Match reviews from Round 15 matches in Section 1 and Section 2 of the 2019 NFNL winter netball competition.
Section 1 Round 15 – Greensborough 1 vs Diamond Creek 2
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Diamond Creek 2 escaped with a one-goal win over Greensborough 1 in their last match before the Section 1 netball finals.
It was a match worthy of a grand final, however, the loss finishes Greensborough 1’s season, while Diamond Creek 2 finished in third place and remains in the mix for this year’s premiership with finals beginning this week.
The Boro struck early, with GD Charlie Seivers deflecting the ball to her teammates’ advantage off the Creekers’ first centre pass. Greensborough’s midcourt transitioned well and GS Maryanne Polu slotted the first goal.
Making the most of their own centre, Greensborough scored and then scored again after a contact call went against Diamond Creek in their own goal circle.
The Creekers eventually found momentum a few minutes in, scoring from a defensive rebound and then again off their centre pass.
They then challenged Greensborough and took the lead, however, the Boro fought back to snatch the lead back before the quarter came to an end.
Greensborough started the second quarter firing, scoring from a turnover and extending their lead to four goals. Pinpoint feeds into the circle from Boro WA Isabelle Conroy and C Rebecca McDonagh made it easy for GS Polu and GA Bianca Power to score.
A few minutes into the second quarter, however, that all changed with Diamond Creek defenders GD Simone Turner and GK Lauren Pilakis getting a strong lean over the Boro shooters, who then started to rush their goal attempts.
Missed goals from Greensborough were the golden opportunity that the Creekers needed to turn the quarter around and they took them quickly – reigning the margin back in to two goals at half time.
Diamond Creek began to treasure every possession in the third quarter, with sharp passing from C Bree Pascoe and WA Cassie Lewis allowing GA Tiarne Shell and GS Kirra Parks to shoot comfortably and draw their side level.
The sides went goal-for-goal late in the quarter, however, the Boro were just ahead at the final break on the back of some strong defensive pressure from WD Adele Cosma, GD Seivers and GK Stephanie Calabrese, who turned the ball over in dying minute of the quarter.
The final quarter was a battle with both teams giving it their all and tensions running high as contact calls became more and more prominent and both sides receiving cautions.
Greensborough began to feel the heat and missed a shot that went out of court before anyone could rebound. It it was the turnover the Creekers needed.
Diamond Creek remained composed throughout that passage of play and carefully transitioned from defence into attack. GS Mollie Rose Marchbank confidently put up the shot and Diamond Creek went ahead with the centre pass in their favour.
Sitting behind, Greensborough continued to throw everything they had at the Creekers and drew level with 20 seconds to go.
However, Diamond Creek weren’t to be denied. The Creekers slowly moved the ball between each other to eat up the clock and then delivered the ball into their goal circle for the match winning goal as the final whistle blew.
Final score: Diamond Creek 2 (42) def Greensborough 1 (41)
Section 1 Round 15 – Heidelberg 1 vs Ivanhoe 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Ivanhoe 1 clinched the last spot in the Section 1 netball finals with a dominant performance from start to finish against Heidelberg 1 at Parade College in Round 15.
The 21-goal win handed Ivanhoe fourth spot on the ladder at Heidelberg’s expense – with the Tigers finishing the year in fifth place.
A clean intercept on Heidelberg’s first passage of play from Ivanhoe GK Ebyan Cabdi set the pace of the match, with Ivanhoe quickly transitioning out from defence into attack and GS Fionnuala McKeagney-Stubbs slotting in the first goal.
McKeagney-Stubbs was outstanding in the first quarter and throughout the entire match as she held her space well and made every goal attempt look easy.
Ivanhoe GA Leanna Sartori then scored the next goal from their own centre pass before the Tigers finally hit the scoreboard through GS Lauren Spinks.
Misplaced feeds from Heidelberg created easy intercepts for Ivanhoe’s GK Cabdi and GD Grace Markovic throughout their defensive end and midcourt.
Ivanhoe transitioned the ball cleanly from defence into attack, moving as one as they carefully threaded the ball down to their shooters time and time again.
Heidelberg were left on the back foot by the end of the first quarter, trailing by 13 goals with the scoreboard reading 10-23.
Heidelberg came out stronger in the second quarter with Spinks moving into GA, creating plenty of space for GS Chloe Meulenmeesters in their goal circle.
Tigers WA Lauren Jones and C Leah Keating also continued to drive well to the circle edge and feed the ball in, despite Ivanhoe remaining in control.
Ivanhoe kept the pressure on Heidelberg during the second quarter, creating held balls on multiple occasions while Cabdi and Markovic kept on their toes to cleanly deflect passes into the goal circle.
At half time Ivanhoe had extended their lead by two goals out to 15, leaving Heidelberg to regroup.
The Tigers came out in the third quarter fired up. Their passes began to connect better and their shooters moved around the circle more cleanly to avoid some of the confusion which had previously allowed Ivanhoe’s defenders to smother their every turn.
It was Heidelberg’s best quarter of the game, with some strong deflections from GD Vanessa Rischitelli and GK Akanisi Seeto slowing Ivanhoe’s attack.
However, they were unable to trim the margin between the two sides to something more manageable. The two teams finished the quarter having scored 15 goals each with Ivanhoe remaining consistent.
Truly clinical in the final quarter, Ivanhoe blitzed away with GA Sartori, WA Olivia Marian and C Ruby Shannon working well with GS McKeagney-Stubbs.
They drove hard in their attacking third, tricking Heidelberg’s defenders into running out to attempt an intercept, while leaving McKeagney-Stubbs home alone under the net.
Pairing well with their attacking players, Ivanhoe’s defensive trio got on top of Heidelberg’s attack again during the fourth quarter, keeping the Tigers to their lowest quarter score of the match.
Having previously lost to Heidelberg by a goal last time they met and to be able to turn around to win by such a large margin highlights that Ivanhoe is a team the rest of the top-four will need to look out for in finals.
Final score: Ivanhoe 1 (66) def Heidelberg 1 (45)
Section 2 Round 15 – Craigieburn 1 vs Ivanhoe 2
by Marisa Sopcic
Craigieburn 1 secured second place on Section 2 ladder and a double chance in the finals after beating Ivanhoe 2 by 10 goals in the final round of the regular season.
Craigieburn made a fast start and took an early lead. Their quick moves down the court held them in front during the quarter, with the help of a few turnovers down in the defensive third.
Ivanhoe had many attempts at the post but could only manage to secure three goals in the first quarter as they went into the first break four goals down.
Ivanhoe GD Eliza Gorman-Jacobs could only manage to get a hand to the ball on Craigieburn’s first centre pass of the second term. Craigieburn took possession of the loose ball and score their opening goal of the quarter.
Ivanhoe defenders Gorman-Jacobs and Kelsey McColl did manage to force some turnovers in the minutes that followed, but their side wasn’t able to convert at the other end.
Craigieburn shooters Leah Steven and Belinda Vass had a better hold of space in the shooting circle, claiming many rebounds when shots were missed.
Ivanhoe relied on the presence of WA Sarah Marian and C Claire Cornish around the circle, with Craigieburn Shannon Tresider and Amanda Spillare not giving any clean looks into the shooting circle.
Craigieburn led by nine goals at half time and looked to stretch that advantage in the second half.
Ivanhoe moved Marian to and in one play she worked hard to save the ball from going out of court, which gave Ivanhoe a second chance at the post.
Craigieburn’s defence was again rock solid during the third quarter. They didn’t give any easy looks at the post and often claimed the rebound when an Ivanhoe shooter missed their attempt.
Craigieburn took a ten-goal advantage into the final term and looked to have given themselves plenty of room to keep Ivanhoe at bay from making a comeback.
Ivanhoe put in a large amount of fight and effort in the final term. Despite keeping the scoreboard ticking over, they couldn’t manage to close the deficit against a Craigieburn side which was also accurate when its scoring chances presented.
Craigieburn eventually went on to record a 33-23 triumph to set up a meeting with Heidelberg 2 in this week’s second semi final.
Ivanhoe 2 will look to bounce back in its knockout first semi final against third-placed St Mary’s 1.
Final score: Craigieburn 1 (33) def Ivanhoe 2 (23)
Section 2 Round 15 – Heidelberg 2 vs St Mary’s 1
by Marisa Sopcic
St Mary’s 1 booked a finals place in the Section 2 netball competition with an upset win over ladder-leader Heidelberg 2.
Sitting in fifth position going to game, the Burra proved they are a side to be reckoned with in the 37-32 victory at Parade College.
Their tough style of play and demanding presence across the court kept them neck and neck with Heidelberg in the first quarter.
One particular was a faking shot that was instead passed to Casey Barnes for a goal just before quarter time.
Heidelberg had managed to stick level on scores with St Mary’s during the first term, until the Burra scored twice in the last minute to take the lead by two.
Heidelberg passed hard and fast off the centre pass to score first in the second term. They then tied proceedings when they forced a turnover at St Mary’s attacking end and took the ball down court for a goal.
Heidelberg attackers Eliza Osborn and Darci Tierney played quickly off turnovers, making strong leads to the ball and into the ring.
Once again the game was tied, with both teams eager to score off their respective centres.
Despite Heidelberg taking the lead for the first time, St Mary’s remained on their toes and applied pressure on every pass that went down their defensive end.
The Tigers extended their lead to two goals and then snatched up a turnover to pass directly into the goal circle and score on the buzzer.
With three goals the difference at the main break, St Mary’s GD Jaymi-Lee Demanuele intercepted the ball on the first centre pass of the third quarter.
St Mary’s C Jacqui Harrington grabbed another intercept for her side, but they were unable to hold onto the ball and remained behind by two goals.
Their Burra defence lifted during the third term and were able to take several intercepts, which halted Heidelberg’s charge.
St Mary’s soon took the lead, with their strong hands on passes ensuring they kept possession even when being defended closely and stayed in front at three quarter time.
In a final quarter showdown, St Mary’s were determined to hold onto their lead and book a finals place.
St Mary’s GK Biljana Cvijetic had a great final term to ensure her side stayed in front. She fought hard for rebounds and read the play very well to shut down many forward movements of Heidelberg.
The Burra ran the game out well to score a deserving five-goal victory and book a spot in this week’s first semi final, where they will play Ivanhoe 2.
Heidelberg retained first spot despite the loss and this week plays Craigieburn 1 in the second semi final, where the first place in the grand final is up for grabs.
Final score: St Mary’s 1 (37) def Heidelberg 2 (32)