A review of Round 4 netball action in the Northern Football Netball League.
Section 1 Round 4 – North Heidelberg 1 vs Diamond Creek 1
by Stephanie Smarrelli
The Creekers put on an impressive full game performance to outplay the Bulldogs on Friday night at Parade College.
The first quarter started with both teams looking competitive and ready for a tight contest.
Diamond Creek were quick to move the ball into GS Kelly Sadowy off their first centre pass for a goal to start the game and North Heidelberg’s GS Rebecca Colwell quickly responded with a goal of her own.
It was a very fast pace quarter that saw both team’s capitalising on each other’s mistakes causing the lead to switch between sides multiple times.
Intercepts from Diamond Creek’s WD Chloe Lambert and North Heidelberg’s GD Jessica Dao made for an exciting start.
Both teams were accurate in the circle with Diamond Creek’s GA Stacey Gannon, GS Sadowy and North Heidelberg’s GS Colwell and GA Chloe Meulenmeesters having good starts to the game.
North Heidelberg’s defensive duo GD Dao and GK Kristie Parks put pressure on the Diamond Creek shooters with Dao helping Parks lean over the ball by holding her back by her dress to keep her distance which in turn resulted in a held ball.
With just over six minutes remaining in the first quarter scores were level on eight-all before Diamond Creek turned the ball over to pull out to a two-goal lead to finish the quarter.
The second quarter began with Diamond Creek’s GA Gannon forced off due to the blood rule, leaving Diamond Creek a player down, however, those few minutes without Gannon didn’t stop the Creekers from shooting goals.
North Heidelberg began to really feel the pressure in their attacking third with GA Meulenmeesters holding onto the ball for too long on her first shot at goal for the second quarter, which would leave her scoreless and her partner Colwell restricted to only four goals.
The Bulldogs remained tight in defence with GD Dao and GK Parks attempting to intercept and rebound any free ball, however, North Heidelberg struggled to transition into attack with fumbles from multiple players costly.
Diamond Creek’s C Lambert and WA Bronwyn Taylor worked well together to split the circle edge and work the ball into their shooters time and time again.
With less than five minutes left in the first half the score had blown out from the first quarter, with the Bulldogs trailing the Creekers by 11.
Every player from Diamond Creek worked around the court to find space and position themselves in front of their opponents which allowed them to more than double North Heidelberg’s score by half-time.
The third quarter began with Diamond Creek continuing to move swiftly to the shooters.
Down the other end of the court Bulldogs GS Colwell remained calm, shooting 14 of her team’s 15 third-quarter goals despite her teammates getting frustrated and slowing down on the court.
Although the Bulldogs were tiring, North Heidelberg’s WD Ebony Ellis and C Kate Butler started to try and double team Diamond Creek’s C Lambert, recognising her movement around the court was at times the key to the Creekers path into the goal circle.
Diamond Creek’s shooting duo continued to score with comfort, with GA Gannon and GS Sadowy shooting 12 and 10 goals respectively to extend their team’s lead to 25 points by the end of the quarter.
The Bulldogs looked like a team defeated in the fourth quarter. They were still trying to work the ball down to their end of the court, however, their passes were beginning to miss and were lacking strength.
North Heidelberg’s GK K Parks and GD Stacey Parks were among the few Bulldogs players fighting out the last quarter, with both girls leaping to try and take intercepts and turn over rebounds consistently.
Bulldogs GS Colwell positioned herself well in the circle and at other times moved around the third to try and give her teammates more options to work the ball into the goal circle as North Heidelberg’s attackers began to tire from their hard work back and forth in the first few quarters.
Although ahead by a game-winning margin, Diamond Creek continued to push for their best, with GK Verhonda Smith and WD Chylah Rogers reading the play well to intercept North Heidelberg’s passes.
Diamond Creek’s shooters Gannon and Sadowy continued to work their way around the goal circle to find room and score giving North Heidelberg no chance of working their way back into the game late.
Final score: Diamond Creek 1 (78) def North Heidelberg 1 (45)
Section 1 Round 4 – Heidelberg 1 vs Fitzroy Stars 1
by Marisa Sopcic
Heidelberg 1 jumped into fourth position on the Section 1 ladder after their convincing win over Fitzroy Stars 1 in Round 4 netball action.
Heidelberg bounded out of the gates with a quick 4-0 score in the opening minutes. The Stars struggled right from the first quarter, as Heidelberg saw the chance to lead and ran with it, never faulting throughout the game.
Fitzroy kicked themselves into gear closing the first quarter, however by then Heidelberg had a decent head start of seven goals at the first break, and the margin only increased as the game progressed.
The second quarter began, and Heidelberg wing defence took an intercept off the Stars centre. Unable to convert, the Stars took the ball the length of the court and scored the opening goal.
After another missed shot by Heidelberg, the Stars took this opportunity to run it down the court and put up another goal.
An intercept on the centre pass by the Stars made its way down to their end once again and sat the team only five goals behind Heidelberg.
The margin slowly increased out to a nine-goal difference with Heidelberg still in front at half time.
The third quarter was a defining one for the teams. The Stars passing let them down during the term and the girls begun to tire as the quarter wore on. However, for Heidelberg this was their quarter to stamp out the opposition for a win, outscoring their opponents 18 to 10.
Still fighting it out the Stars defenders Brigitte Linares and Tyneal Colban-Kirk claimed many rebounds, but their passes weren’t strong enough to reach their shooters, as Heidelberg pushed out to a 17-goal lead.
The Stars kept fighting to close the gap until the final whistle, but the deficit was too large to come back from and the girls look as though they were exhausted after giving it their all in the first three quarters.
Heidelberg were the stronger team on the night and controlled the contest across all four quarters to finish a deserving 12-goal winner, with the final score 59 to 47.
Final score: Heidelberg 1 (59) def Fitzroy Stars (47)
Section 2 Round 4 – Northcote Park 1 vs Diamond Creek 2
by Stephanie Smarrelli
Diamond Creek managed to stay ahead in a competitive game against Northcote Park on Friday night.
The Creekers opened the game with GD Melissa Whitten taking an intercept on Northcote Park’s opening centre pass, however, the Cougars were quick to turn the ball over again, but a missed goal allowed Diamond Creek’s GS Mollie Marchbank to steal the first goal of the match.
From there Diamond Creek controlled the ball providing opportunities for Marchbank and her shooting partner GA Chloe Gray to continuously put the ball up.
In the Cougars attacking end the girls had a shakier start to the match with missed goal opportunities from both shooters before GA Belinda Coward found her rhythm.
The match-up between Diamond Creek’s WD Lexie Giannakos and Northcote Park’s WA Bianca Jones was highly competitive in the first quarter, with both girls playing tight defensively.
The Creekers were five goals ahead at the conclusion of the first term, setting the Cougars a challenge to try and work back.
The second quarter was close with both teams working hard to turn over the ball at every opportunity.
Northcote Park struggled to find space to move around with Diamond Creek’s hand over ball pressure, however, they managed to find the net three times in the quarter beating the Creekers, who were restricted to just a goal.
It was a gutsy display from the Cougars and the Creekers to keep each other to such low scores that saw Diamond Creek head into the second half only three goals ahead in what felt like a thriller.
Diamond Creek entered the third quarter looking dangerous from the get-go, finding room on the court to deliver the ball into the hands of their GA Gray, who scored her team’s nine goals for the quarter.
The Cougars continued to be slowed down by the Creekers defensive pressure with Diamond Creek’s Giannakos, in WD, pushing herself to beat her opponent Northcote Park’s WA Jess Ring to the circle edge.
Diamond Creek’s WA Olivia Calleri had a fantastic quarter finding space in her attacking third to pass to the advantage of her teammates in the circle.
However, Calleri fell down hard in the dying minutes of the third quarter clutching her knee before Northcote Park’s GS Christie Delahuney called time for Calleri’s injury in a show of sportsmanship to make sure Calleri was helped off the court.
Overall a string of missed passes, missed goals and intercepts cost Northcote Park the third quarter putting them behind by nine heading into the final break.
The fourth quarter was a much better start for the Cougars as they began to move the ball more fluidly to each other. Northcote Park’s WA Ring started to find more room on the circle edge and consistently fed the ball well into their GA Coward.
The Creekers shooters were put under pressure by the Cougars GK Steph Myddleton and GD Julia Olson, however, GA Gray and GS Marchbank continued to find the net extending their team’s lead in the final quarter.
There were some good passages of play by Northcote Park in the final term, however, they weren’t able to find their way back from being so far behind at the final break.
Final score: Diamond Creek 2 (27) def Northcote Park 1 (15)
Section 3 Round 4 – Watsonia 1 vs North Heidelberg 2
by Marisa Sopcic
Top sides North Heidelberg 2 and Watsonia 1 faced off in an important Round 4 match in Section 3 of the NFNL netball competition on Friday night.
First-place holders Watsonia kept their spot on the ladder with a six-goal win in a highly-competitive game, while North Heidelberg’s loss saw them drop two to fourth.
North Heidelberg was never too far off from Watsonia, but as the game wore on the Bulldogs struggled to break down Watsonia’s play.
Within the opening half both teams were equally matched across the court. The first quarter appeared as though both sides were still warming into the game as their shooters struggled to settle in the goals.
The second quarter was just as tight. Watsonia sat in the lead by a small margin and applied great pressure on North Heidelberg in their attacking third.
Both teams once again struggled to convert goals this quarter and missed their own rebounds, giving them less opportunity to progress in score.
North Heidelberg was forced to pass out to the centre third and allow time for their shooters to move into scoring positions.
Watsonia defenders Rebecca Jennings and Jessica Schumann made it difficult for the ball to enter the circle and were resolute all night. In particular, GK Schumann displayed great ability to time her jump on each missed shot, meaning she was first to the ball most times.
As the half neared its end North Heidelberg’s shooters scored a couple of quick shots cut their deficit to two goals at half time.
North Heidelberg demonstrated clean and strong progressions of play down the court, during the third term, but they couldn’t convert as well as they would have like in the scoring circle. Watsonia was more accurate under the net and led by four heading into the final break.
The fourth quarter started for North Heidelberg, who was able to cut the deficit to just a two-goal difference half ay through.
However, with a lack of defensive stops in Watsonia’s shooting end, the top team demonstrated why they were number one on the ladder. Despite the efforts demonstrated by North Heidelberg, Watsonia held onto their lead and their top position.
Watsonia shooters Tayla Morgan and Georgia Cornell finished off strongly as the Saints stretched their late to take home a six-goal win.
Final score: Watsonia 1 (32) def North Heidelberg 2 (26)