a 9-8 lead, but it was in the second term that they made the decisive break.
With goal shooter Natasha Atkinson Brown in red-hot form, the Stars were able to break away to an eight-goal lead by half time.
Atkinson Brown was unstoppable throughout the quarter, shooting 11 of her side’s 13 goals to help the Stars to a 22-14 advantage.
St Mary’s was able to regroup after the half-time interval, with the scoring becoming much more difficult for the Stars in a tight third quarter.
Jacqueline Kitto and Brooke Lloyd held the fort in defence for the Burra, while Biljana Cvijetic and Abbie Barnes shared the scoring throughout the term.
Despite the scoring drying up in the third term, the Stars were able to maintain their comfortable advantage and led 28-20 heading into the final quarter.
The intensity was high at the beginning of the fourth quarter, however the Stars played the situation perfectly to never be truly threatened.
Anita North moved into centre to replace McLeod, while Rikki Bamblett returned to wing attack, where she had started the game.
Four goals in the final term saw Natasha Atkinson Brown finish the match with 25 goals, while Biljana Cvijetic was St Mary’s leading scorer with 15.
St Mary’s never gave up on the contest, but despite winning the final term 9-7, they were never able to close in far enough to pull off a come-from-behind win.
The result capped a dominant summer season for the Stars, who won seven of their eight regular season matches before beating St Mary’s twice in the finals series.
Despite the loss, St Mary’s did take away some silverware on the night with Casey Barnes winning the Section 1 best and fairest.
Barnes polled 12 votes to finish one ahead of Fitzroy Stars defender Klarindah Hudson. Fellow Star Jessica Bamblett was third.
Natasha Atkinson Brown took out the Star Shooter award with 165 goals in the regular season.
Final score: Fitzroy Stars 1 (39) def St Mary’s 1 (29)
Section 2 Grand Final – Bundoora 2 vs Kilmore 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
A relentless Bundoora 2 came out victorious against Kilmore 1 in a grand final showdown that went into overtime.
Bundoora started the match well with a quick three goals, however, it was not long before Kilmore struck back.
Neither team appeared settled on the court with frantic passing and only a goal separating them at the first break with Kilmore in the lead.
The intensity between the two teams lifted in the second with plenty of competitive match-ups across the court.
Kilmore’s WD was cautioned early in the second for one late challenge against Bundoora’s WA on the circle edge.
Feeds from the Bulls into their shooters were pinpoint, however, they were under plenty of pressure from Kilmore’s defensive pairing in the circle.
At the end of the first half, a single goal was still separating the teams with Kilmore maintaining their lead.
The Blues pushed harder in the third quarter finally extending their lead into two in the last 20 seconds by intercepting the ball and then apply pressure over every pass to stop Bundoora from scoring one in the quarter’s dying seconds.
The intensity both on the court and in the stands during the fourth quarter was like that of a gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games.
Every single player out on the court gave their all, Kilmore started the quarter in front but a few tiny errors let Bundoora back in.
A missed goal from the Blues resulted in a quick rebound from the Bulls GK and Bundoora swiftly converted edging in front of their opponents with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Bundoora were unable to maintain the lead however with a few rebounds and turnovers bringing Kilmore back out in the lead putting Bundoora two goals behind.
The Bulls threw everything at Kilmore in the last 90 seconds of the quarter only needing one turnover to force the match into overtime.
A contact call against Kilmore in their attacking third robbed them of the opportunity to take a three-goal lead with the Bulls moving carefully but quickly to deliver the ball to their GA who slotted in the goal placing them only one behind.
With the centre pass now in their favour, Bundoora sent the ball back into their goal circle for another goal to draw level with Kilmore.
The Blues had enough time for one last play to claim victory in the quarter, however, with emotions running high a stray pass resulted in another contact call against them, giving the Bulls possession as time ran out.
The match went into extra time with both teams hungry for the win. After an already physical and fast game, the players were forced to take the court for another 10 minutes, playing 5 minutes each way.
At the end of the first five minutes, Bundoora had snuck ahead of Kilmore by a goal with a timely intercept from their WD keeping Kilmore from scoring off their centre pass.
One goal in front with the centre pass in their favour Bundoora needed to make every pass perfect and nail every shot at goal to keep Kilmore at bay.
The Bulls delivered in the final five minutes, using the centre to give themselves a two-goal lead.
As the game wore on a few shots taken under pressure went wary for the Kilmore shooters who had been confident slotting most attempts all game, while Bundoora’s shooters who hadn’t been as accurate earlier found it within themselves to nail all of their attempts in the final few minutes.
Making the most of Kilmore’s nerves, Bundoora powered home to the win with a long bomb from their GS cementing Bundoora a four-goal win.
Despite losing the match, Best on Court was awarded to Kilmore’s Ella Stoward and the Star Shooter for the season went to Kilmore’s Ruby Sommerville with 130 goals.
The Best and Fairest was given to Bundoora’s Aleigha Walters who received 13 votes.
Final score: Bundoora 2 (34) def Kilmore 1 (30)
Section 3 Grand Final – Montmorency 1 vs Hurstbridge 1
by Marisa Sopcic
After narrowly defeating Bundoora 3 last week Hurstbridge 1 came up against Montmorency 1 on Friday night in the Section 3 Grand Final.
Montmorency took the first centre but the defence of both teams kept the ball in tight play, until Magpies GS Amy Dillon was able to make the first goal of the game.
A held ball was called Montmorency way, but Hurstbridge were able to capitalise on a contact to score.
Montmorency’s defence regained possession, moving back into the hands of their shooters.
Holding a small lead from turnovers, Montmorency sat in front 9 goals to 3.
Hurstbridge scored the first goal of the second term, with the opportunity for another right after.
Their shooters, Amy Fisher and Emma Thomas, were able to settle in the ring as they started to comeback.
Montmorency’s shooters were under pressure in the ring and were forced to look to the third line, before GS Dillon settled to score.
Strong rebounds under the ring by Hurstbridge gave them second chances to score.
Hurstbridge were down by 10 in the second quarter as Montmorency closed out their dominating half with a goal, with the scores reading 21-9.
It was a tough start to the third for Hurstbridge as their WD was called for contact to result in a Montmorency goal.
Magpies WA Megan Allan took an intercept off the centre pass to score them a second goal early on in the quarter.
Montmorency GS Dillon gave her side a bigger advantage in the third quarter, bringing her side to a 17-goal lead.
Hurstbridge’s attack struggled under pressure in the ring but their defenders forced a held ball for another attempt at goal.
Hurstbridge GK Kylie Christian was quick on intercepts and rebounds to try boost up her team’s scores.
Down by 15 at three quarter time, Hurstbridge had a big task ahead of them in the final quarter.
The side fought hard to come back in the final quarter despite the big lead Montmorency had built.
However, Hurstbridge struggled to hold on to their turnovers and convert the ball, keeping Montmorency in a comfortable position to take home the cup.
The Star shooter award for Section 3 went to Amy Dillon from Montmorency with 138 goals, while the Best and Fairest for Section 3 went to Kylie Christian of Hurstbridge 1 and Narelle Draper from Bundoora 3.
Final score: Montmorency 1 (38) def Hurstbridge 1 (22)
Section 4 Grand Final – Heidelberg West 1 vs Heat 2
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Heidelberg West 1 were completely in control of their match against Heat 2, charging out to a strong lead that proved too hard for the Heat to crawl back from.
Heidelberg West hit the court running, shaking off any pre-game nerves early.
Heat took a while to warm up, despite their GA Nicole Turnbull slotting the first goal confidently it was Heat’s only goal for the quarter.
The Hawks applied tight defensive pressure on their opposition causing plenty of confusion in the Heat’s attack as Heidelberg West defenders GD Jessica Taylor, GK Melissa Halton and WD Kristy-Leigh Sim read the play with ease.
Impressive footwork and intercepts made it extremely hard for the Heat to pass the ball into their goal circle and even harder for their shooters to get an easy shot at goal.
Down by 14 goals at the end of the first quarter, the Heat needed to lift quickly in the second.
Switching GA Turnbull into GD allowed the Heat’s Turnbull to play a bit more aerially and generate some turnover her team’s way. A few well-timed challenges resulted in the Heat finding it easier to feed the ball in and score.
Despite the lift in their game, Heat faced a 15-goal deficit at half time as Heidelberg West refused to slow down their onslaught of goals.
Heat started to find more space in the second half, however, they continued to fall victim to their own errors with small fumbles and predictable passing creating turnover after turnover for Heidelberg West.
The immense defensive work from the Hawks combined with a smooth transition into attack led by C Ebony Capicchiano was too good for the Heat to halt.
Strong in the goal circle for Heidelberg West were GS Shanae Wilson and GA Maddison Filev who did a wealth of work to edge in front of their opponents and receive the ball right where they wanted to shoot.
Heading into the fourth quarter there was 20 goals separating the two teams.
Heidelberg West continued to play calm and in control with their shooters confidently taking risks to shoot long range shots given the large score difference.
Down the other end of the court, the Heat continued to give the match their all, shouting words of encouragement to each other. There were a few strong leads to the circle edge from C Cathryn McDonald and some nice feeds from WA Suzanne Bailey.
However, the speed and strength of Heidelberg West pushed the Heat further behind as the match went on.
The Hawks finished the game winners over the Heat by 23 goals.
Heidelberg West’s Maddison Filev capped off her season with not only a win in the grand final but Filev was named the Star Shooter for Section 4 with 208 goals for the season and the Best and Fairest with 10 votes to her name.
Best on Court for the Section 4 grand final went to Hawks C Ebony Capicchiano.
Speaking after the match Heidelberg West coach Danielle Wilson reflected on the season.
“It was a great season, thank you for committing … we’ve done it, got the granny,” she said to her team.
Final score: Heidelberg West 1 (41) def Heat 2 (18)
Section 5 Grand Final – Montmorency 2 vs Whittlesea
by Marisa Sopcic
Coming off two dominating seasons, Montmorency and Whittlesea went head to head in the Section 5 grand final.
Montmorency took the opening centre pass and with that scored a quick set of goals over their opponents.
Whittlesea WD Morgan Woolacott tried to intercept the ball and stop the forward momentum of Montmorency, who had already scored 5.
Stepping on her landing, Whittlesea had to fight back for the ball for their GA Amy Goodwin to put the girls on the scoreboard, with a long shot in the ring.
A good run down the court from Whittlesea’s attack placed the ball right under the post, for a goal.
Strong hands to the ball brought Whittlesea back to a 4-9 deficit in the quarter. An offside call down Montmorency’s end stopped the movement of Whittlesea.
Montmorency GA Chloe McCormack moved in fast along the baseline to get fed the ball for a goal.
Scoring another right back, the Magpies held out in front as the quarter came to an end, with the scoreboard 13-6 in their favour.
Montmorency shooters struggled under the ring as they fell short on their attempts at goals in the second quarter.
A long lob from the centre third into their shooters, set Whittlesea up for a shot.
Despite missing, the Eagles girls forced a held ball in defence for another chance under the ring.
Montmorency were unable to convert goals on their turnovers as the ball struggled to reach their circle under the pressure of Whittlesea defenders, Tahlia Brander and Eden Draper.
Whittlesea’s GA scored the final goal of the half to claw back to only 4 goals behind Montmorency.
Whittlesea wasted no time in the third quarter, quickly coming back to equal scores.
GK Courtney Fowles read the ball well, allowing Whittlesea to feed to their shooter and move ahead by two.
Montmorency GD Kennedy Testolin regained possession to bring her side back into the game.
In a desperate attempt to get another turnover Montmorency GK Tahlia McLeish contacted out of the circle and Whittlesea stayed ahead by just one goal at three quarter time.
A tight three quarters had come down to the final term as players amped up their defence.
Montmorency were awarded a penalty shot to sit just one goal behind and from the next centre pass they levelled the scores.
Tight defence by Whittlesea forced a turnover and they soon pushed ahead by two goals.
The close game kept both sides on their toes as they worked tirelessly down the court.
A neat lob by Whittlesea GS Sarah Baerken resulted in a goal and the pressure started to build on Montmorency.
Getting another turnover, Whittlesea stretched out to four goals in front and were able to hold on for a memorable come from behind win.
Best on court for the night went to Whittlesea’s Amy Goodwin.
Speaking after the win, Whittlesea coach Leanne Quinton said “ I want to thank Montmorency for a well fought out game and thank you very much for the spirit of the game. To my girls, I’m so proud of you.”
The Section 5 Star Shooter award went to Sarah Craker from Whittlesea with 145 goals, while the Best and Fairest was taken home by Emma Bannan from Bundoora.
Final score: Montmorency 2 (25) def by Whittlesea (29)