A review of Round 3 netball action in the Northern Football Netball League.
Section 1 Round 3 – Diamond Creek 1 vs South Morang 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
A tight match between Diamond Creek and South Morang on Friday night, saw the Creekers keep their cool to come back and win.
South Morang started the game competitively applying pressure to Diamond Creek which caused them to throw the ball backwards, giving the Lions the opportunity to turn over time and time again.
However, the Creekers matched South Morang’s intensity defending every ball which forced South Morang to make some errors early.
The Lions’ GS Mahalia Rank had a particularly good start, putting the ball up successfully from long distances scoring 10 goals.
South Morang’s WD Michelle Millhouse, also had an impressive start to the game providing multiple options across the court while taking intercepts deep in defence to turn the ball around.
Diamond Creek’s shooters GA Mollie Marchbank and Kelly Sadowy shared the load, scoring five and six goals respectively in the first term.
In the last few minutes of the first quarter, South Morang were starting to rush with their movements while Diamond Creek looked composed while working their way back into the game.
With only a goal separating the two teams, the second quarter started with Diamond Creek taking control.
Defensively, the Creekers GK Verhonda Smith and GD Melissa Whitten tightened up in the circle and began to double-team the Lions’ standout shooter Rank, forcing her to work for the ball.
In attack, Diamond Creek’s C Chylah Rogers and WA Kristie Gannon split the circle edge well, providing their shooters with the option to pass back and move closer to the ring for easier shots at goal.
Although Diamond Creek were looking dangerous it took them some time into the second term before they managed to swing the momentum back their way.
A crucial turn over allowed the Creekers to take their time with their passes to ensure that the ball ended up in GA Marchbank’s hands for a goal.
With the centre pass now in their favour, the Creekers put in a full court effort to continuously work the ball down to their attacking end.
However, South Morang were not going to let the change in lead affect them.
The loss of the lead saw WA Tayla Hardiman fight harder to put her body in front of her opponent on the circle edge, allowing her to feed into the Lions’ shooters better.
South Morang managed to draw level again on 19 all, however, they were beginning to rely too much on Rank’s ability to score long bombs as the Creekers’ defence started applying pressure on her and the ball started to miss the ring more and more.
As the half-time whistle blew, the game was still close, however, the Creekers had pulled away to a two-goal lead.
The third quarter was very much a defender’s game with both teams scoring only ten goals each, their lowest of the match.
The Lions moved Paige Donker into WD for a quarter and her impact was immediate with a strong intercept that resulted in now GA Tayla Hardiman scoring.
The Creekers defenders continued their on the body defence, with GK Verhonda Smith pushing right up against the Lions’ shooters to apply pressure and rebound any ball she could reach.
Similarly, South Morang’s defensive duo GD Bridget Canals and GK Olivia Pels put pressure over the Diamond Creek shooters to try and force missed goals.
With around seven minutes left in the third quarter the Creekers managed to extend their lead to 32-27, but South Morang weren’t defeated yet.
Moving the ball quickly thanks to multiple players rebounding and intercepting the ball, the Lions were able to successfully work their way back into the game to only be trailing the Creekers by two goals again heading into the final quarter.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Lions GA Tayla Hardiman was picked up for contact and in the heat of the moment, she swore. Unfortunately, for the Lions the umpire heard her and sent her off the court for five minutes, leaving the Lions not only down a player but down a key position in their goal attack.
Diamond Creek swiftly worked the ball down the court into their goal circle for both their shooters to score goals and extend their lead to three.
Despite being a player down and double-teamed in the circle, Lions’ GS Karli Burns was able to score by putting herself in front position to get the ball and was leading the way for her team to try and hit the front.
Sparked by being down a player, the Lions’ continued to work their way down the court and score goals, drawing the margin back to one goal before their GA Hardiman returned.
The Creekers remained cool under the building pressure and continued to move the ball at their own pace ensuring that they weren’t giving South Morang any opportunities to intercept.
As time started ticking away, it was clear South Morang were beginning to feel under the pump as they were starting to make costly small mistakes.
Multiple missed opportunities under the ring resulted in Diamond Creek’s GD Whitten and GK Smith rebounding shots and passing the ball off to their composed teammates time and time again.
As the game came to a close, Diamond Creek’s ability to stay calm and collected under pressure allowed them to pull away for the win by an impressive six goals.
Final score: Diamond Creek 1 (51) def South Morang 1 (45)
Section 4 Round 3 – Kilmore 1 vs Thomastown 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Kilmore 1 and Thomastown 1 faced off last Friday night in a Round 3 top-of-the-table clash at Harvest Home Primary School in Section 4 netball action.
Thomastown kept a comfortable lead throughout all four quarters to remain seated in first place on top of the ladder, while the loss for Kilmore meant they dropped from second to third.
Getting in front early on, the Bears sat 6-2 ahead of Kilmore in the first quarter.
The high turnover count for Thomastown gave them the edge in score as they made strong intercepts down the court. Their defenders Keelin Galvin and Casey Cesarin came in first to every rebound.
The defensive pressure in and around the circle soon picked up for Kilmore in the second quarter. However, their attempt to lift their scores this quarter was halted as the quarter neared its end.
The Bears defence was too strong. GD Galvin and WD Lauren Newstead watched the play well to turn over the attempts of Kilmore.
By half time a six-goal difference separated teams, with Thomastown still in front.
The Bears continued to lead in the third, with Kilmore unable to lessen the gap in scores approaching their final quarter.
While they did force Thomastown to make errors around the circle, the girls recovered well after every mistake.
Kilmore defenders Samantha George and Elise Woolfe put Thomastown shooters under pressure, forcing them to look out to their wings for passes rather than attempting shots.
They got their fingers on the ball multiple times but lacked the control to steady the play and bring it down their end of the court.
Thomastown were able to settle and provide more opportunities for their shooters to score.
The start to the final quarter had Kilmore still in with a chance, only five goals behind their opponents.
It was a tough contest for the ball but the fight for possession was won by Thomastown, setting them off on their dominant quarter.
With a few obstruction calls and contacts against Kilmore this term, Thomastown’s defence kept up their intense play down the court.
Placing immense pressure on their passes, the Bears found the ball in their hands more times than Kilmore could afford.
Gaining an 11-goal lead in the final seconds of the game, Thomastown was able to outlast its opposition to secure a comfortable win.
Final score: Thomastown 1 (23) def Kilmore 1 (14)