SFNL Netball Div 1 Round Recap

By Hugh Maclean

Four rounds in and the competition ladder is beginning to take shape. However, a month ago leading into the first competition round, there would be few, if any, watchers that would have envisioned it looking quite like this...

Dingley v Cheltenham
Dingley stood poised to give Cheltenham the biggest test of their young division one existence. As if chastened by the young upstarts intruding upon their patch, Dingley flexed their muscle from the opening, but it’s fair to say Cheltenham will have learned much from this encounter.

Dingley turned over Cheltenham’s opening centre pass which, one wondered, may have been a portent of carnage to come, but Cheltenham’s defensive structure stood up well and when the Siedle sisters combined to give Cheltenham’s first goal it looked like we could have a game on her hands. There are, however, situations in which the bear should not be poked.

Dingley embarked on a quarter of their most exquisite netball, with all their moving parts interacting with a precision that comes only from elite skill combining with destructive intent, and took a 15-3 lead into the quarter time huddle.Cheltenham, to their great credit, stuck to their game plan and continued to take the game on, but this was a Dingley side that was rather too experienced and had the bit between their teeth.

Their pressure was unrelenting and kept bustling Cheltenham into error, but after the score had got to 21-4 the Rosellas began to put their learning into action. They restricted the half time margin to 26-8, and with the defensive pairing of Anna Donnelly and Lauren Hucker particularly impressive under pressure the second half was much more competitive.

The result of this match was in no way reflective of Cheltenham’s start to the season, but Dingley showed enough to suggest that they would be justified in being installed as competition favourites after the first month.

Dingley 43 (Monique Lenehan-Moustafa 29, Laura Piper 14), defeated Cheltenham 18 (Alex Siedle 14, Annabelle Gorman 4)

Caulfield v St Pauls
Caulfield belatedly opened their points account for the 2019 season, but not without one heck of a struggle against a St Pauls side that will feel that their first win is just around the corner. There were never more than a couple of goals between the two sides in an at times scrappy, but entertaining duel.Both sides looked as short of confidence as you may expect from two winless sides.

Caulfield started the opening quarter slowly, as they were to do in each of the first three stanzas, but were able to work their way into the game as the first term continued on. Once the ball had been propelled forward, the game became a shootout between Caulfield’s Sophie O’Shea and St Pauls’ Renee Derimboglou, and with both scoring freely Caulfield led by one at the first change.

The second quarter saw more of the same and this time the score at the end of the quarter was level at 19-19.Caulfield looked as though they were cutting off St Pauls’ space more easily after the resumption, but the Saints were able to score just enough to stay in touch. Led by the excellent Megan Ellett and Brooke Hiscock, Caulfield fed enough ball to their goal circle to take a two-goal lead turning for home.

This brought us to the best quarter of the match as both sides pushed hard for the victory they felt they deserved. St Pauls dew level twice during the quarter and with two minutes to play there was nothing between the two sides, but two goals from Sophie O’Shea proved decisive.

Renee Derimboglou pulled one back for the Saints but the final siren went before either side could get the ball within shooting range again. Caulfield are on the runway, and only time will tell whether their season can take off.

Caulfield 43 (Sophie O’Shea 38, Meg Collins 5) defeated St Pauls 42 (Renee Derimboglou 35, Grace Healey 7)

Oakleigh District v Mordialloc
Oakleigh District maintained their undefeated status and, in doing so, inflicted the third straight defeat upon premiers Mordialloc. The Reds again led at half time, but their third-quarter fadeouts are becoming a major impediment to their premiership defence.

Oakleigh are considered one of the major contenders to the division one throne, but there seemed to be a little more punch to Mordialloc’s play early on. Some of the personal battles were intriguing in the early exchanges, with Leah Seeto opposed to Kassidy Withers and Caity de Garis taking on Gabby Lyons in pairings that were to prove pivotal to the final result.

Mordialloc won the first quarter by two goals, and a late run of four goals straight enabled them to win the second quarter by a similar margin to lead by 21-17 at the main break.Oakleigh District took to the court in the third quarter with their belief intact and a renewed work ethic. They ran down every loose ball and pressured their opponents into error.

Mordialloc, on the other hand, reacted to the close checking with some trepidation, beginning to push passes and turn the ball over, and missing shots that might ordinarily be scored. Mordialloc still have not won a third quarter this year; this time they lost the term by five to trail 29-28 at three quarter time.

Into the final term Gabby Dwyer and Bella Riddell were on fire in the Heatherton goal circle while Mordialloc weren’t so reliable, and with Dwyer rebounding brilliantly Oakleigh streaked away, finally completing a convincing seven-goal win.

Oakleigh District 40 (Gabby Dwyer 24, Bella Riddell 16) defeated Mordialloc 33 (Kaylah Loulanting 25, Kassidy Withers 8)

Points Table: Dingley, Oakleigh District 12, Heatherton, Cheltenham 8; Mordialloc Caulfield 4; St Pauls 0Leading

Shooters: Sophie O’Shea (Caulfield) 116, Annabelle Gorman (Cheltenham) 100, Renee Derimboglou (St Pauls) 99, Gabby Dwyer (Oakleigh District) 80, Alex Siedle (Cheltenham) 65, Monique Lenehan-Moustafa (Dingley) 61.

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