SFNL Division 1 Netball Round Review

By Hugh Maclean

Dingley v Oakleigh District

Dingley played Oakleigh District at the unfamiliar 10.30am starting time.  Whilst it may have thrown out the routine of some, it at least meant that there was a full match playable in this fixture, something that can’t be said for the rest of the top division.  The competition leaders certainly weren’t fazed by the earlier start; Dingley’s first quarter being the feature of a match rendered untidy by the cold, wind and rain.  Ella Quinlan in particular took advantage of comparatively friendly early conditions, netting eleven goals in Dingley’s 16-6 lead.

For Oakleigh to gain a foothold into the match it was imperative that they got a good result out of the second quarter.  However these hopes were quickly dashed as Alicia Wise and Lorna Clark were able to keep providing opportunities to Dingley’s front two, allowing the lead to be extended to 26-10 at the main break.  Oakleigh’s task was made all the more difficult by the increasingly treacherous terrain, although the move of Ella Batish to goal shooter gave them a greater physical presence and opened up opportunities for both herself and shooting partner Bella Riddell.  With Bayley Mifsud, moving forward to wing attack, providing the ammunition they were able to score slightly more freely, but were unable to stem the flow at the other end, the advantage to Dingley being 37-17 turning for home.

Oakleigh District will take some encouragement from the fact that they were able to win the final term against the premiership favourites, but the damage had already been done.  Much credit must go to Kirsten Daley and Leah Seeto for their second half defensive job, but with Shae Wonnacott controlling the centre third for Dingley they were far too strong.

Dingley 44 (Ella Quinlan 27, Monique Lenehan-Moustafa 17), defeated Oakleigh District 25 (Bella Riddell 11, Ella Batish 10, Gabby Dwyer 4)

St Pauls v Mordialloc

St Pauls came into this match riding the crest of the wave of confidence, having annexed their first points of the season the week before.  It was unfortunate for them that they faced a Mordialloc side mindful of the need to keep winning lest their finals dream would turn to dust.  The start of the match gave rise to the hope that a relatively regular match could be enjoyed.  Sadly only a few minutes elapsed before the heavens duly opened and the winds blew, making shooting an onerous task and rendering flowing netball near impossible.

The conditions meant that experience was a vital asset as know-how became as important, if not more so, than sheer skill.  Jess de Garis and the in-form Adele Gilmore staged a compelling battle in the middle of the court in the first term, with both combatants showing excellent form and desperation in defence and smart running to position in attack.  The inclusion of fit-again shooter Emily Morris gave Mordialloc a strong target and the ever-reliable Kaylah Loulanting worked well off her to give the Reds a vital 8-4 quarter time lead.

In yet worsening conditions after the first break Mordialloc chipped away and played a more patient game style than is their normal way, and this seemed to bear fruit with chances at each end at a premium.  St Pauls, as they have in so many matches this season, applied terrific defensive pressure and made their opponents work for every scrap of ball that they were to earn, but it was Mordialloc that had the superior acumen on the day.  With the control booth mercifully calling the contest to a halt at half time with Mordialloc leading by 14-6, this became the result that stood.

Mordialloc 14 (Emily Morris 8, Kaylah Loulanting 6) defeated St Pauls 8 (Renee Derimboglou 5, Zoe Lythgo 3)

Heatherton v Cheltenham

Cheltenham took a depleted line-up into this battle with a Heatherton side looking to boost their points tally following their second bye of the season.  Given they were missing five of their regular starters, Cheltenham will have been somewhat nervous at seeing the 197cm frame of Victorian Fury MVP Emma Ryde and fellow Fury attacker Kate Kelly-Oman facing them.  Whilst the Rosellas have made a habit of staring down highly credentialed opposition with little or no fear this season, they were quickly on the back foot in this game.

With Sienna Kelly at wing attack benefitting from the strength around her, the black and whites were able to push a plethora of ball into the goal circle where Ryde and Beth Wilson made few errors.  Lauren Hucker and Anna Donnelly have been impressive in defence all season for Cheltenham.  Again in this match they were not disgraced, and given the tidal wave of ball coming towards them and the quality of opposition that they had to counter it was of great credit to them that the scoreline was not even greater in Heatherton’s favour.

As it was Heatherton took a 17-3 lead to the first change to all but end this match as a viable contest.  As the monsoon blew in during the second quarter, making ball handling and effective passing and shooting even more of a challenge than it previously had been, Heatherton were kept to a tally of twelve for the quarter.  However, their ever-frugal back three of Jane Higgs, Karli Foster and Tegan Stephenson kept Cheltenham to just four goals of their own, delivering them the four points when stumps were drawn at half time.

Heatherton 29 (Emma Ryde 23, Beth Wilson 6) defeated Cheltenham 7 (Annabelle Gorman 5, Erin Priddle 2)  

Points Table: Dingley 40; Heatherton 32; Oakleigh District 24; Mordialloc 20; Cheltenham 16; Caulfield 8; St Pauls 4

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