Fitzroy Stars 1 have started life in Section 5 on the winners list after a nine-goal victory over Hazel Glen 1 at Community Bank Stadium.
The 28-19 final score doesn’t reflect how close the game felt for the most part, with Hazel Glen pinning back the lead on multiple occasions. However, the Stars were the more clinical side in the end, going on several runs to ensure they claimed their second straight win in the 2023 NFNL senior winter netball competition.
Stars shooter Nikaela McKissack finished with 12 goals, with her attacking threat as well as her strong defensive traits creating several turnovers from the opposition, before being able to convert those opportunities into goals.
Her confidence was at an all-time high with majority of her shots being unforced and just inside the shooting circle, but when she did not feel assured on the shot, she would pass it off to fellow shooter Alita Thorpe, who produced a season-high 16 goals in the match.
It was not all easy pickings though for Thorpe, with Hazel Glen’s Narelle Draper having an absolute blinder, creating space and always putting the pressure on the incoming shot. She forced several offensive contacts in the goal circle, just proving how much of a presence she was.
It was a very even first term with both sides able to win ball and score off their own centre passes. Hazel Glen would be the one to take a slight one-goal advantage into the first break.
But the Fitzroy Stars would soon respond with a strong second quarter, scoring eight goals, to create a four-goal lead at half time.
They also kept Hazel Glen to their lowest quarter score, with the work of Stars defensive duo Taylor Cook and Leah Seeto keeping the Glen to just three goals.
A powerful third quarter by the Stars saw them keep Hazel Glen to only four goals for the term. The impressive defence by the Stars denied the Glen any score on the board for the first three minutes of the second half, all while slotting in four of their own in the same period.
Seeto went up a notch to produce an outstanding quarter in defence for the Stars, making the Hazel Glen shooters put up shots from long distance which they were unable to convert on.
She was able to grab the rebounds with ease, get the intercepts in both the defensive and middle third, and she was able to read the play with some telegraphed passes from the Glen attackers.
Hazel Glen threw a lot of risky passes going cross court as a result. Their opposition defence forced the Glen attackers down the side line where the Stars pressure allowed them to force some spike downs on passes.
The Fitzroy Stars never looked back after establishing an eight-goal lead at three quarter time, just getting on top in the final term to secure a nine-goal triumph.
There were moments of brilliance from Hazel Glen in the second half, with workhorse Jess Hattie using here speed and change of direction to open herself up and become an option. Her vision down court was impeccable while also completing double plays with the defenders on the transverse line to edge herself closer to circle edge.
But the Stars were the better side after the opening term, and they’ll be eager to keep their winning streak intact as the season progresses.