Mordialloc star Alanna Harris and Dandenong Netball Coordinator Mandi Hall joined Wiz and Hugh to discuss all things SFNL Netball on this week’s episode of Nothing But Net. Listen back to Sunday’s Nothing But Net podcast in the player above.
By Hugh Maclean
Upset results proved to be the order of the day in Division 1 in Round 12, with the bottom two sides claiming victory over higher fancied opponents. It was Dingley though that kept their unblemished record intact, and in doing so took an eight-point break at the top of the ladder with three games to play.
St Pauls took on a Heatherton Black side depleted by VNL call-ups, although “depleted” this season has seemed a relative term for them. When Black converted the first two goals of the day it looked like business as usual, but this was no ordinary day. St Pauls went to the first break one down, but took the initiative in the middle of the second quarter and were not to let it go for the remainder of the match. With Claire Stratton controlling the centre and Alice Williams complimenting Grace Healey expertly in the goal circle, St Pauls were well worth their 24-20 half-time lead, which they extended to 36-31 at the final change. Black made their move early in the last term, with Bayley Mifsud thrown into goal shooter and making a difference, but Caitlyn Lewis made three vital interceptions to steady the Saints, and they finished up inflicting Black’s second defeat of the season by 46-40.
Caulfield played Heatherton White in what many see as a precursor to the Elimination Final. The ball zipped around the court with quite some speed early on, but it was Caulfield that made the most of their opportunities and at 17-10 at quarter time their confidence was high. As the game wore on it was the defensive pressure of Caulfield that took control, with Alice Pohlner in particular continuing her excellent season marshalling the troops. In attack Beth Wilson and Steph Purcell worked well in the goal circle to keep the scoreboard moving, and despite the best efforts of the game Heatherton side Caulfield won every quarter to score a comfortable 57-38 victory.
Dingley and Keysborough clashes are never affairs for the faint of heart, as both sides lift for the occasion. Both sides have strong, competitive midcourters, and in Alicia Wise and Sam Downie the game possessed two of the competition’s elite creative defenders, so goals came at a premium. Dingley took an 11-8 lead from the first quarter, but in the second term Jess Payne really started to exert an influence shooting for Dingley. At the other end Tara Bickham and Laura Agius worked hard to capitalise on the work of the excellent Amy Burns, who never seems to play a bad game. Dingley took control to lead 22-13 at the long break, and though Keysborough at no stage threw in the towel the experienced Dingley engine room weren’t going to let this one slip, extending their advantage to 41-28 by the final siren.
The performance of the day, however, came from Bentleigh as they recorded their first win of the season against a St Kilda City side that struggled to match their intensity and enthusiasm. The master stroke was to play Tobi Cunningham in attack and Kelsy Dornau in defence, and both had a major say in the destination of the four points. In the middle of the court Brooke Hiscock and Caitlyn Simpson dictated the speed of the game with fast movement and incisive passing as Bentleigh extended their two-goal quarter time lead to 23-17 at the half. After the main break City swung Billie Nukunuku into defence, and she and Sarah Murphy-Gamble were instrumental in gaining a measure of control, but 28-27 late in the third quarter was as close as they got, and with Maddie McGaw shooting the lights out Bentleigh were able to pull away to record a well-deserved 41-32 win.
In Division 2 South Yarra played Mordialloc knowing that a victory would end the Reds’ finals challenge, and go a long way towards securing finals action for themselves. Although Mordialloc felt that they weren’t far from matching the Yarras, the composure of the girls in maroon was superior as they were never headed in winning by 43-33. St Kilda City kept their faint hopes alive with an authoritative 54-31 win over Bentleigh, but being eight points behind South Yarra with three games to play they need everything to go right from here. The unbeaten Heatherton played third placed Caulfield, and showed why they are the hottest of competition favourites by recording a thumping 68-24 win.
The top four in Division 3 is all but set. St Kilda City’s 43-34 win over Lyndale coupled with Keysborough’s 46-36 reverse against high-flying Dingley means that they are almost safe in fourth spot. Clayton kept top spot by beating Caulfield by 44-27, with second placed Heatherton having the bye. Black Rock beat CPL by 48-37 in the other game.
Dingley Gold’s 49-41 win over St Kilda City means that City’s tenure in fourth spot lasted just one week. They are replaced by Dingley Red, who made a big statement with an emphatic 52-23 win over second-placed Heatherton White. Heatherton Black’s 42-32 win over Black Rock gives them pole position this week, while Mordialloc continued their recent good form by beating Caulfield by 37-21. South Yarra moved well clear of last place with a strong 37-35 win over Keysborough.
Heatherton’s narrow 39-38 loss to Caulfield in Division 5 both gave Caulfield top spot, but also allowed Skye to draw level on points in the battle for fourth place after their 52-34 win over Cheltenham. With a similar degree of difficulty in the run home for Heatherton and Skye, that one should go down to the wire. Dingley and Lyndhurst remain steady in second and third with wins over St Pauls (62-29), and East Brighton (via forfeit), respectively. Dandenong also forfeited against Highett, while St Kilda City 31 were too good for Bentleigh 17.
Doveton’s surprise 36-30 defeat at the hands of Clayton has cost them top spot in Division 6. They are replaced on percentage by Dingley Gold, who scraped home by 32-31 against 10th-placed Hallam. Heatherton remain third after beating Lyndale by 47-38, with Dingley Red rounding out the four after beating St Kilda City by 45-20. Mordialloc beat South Yarra by 34-18 to keep their faint finals hopes alive, while Mount Waverley’s challenge effectively ended with a 42-38 defeat by Aspendale.
Dingley haven’t put a foot wrong in Division 7, and continued their charge with a solid 44-12 win over St Kilda City. Oakleigh District have been almost as efficient in their chase; they are only four points behind after beating the in-form East Brighton by 38-32. Lyndhurst continued their excellent season by disposing of the tricky Doveton unit by 66-25, while CPL replaced East Brighton in the four by beating Hampton by 47-31. Murrumbeena upset Heatherton by 28-26 to give them a hill to climb if they are to break into the four, whilst Chelsea Heights quickly followed their first win of the season with a second as they beat Cheltenham by 30-21.
Despite Lyndhurst’s unexpected 35-32 loss to Caulfield in Division 8, Hallam went down to undefeated Keysborough by 53-27 and so could make up no ground in the race for fourth spot. Second placed Mordialloc took their winning streak to ten matches by beating Heatherton by 35-26, while Dingley kept third spot, winning by 38-27 over Black Rock. Elsewhere Dandenong 56 beat South Yarra 21, while Lyndale 34 doubled Mount Waverley’s 17.