A review of netball action in the Northern Football Netball League from Friday August 17.
Section 1 Round 17 – Diamond Creek 1 vs North Heidelberg 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
A top of the ladder battle between Diamond Creek and North Heidelberg saw the Creekers control the match to win by seven goals in Round 17.
The 65 to 57 result saw the Bulldogs drop down to third place on the ladder, behind Greensborough – meaning they will enter the finals without the double chance.
Diamond Creek had a quick start to the match with GA Stacey Gannon slotting in the first goal.
North Heidelberg succumbed to Diamond Creek’s defensive pressure early with a held ball and an intercept from Creekers’ C Tess Osborne resulting in another goal.
A breaking call against Diamond Creek on their centre pass and a well-placed feed from Bulldogs WA Emma Williamson allowed North Heidelberg GS Rebecca Colwell to score her team’s first goal of the game.
From that point on both teams seemed nervous with passes lacking power, however, Diamond Creek were able to rebound from their mistakes and find space throughout the court to lead by seven goals at the first break.
North Heidelberg appeared more settled in the second quarter, however, the Creekers continued to build on their lead.
Diamond Creek were able to turn over ball after ball by reading North Heidelberg’s passing game. In particular, Creekers’ GD Emily O’Brian had room to move off her direct opponent to intercept the ball.
North Heidelberg GS Colwell did well to hold her position in the circle and lead to the ball, when her teammates were able to deliver it to her. However, despite her impressive quarter the Bulldogs found themselves behind by nine at half time.
Diamond Creek had a good start to the third quarter with GS Sinead Lumsden comfortably shooting a long bomb and scoring her first of 16 goals for the quarter.
Creekers’ C Chylah Rogers moved across the court well opening up space for her teammates.
North Heidelberg’s passing improved and their GA Chloe Meulenmeesters was able to work herself into the game by drawing out Diamond Creek’s defenders and finding space to feed into her shooting partner Colwell.
Despite their best efforts to challenge Diamond Creek, mistakes continued to cost North Heidelberg as the Creekers extended their lead out to 14 goals.
Diamond Creek’s dominant performance continued in the fourth quarter, however, North Heidelberg managed to work the ball into their attacking third to trim the difference in scores.
An early intercept from the Bulldog’s resulting in a goal switched the centre pass in their favour and allowed them to gain a little back. However, Diamond Creek continued to work hard in defence holding North Heidelberg up, causing them to struggle on their second and third phases.
Bulldogs’ GD Kristie Parks and WD Emma Williamson both had a strong quarter applying defensive pressure to the Creekers to turn the ball over and slow down their onslaught of goals.
Cracks started to show during the last quarter for Diamond Creek with their passes being intercepted and errors costing them, however, the big lead they had established kept them safe from a North Heidelberg upset.
Final score: Diamond Creek 1 (65) def North Heidelberg 1 (57)
Section 2 Round 17 – Diamond Creek 2 vs Ivanhoe 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Diamond Creek and Ivanhoe played out a thrilling final few minutes in Round 17, with the top two sides battling it out in the last quarter before the Creekers held on to win.
Ivanhoe drew first blood with Section 2’s leading shooter GS Aysha Blade easily scoring off their centre pass, however, Diamond Creek matched them quickly with their own GS and Section 2’s second-leading goal shooter Mollie Marchbank scoring.
Diamond Creek GK Melissa Whitten did well to intercept a ball into the circle but quickly after Ivanhoe WA Maddison Seeley intercepted the ball keeping both teams neck and neck.
Goal for goal was traded through much of the first quarter with the sides making good use of their centre passes before a missed goal from Ivanhoe resulted in the Creekers’ getting the rebound and scoring to pull ahead by a goal.
Diamond Creek’s lead was short lived with a turnover allowing Ivanhoe C Olivia Marian to feed into the circle and another goal to be scored levelling the teams again before Ivanhoe then took the lead on their next centre pass.
Tight one on one defence stopped Ivanhoe from being able to quickly move the ball and created a held ball that Diamond Creek then used to score and score again.
Two goals ahead at the first break Diamond Creek continued to build on their lead in the second quarter.
Creekers GK Whitten was crucial this quarter, positioning herself well in front of her opponent so she could easily read the play and stop Ivanhoe’s midcourt from feeding the ball into the shooting circle.
Diamond Creek’s midcourt worked well together to move the ball swiftly into their shooters and continue to score.
However, Ivanhoe GD Lauren Henderson did her best to regain possession with multiple intercepts in their defensive third. Although down by seven at half-time Ivanhoe continued to fight back in the second half.
Momentum in the third quarter continued with Diamond Creek as they moved quickly into their shooting circle and capitalised on Ivanhoe’s mistakes.
There were some positives from Ivanhoe this quarter with WD Demi Carr taking an intercept and GS Blade fighting her way to front position in the shooting circle.
Diamond Creek pushed onwards with their shooters GA Gray and GS Marchbank staying consistent under the ring to extend their lead by a goal.
With the first centre pass of the final quarter in their favour, Ivanhoe fought their way back into the match by getting the basics right and capitalising on Diamond Creek’s mistakes.
Ivanhoe’s GK Henderson and GD Sarah Marian kept the Creekers to their lowest scoring quarter of the match. Down the other end of the court Ivanhoe’s shooters, GS Blade and GA Leanna Sartori produced their best quarter under the ring as they rolled off their opponents and opened up the circle for each other.
Despite Ivanhoe building, Diamond Creek remained ahead by seven goals late in the final quarter but their defensive pressure and drive faltered allowing Ivanhoe to charge.
Ivanhoe gave the Creekers a fright, scoring a quick five goals before Diamond Creek could score one.
With the momentum in their favour Ivanhoe continued to push Diamond Creek, however, sensing an upset the Creekers won back the ball and slowed their passing down to ensure it landed in the right hands and they maintained possession.
Through maintaining possession Diamond Creek were able to hang onto the win as Ivanhoe ran out of time to pull off what would have been a great comeback win a week out from the finals.
Final score: Diamond Creek 2 (43) def Ivanhoe 1 (40)
Section 3 Round 17 – Craigieburn 1 vs Heat 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Heat 1 claimed victory over Craigieburn 1 to finish the regular season in third position on the Section 3 ladder.
The opening quarter had a sense of urgency on court from both teams, which held the game at close scores.
The first centre was immediately turned over by Heat GK Cassie Wilcox, as the Heat defenders put pressure on Craigieburn.
Craigieburn managed to score a few up on Heat to stay in front for the most part of the first quarter, however Heat GS Michelle Kneale got her team to within a goal by scoring a long-range shot.
Heat tied the game at seven all and with a minute left in the quarter and then took a one-goal lead into the first break.
Craigieburn had a rough start to the second quarter. Their passes were rushed which caused turnovers down their end.
Heat sat ahead by a couple of goals, however much like the first quarter, the game tightened and Craigieburn managed to get back to within a goal.
Heat sat just ahead 13-12 at half time, before also scoring the first goal of the third quarter.
Craigieburn scored one right back and were close to scoring another but GS Shannon Tresider was pulled up for contact as she pushed off her opponent to take the ball.
Craigieburn GS Tresider and Heat GK Tamara Stewart then went up for a contest with Stewart being the first to get hands on the ball, allowing her to send Heat forward, which resulted in a goal.
Heat C Amber Colin then stole the ball from Craigieburn, which led to another major among a run of three-straight goals for Heat.
Craigieburn scored their second goal of the third quarter late in term and then started to get aggressive with their play, which got them the steals but at times also proved to hinder them in the process as contact calls lost them possession.
Stretching out to a 10-goal lead at the end of the third quarter, Heat left Craigieburn behind in the last quarter.
Heat didn’t allow their opponent to find any free passes down court, with Craigieburn struggling to clear the play from their defensive circle when they had the ball.
Heat continued to fire in goals in the last term and stretched away to a 14-goal win ahead of this week’s first semi final, where they will reunite with Craigieburn.
Final score: Heat 1 (35) def Craigieburn 1 (21)
Section 5 Semi Final 2 – Craigieburn 2 vs Macleod 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Macleod 1 convincingly beat Craigieburn 2 in the Section 5 second semi final to advance through to the Section 5 grand finals.
Macleod lead throughout all four quarters of the match, taking home a 13-goal win at Harvest Home Primary School, despite finishing the regular season one spot behind Craigieburn.
Macleod’s passes were short and precise off their centre, with GA Mollie McKeown keeping the scoreboard ticking over after being on the receiving end of her mid-courters good work.
McKeown’s shooting accuracy was matched by some great defensive work.
In one instance, Craigieburn GD Chrissy Finnerty picked up a loose ball in Macleod’s shooting third. Macleod GA McKeown read the play and intercepted her opponent’s pass, allowing Macleod to attack again.
Craigieburn struggled to hold onto the ball long enough to enable their shooters to get enough looks at scoring. This held them behind 4-0, until they were finally able to convert a passage of play into a goal.
Macleod were ahead 9-2 after the first quarter and kept their seven-goal lead right up until half-time.
Craigieburn’s opening centre pass of the second term was intercepted by Macleod WD Emma Burke, but she stepped approaching her goal circle allowing Craigieburn to take back possession and convert it into a score.
Both teams managed only four goals each in the second quarter, with many mistakes made as a result of good defensive pressure by both sides.
Macleod edged further ahead in the third term, playing a faster style of game, which enable them to score 10 goals for the term.
Macleod’s defenders were in good form too – often catch rebounds off Craigieburn’s missed shots. Craigieburn shooters Amanda Matthews and Alicia Wilkes threw up many attempt throughout the term, only to fall just shy of the net.
Up by 11 at the end of the third quarter, Macleod sat at a comfortable advantage and looked to have one foot in the grand final.
Craigieburn kept their heads up during the final term, but Macleod’s confidence ensured they didn’t slip up to let their opponents back in the game.
The win for Macleod 1 ensures they get a week’s rest ahead of the grand final, where they will play the winner of the preliminary final between Craigieburn 2 and West Ivanhoe 1.
Final score: Macleod 1 (30) def Craigieburn 2 (17)