A review of Round 1 netball action in the Northern Football Netball League.
Section 1 Round 1 – Fitzroy Stars 1 vs South Morang 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
South Morang 1 started their season with a convincing win over the Fitzroy Stars 1 on Friday night.
South Morang opened the match with a goal due to the Stars not having five players on court ready at the beginning of the quarter.
From there South Morang were quick to establish their lead over the Stars with strong connections flowing from third to third, however, their inaccurate shooting hindered them from pulling away by more than eight at the conclusion of the first quarter.
The Stars slowly started to pick up momentum in the second term although they appeared hesitant and their hesitation allowed South Morang’s defensive duo Olivia Pels and Paige Donker to continuously read the play and turn over the ball.
The Stars’ shooters GS Brigitte Linares and GA Thamar Atkinson managed to outscore South Morang in the second quarter.
However, South Morang settled into the third quarter quickly with their shooters GS Tayla Hardiman and GA Karli Burns becoming more settled under the hoop with C Michelle Millhouse and WA Lauren O’Heir providing options feeding into the circle well.
At the end of the third quarter the scores were 24 – 38 with the South Morang girls clearly running towards the win.
Despite being down the Stars started to show areas of improvement with defenders Rikki Bamblett and Tamekah Atkinson increasing defensive pressure and giving away less contacts and obstructions.
Meanwhile, the South Morang girls continued to go for every intercept and accurately shot goals.
As the final quarter came closer to its end the Stars started to get frustrated with the umpires as mistakes were made down both ends of the court for the Stars.
Unfortunately, South Morang WD Paige Donker came off the court injured in the final few minutes of the game, appearing to have hurt her ankle.
In the end, the Stars were unable to claw back South Morang’s dominant lead.
Final score: South Morang 1 (51) def Fitzroy Stars 1 (34)
Section 1 Round 1 – Greensborough 1 vs Northcote Park 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Greensborough 1 kicked off their 2018 season with an impressive win over Northcote Park 1 on Friday night.
From the first centre pass Greensborough looked dangerous with ball in hand, moving rapidly to feed the ball to their shooters.
Greensborough sisters Chantelle and Bianca Power led the way for their team nailing shots in the goal circle with ease.
Northcote Park were very vocal on court calling out to each other, however, their shooters Jessica Ring and Belinda Coward had a shaky start missing most of their goal attempts.
Northcote Park trailed the Boro girls by 14 at the first break.
The Cougars started to use the ball better in the second quarter, feeding into their shooters by passing low to try and combat the Boro girls’ height in defence.
Christie Delauney moved into GS for Northcote Park giving her teammates more options in the circle.
The Greensborough players managed to find plenty of space throughout the court with C Olivia Ellis playing well both offensively and defensively.
Greensborough GA Bianca Power continued her impressive shooting form scoring long bombs and shooting 12 of her team’s 17 goals for the quarter.
Northcote Park had a better quarter, however, their frustration with each other was starting to show.
At the beginning of the third quarter the Cougars trailed the Boro girls by 23.
Greensborough continued their control of the match with every player providing options and applying pressure over the ball when needed during the third term.
The Boro shooters were able to shake their opponents by splitting the circle, giving themselves room to move closer to the ring.
Northcote Park were struggling on court, slow downing and becoming careless with their passes making it easier for Greensborough defenders Rebecca McDonagh, Charlie Seivers and Adele Cosma to turn over the ball.
The final quarter saw Greensborough continue to score swiftly and turn over the ball with Northcote Park doing little to worry them.
As frustrations continued to grow Cougars C Bianca Jones received two cautions in the final quarter.
Greensborough were slowed slightly by Northcote’s defensive pair GK Alice Barnes and GD Julia Olson in the final quarter, however, the damage was already done.
Final score: Greensborough 1 (64) def Northcote Park 1 (25)
Section 2 Round 1 – Greensborough 2 vs Laurimar 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Greensborough 2 claimed a one-goal win over Laurimar in a thrilling Section 2 opening-round contest.
A tight knit match came down to the final seconds, as just one goal separated the teams, it was left to the final whistle to decide the game.
Greensborough opened with a quick four-goal lead but once Laurimar made their first shot, they soon matched the score, tying the game.
The increased defensive pressure placed on the Greensborough shooters by Hayley Birch and Mariah Craven kept the Power on the heels of their opponents.
Finishing the first quarter down by one goal, the Boro took the first centre pass to try and even the scores. They missed their shot and the Power soon pushed forward.
Soon after Laurimar WA Natasha Brockwell attempted to keep a ball in court but as she jumped to save the play, she slipped and fell on her landing.
Time was called and Brockwell was carried away, with a quick player swap for the Power made. Once play resumed Boro GD Ashleigh Weir came through for an intercept, pushing forward down the court to set her team ahead.
Greensborough found a rhythm and sat ahead by three goals heading into half time.
The Power started the second half with the first goal and a number of others in quick succession, which gave the team a boost in confidence.
Power GK Mariah Craven held strong arms over the Boro shooters to force a contact which allowed the Power to move towards their own attack.
Power shooters Rachel Kemp and Brooklyn Anderson worked back their team’s deficit as they held possession down their end to put them just one goal behind.
With the scores tied the Boro girls made a quick run down the court and were able to sink a shot and stay ahead by one.
The final quarter could have seen the final score go either way. Keeping neck and neck, tight defence meant the teams remained nice and close.
The game came down to a gripping conclusion in the late stages.
With scores tied, pressure from the Power’s defence saw the ball almost fall out of court. However, it was controlled by Boro GS Paris Bosschieter who then scored the winning goal to clinch a thrilling contest.
Final score: Greensborough 2 (33) def Laurimar 1 (32)
Section 2 Round 1 – Bundoora 1 vs St Mary’s 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Coming off the back of the 2017/18 summer season premiership, Bundoora 1 faced their grand final opposition St Mary’s 1 in the opening round of the Section 2 winter season.
Setting out to have a different result this time, St Mary’s stepped into position with the first centre pass.
The first score of the game went to St Mary’s, but Bundoora was quick to ramp up their defensive pressure.
On the Burra’s next foray forward, Bundoora defenders forced multiple errors around the circle, with the ball sent out of court. Unfortunately for the Comets, it was off their hands last.
With St Mary’s not being able to convert, Bundoora tried yet again to move the ball into their shooters. This time Comets GA Emily Williams was able to sink the shot.
St Mary’s GK Catlin Ryan ended the term with a neat play, tapping the ball back into play to a teammate. Her side took advantage of possession to move forward and score.
A low scoring first quarter by both sides saw just 11 goals landed, with the Burra leading by one.
The second quarter proved to be St Mary’s most efficient, scoring 11 goals to take their total score to 17, extending their lead to four goals at the half time interval.
Despite their best efforts in the third term, Bundoora couldn’t make any inroads on the scoreboard in the third term and slipped further behind.
Their defence attempted to stop as much progression down court as they could. In particular, GK Hollie Wilson had her sights set on the ball, taking multiple rebounds and intercepts.
St Mary’s took a seven-goal advantage into the last term after a 9-7 third term.
Bundoora’s defence snatched multiple rebound opportunities early in the last quarter, however several missed shots at the other end made it hard for the Comets to tighten up the game.
Despite losing the final term by one-goal, St Mary’s was able to close the game out for a comfortable victory, with the final score 31-25 in their favour.
Final score: St Mary’s 1 (31) def Bundoora 1 (25)