2015 SFNL Netball Grand Final Reviews

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Division 1 – Bianca Bristow

Div 1 - Dingley

Dingley are SFNL Netball premiers once again!

The Dingoes battled it out against SFNL newcomers Keysborough in the Division 1 decider, Dingley coming out on top 46 to 38 to claim their third consecutive premiership in a high-scoring and entertaining encounter.

In the first quarter Keysborough goal attack Laura Aguis shot the first goal, with amazing speed displayed by the Burra. Dingley were having trouble keeping the ball in their possession, which lead to Keysborough adding the next two goals.

With gritty determination Dingley managed to slow the game down to their pace, allowing them to lead by four goals at the end of the first quarter (15-11).

At the start of the second quarter Dingley managed to keep their focus, allowing them to dominate around the ball. This gave them an eight-point lead halfway through the quarter.

But Keysborough’s defenders, led by goal keeper Sarah Vella, started to pick up the defensive pressure in the goal circle and forced Dingley to turn over the ball, which lead Keysy to bring the deficit back to only five goals at the end of the second quarter (24 to 19).

No matter how hard Keysborough seemed to work, Dingley managed to keep the lead all the way through the third quarter. Dingley really got on top and pushed their lead out to seven goals (32 to 25) by the final change.

Despite Dingley’s dominance, Keysborough continued to push hard in the final quarter to narrow the margin. However, Dingley was unstoppable with amazing team work and communication they ran out eight-goal winners

Dingley captain Alecia Wise was crowned best on court after a dazzling performance at Goal Defence, and was instrumental in orchestrating her side’s three-peat, while Penny Byers-Tymms, Sophie Bartlett and Jess Payne contributed most of the Dingoes’ goals.


Division 2 – Bianca Bristow

Div 2 - St Kilda City

In a fight to the very end, St Kilda City come out on top with a thrilling one-point win over Heatherton in the SFNL Netball Division 2 Grand Final.

The game started off with a bang as St Kilda City Goal Attack Simone Stuart shot the first goal of the match off Heatherton’s centre pass. The matched moved quickly with both sides fighting for the ball. However, the turn overs in the St Kilda City goal circle were disappointing and Goal Shooter Jaqueline Baker’s inaccuracy kept the Tunners in the contest. At the end of the first quarter St Kilda City were in the lead 10 goals to seven.

The second quarter started the same as the first with an impressive goal by the Saints. With both teams applying outstanding defensive pressure, it was easy to see how both teams made it to the Grand Final. Heatherton’s defensive pressure seemed to wane towards the end of the quarter allowing, St Kilda City to lead by seven goal at the half.

The third quarter started with a massive energy boost from Heatherton; with accurate passes and foot work they managed to keep the ball in their possession. St Kilda City really struggled to keep the ball in the circle in this quarter as Heatherton’s defensive duo Belinda Kay and Kirsty Mann managed to get most of the rebounds from the net. The Tunners brought the difference back to two goals (21 to 19) at three quarter time, with St Kilda City just holding clinging to the lead.

The final term began with all guns blazing as both teams really fought hard for the win. With intense speed, the game became tied at 25-all half way through the quarter. Impressive pressure from Heatherton’s Goal Keeper Mann in particular ensured St Kilda City really struggled to shoot goals.

With less them a minute remaining in the game, both teams were locked at 29 apiece and game seemed headed for extra time. But St Kilda City managed to get possession of the ball and as the siren sounded Stuart shot the winning goal to claim victory by the barest of margins 30 to 29.

Stuart was amazing for the winners and won the best on court medal.


Division 3 – Will Hunter

Div 3 - Caulfield

Who says fairy tales don’t come true?

The Caulfield Bears provided the feel-good story of the year when they defeated the favoured Dingley 54-37 to claim the SFNL Netball Division 3 premiership.

The Bears scraped into the top four by the skin of their teeth (or 1.16% if we are going to put a number on it) in their maiden season in the SFNL Netball competition, before sweeping all before them in the finals.

Up against the minor premier in Dingley in the decider – a side they hadn’t beaten all year – the Bears showed early they were up to the challenge. Both sides gave it their all in a wonderful display of netball and after an entertaining opening quarter just one goal separated them.

The second term went much the same as the first, but the after half time the Bears really turned it on. The Dingley girls struggled to get the ball into their forward third as Brie Cooper, Samantha Tonkin and skipper Fotini Stavrou dominated possession in the mid-court.

While the Dingoes were starved of scoring opportunities, Caulfield had no such issues. The result was a stunning 15 goals to five, which gave the Bears an unassailable 42-27 lead at the final change and proved that the old ‘premiership quarter’ moniker is just as applicable to netball as it is synonymous with footy.

Another 12 goals to 10 in the final quarter sealed the deal for the Bears as they romped home to win by 17 goals.

Goal Attack Zina Teoh claimed the best on court medal after her sublime performance, while her partner in crime up front – superstar goal shooter Sophie O’Shea – was unstoppable with 44 goals. Defensive duo Gaby Coventry-Martini and Cara Teoh also played wonderfully for the winners and made life difficult for their Dingley opponents.

Dingoes goal shooter Alana Cooper netted 31 goals, while in defence Kasey Blizzard and Eleanor Douglas continued to fight to the end.


Division 4 – Will Hunter

Div 4 - Heatherton

Heatherton and St Kilda City are fast establishing a bitter rivalry as they clashed in their second Grand Final on Saturday.

The Saints may have pinched the silverwear with a buzzer-beating in the Division 2 decider, but Heatherton reversed the result in Division 4 with stunning 33-29 come-from-behind upset.

St Kilda City had been the best side all season, entering the Grand Final without a loss, and with a mammoth percentage of nearly 200% after the home and away season, they ranked as the most dominant team across all netball Divisions. But the Tunners weren’t daunted by the challenge.

The two teams were hard to separate in a terrific opening half. Nerves seemed to show through in the Saints camp early as they were slow out of the blocks, but 10 goals in the second half had them in front at the main break by the barest of margins.

But as expected the Saints pulled away in the third term. Their defence, led by the rock-solid Kate Cross, proved impenetrable and conceded a miserly five goals for the term, while they owned the ball in the mid-court through the efforts of Casie Beddome and Paisley Ross. By the end of the term they led a low-scoring contest 24-19 and, with all the momentum behind them, the cup looked destined for the Peanut Farm.

But it wasn’t to be as Heatherton dug deep and pulled off one of the most outstanding quarters of netball you’re likely to see. With captain Amy McManus and Adelaide Douglas on fire through the centre the Tunners dominated possession, and netted 14 goals to five to breeze past St Kilda City and steal the silverware.

Heatherton’s vice-captain and star defender Erin Naismith won the best of court medal after completely shutting out City’s dominant goal shooter Tui Bristowe, while teammates Brielle Arnfield and Isobel Burgess both did tremendous work in the circle and contributed the bulk of their side’s score.


Division 5 – Andrew Paloczi

Div 5 - Highett

Highett finished a memorable first season in the SFNL netball competition with a comprehensive 31-goal win over Mordialloc in the Division 5 Grand Final.

Steph Handson led the charge for the victorious Dogs, and was awarded the medal for the best player on court.

The Dogs came into the contest refreshed, having finished on top of the ladder, before winning their way straight through to the decider. The Bloods had to get there the hard way, getting the job done in a challenging Preliminary Final battle with Dingley.

With four games separating Highett and third-placed Mordialloc at the end of the regular season, and a 13-goal win for the Dogs in the Round 8 clash between these teams, it always shaped as a major challenge for the Bloods to turn things around. However, the extent of the margin was a surprise.

The one sour note for Highett was an ACL injury to captain Taylar Anderson.

Ironically, it was while recovering from knee surgery that now netball coordinator, Daniel Booth, took on the challenge of starting a netball side at Highett. The idea was raised by a friend of his and received the backing of club president, Lex Marshall. Coach Tracey Flahive and Anderson assisted Booth in establishing the team.

Highett also fielded a division 6 team, which experienced finals action in its debut season. “Having two netball sides has been great and adds a real buzz around the club,” said Booth.

In relation to the division 5 triumph he said, “It meant so much to the club getting the premiership. It’s made a lot of off season hard work really pay off.”


Division 6 – Andrew Paloczi

Div 6 - Dandenong

Dandenong took charge from the start of the division 6 Grand Final with the first five goals of the contest against Mount Waverley. The Mountain Lions managed to pull the deficit back to four goals by the end of the first quarter.

The Redlegs never looked like losing the game, although Mount Waverley refused to give up. By the conclusion of the third quarter, the margin blew out to 14 goals.

Dandenong suffered an injury early in the last term when vice-captain Corinne Pegram ruptured a ligament in her ankle. She had been playing very well throughout the game.

Mount Waverley then swept the ball down the other end and scored. However, any thought of a Mountain Lions’ comeback win was snuffed out as the Redlegs scored the next four goals, putting them in front by 17.

The Mountain Lions earned plenty of respect, eventually cutting Dandenong’s winning margin to just seven goals, with Mount Waverley managing the final eight scores in the contest.

For the Redlegs, it was a big turn around after losing to Mount Waverley by 10 goals when the sides met two weeks previously in a Semi Final battle.

Proud Dandenong playing coach Mandi Hall spoke of being offered the opportunity to establish a Redlegs netball team this season. “I jumped at the chance as netball was something I had believed the club needed for a few years,” she said.

After Hall accepted the offer of Dandenong president Ian Seagrim to take on a netball operations role, she got to work building a team. “I found a group of nine girls who loved the game as much as I did and shared my excitement in being a part of the inaugural netball team at Dandenong,” Hall said.

Hall added that the coaching role just seemed to happen and, although she embraced it, there were some nerves as she is used to coaching junior players.

The team combined well from early in the season, despite having only a couple of members who had played together previously.

Come Grand Final day, changes were required to the team’s makeup due to illness, and Pegram was put in the circle. All team members played their role, including Hall who received the medal as best player on court.

Hall is grateful the club put their trust in her and the sport of netball. She is honoured to hold the role of captain.

Such is the excitement after Dandenong’s first year of netball, Hall is keen to start a second team for the club next season and is already seeking expressions of interest from players and coaches.

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