SFNL Netball Round Review

By Hugh Maclean

Listen back to this week’s Nothing But Net podcast, featuring Heatherton FNC Secretary/Netball Coordinator Yvonne McMillan as the special in-studio guest, in the player above.


Mordialloc and Keysborough kicked the Division 1 action off early on the Thursday night, and in an entertaining first quarter Mordialloc belied their reputation as slow starters. They took the initiative early with hard running and slick ball movement, but Keysborough came into the game late in the first term to limit the quarter time damage to 11-8. The Reds took control in the second quarter, putting away their opportunities while Keysborough’s last pass was oft astray as Mordialloc led by 10 at the long break, and they increased their majority by five in each of the final two quarters. There were great battles between Sophie Durnan and Taryn Munro in the centre, and between the excellent Keysborough shooter Tess McLachlan and Caity de Garis, but Mordialloc were too strong over the court in a 42-22 win.

Mordialloc hence held top spot, four points ahead of Dingley who had to work hard before overcoming Hampton Park by 58-46. Dingley were severely depleted by representative commitments and injury, although the senior axis of Wise, Wonnacott and Merkus remained in the side. In a scrappy start Dingley looked the slightly more composed in leading 13-8 at quarter time. As the game began to settle down Hampton Park looked dangerous with quick flat passes while Dingley were happy to remain more patient, but Sarah Fischer began to take control in the second quarter with deadly accurate shooting as Dingley extended their lead to 13 at half time. Hampton Park won the second half with shooters Megan Egbers and Elly Anthony again among their best, but the damage had been done as Dingley won comfortably.

Heatherton, in third, made short work of a St Kilda City side that are looking for the finish line. There were no Mifsuds and no Billings in the Heatherton side, but there was a returning Ella Batish who was instrumental in giving Heatherton nine of the first 10 goals. Some sloppy work from Heatherton gave City territory late in the first quarter, and restricted the quarter time damage to 14-6, but this was a temporary reprieve as Batish was replaced at quarter time by Bella Riddell, who in concert with fellow shooter Steph Panayi converted shots from all areas of the circle. At the other end City’s attackers worked tirelessly but found Kirsten Daley too much of a presence to pass. With Maggie Carlon having a whale of a game pulling the strings in the centre, Heatherton were just too good in winning by 52-26.

Caulfield played St Pauls in an open, entertaining match. The first quarter set the tone: 15 minutes of free-flowing, attacking netball where Caulfield only began to take control late in the term to lead 16-12 at the first change. Both sides had good patches of play in the second term, but Caulfield are more battle hardened than their young opponents, and Caulfield capitalised on St Pauls overcommitment in defence to break the game open and lead by 12 at half time. There was more of the same in the second half. St Pauls’ youngsters are learning week on week, but at this stage of the game Caulfield are the better unit and they coasted to a solid 69-43 win.

In the last round, Mordialloc need to beat Hampton Park to secure the minor premiership, and Caulfield cannot move from fourth. Finals come a week early however for Heatherton and Dingley in a game where the winner will take the double chance.

The minor premiership appears headed to Cheltenham in Division 2. Their 48-21 win over Clayton means that they come into the last round four points plus percentage clear. The double chance is still up for grabs, however. Heatherton scored their seventh straight win, beating Keysborough by 65-30, and they take second spot from Caulfield, who beat South Yarra by 52-24, on percentage. Both sides play opposition out of the finals race in their last match. Murrumbeena have a tricky assignment against Dingley Red, but look a lock in fourth spot. They beat Bentleigh by 69-41 this week, while the Red won the Dingley derby over the Gold by 69-36, ending any slim finals hopes that the Gold may have had.

St Kilda City hold top spot in Division 3 by just two points from Dingley Gold, with Heatherton and Dingley Red a further six points back in third and fourth spots. With Dingley Gold starting as favourite against Mordialloc in the final round, St Kilda City will need to beat Dingley Red to take the minor premiership. This week Lyndale beat Bentleigh by 32-16, St Kilda City beat Cheltenham by 31-24, Gold beat Red in the battle of Dingley by 51-43, Caulfield ended Black Rock’s finals hopes with a 38-32 win, and Heatherton were too good for Mordialloc by 40-28.

The top four sides are set in Division 4, and while each of the top four sides play non-finals opposition, the order could yet change. Murrumbeena are one win over Springvale Districts away from an unbeaten season, while Heatherton Black enjoy a decisive percentage advantage over CPL with both on 42 points. Caulfield Yellow are four points further back in fourth and complete the finals combatants. This week Caulfield Yellow beat St Kilda City by 44-30, Heatherton White walloped Hampton Park by 58-16, Murrumbeena were way too strong for South Yarra by 53-29, Heatherton Black were too strong for Springvale Districts, winning by 41-22, while Keysborough moved from 11th to eighth with their 49-29 victory over Caulfield Blue. On Thursday night CPL beat Mordialloc comfortably by 64-28.

Division 5 has been a log jam among the top five sides for some weeks. The top two sides have been confirmed with Lyndhurst and Oakleigh District taking those spots, and with both sides favoured to win their last match Lyndhurst should take top spot on percentage. It’s the battle for third and fourth where the big interest lies. Aspendale, Dingley Gold and East Brighton are level on 42 points, and three into two won’t go. Dingley Gold play St Kilda City next week and will start favourite, but Aspendale play East Brighton in what looms as a winner-take-all battle. This week East Brighton set up Super Saturday by beating Dingley Gold by 48-46, Lyndhurst did what they had to do in beating St Kilda City by 55-33, Highett were troubled little by St Pauls in winning by 48-30, Black Rock beat Dingley Red by 32-25, and Oakleigh District beat Cheltenham by 32-17. Heatherton were forced to forfeit against Aspendale.

Mordialloc Red are currently unbeaten in Division 6, but Doveton Eagles lurk just four points behind, and the two titans clash next week. The battle for third and fourth is just as intriguing, with Lyndale on 40 points, Keysborough 38, and Clayton 36. Keysborough look like they have a very winnable game against Mordialloc White, but Lyndale play Clayton and could be unseated on percentage should they suffer a substantial loss. Round 14 saw Clayton stay in the hunt with a narrow 25-21 win over St Kilda City, Lyndale beat Keysborough by 40-26, Dingley outlasted Hallam by 35-28, South Yarra were too good for a battling Caulfield by 55-19, Mordialloc Red thumped Bentleigh by 69-16, while Mordialloc White had to forfeit against Doveton Eagles.

Division 7’s Lyndhurst are the League’s third unbeaten side, and the next three sides will play finals, but the order is anyone’s guess. Murrumbeena hold second with 46 points but have the lowest percentage of any side in the four. Dingley are two points further back on 44, with Hampton another two points adrift on 42. All four sides are favoured to win their last match, but as we all know anything can happen in Round 15. Lyndhurst 38 beat Mount Waverley 19 this week, Aspendale beat CPL by 43-25, Hampton belted Doveton Eagles by 60-19, Murrumbeena were too strong for East Brighton by 54-38, and Dingley beat Springvale Districts by 41-24.

It’s hard to see a change in the seating in Division 8. Hallam Red have the minor premiership secured. Lyndhurst and Hallam Yellow are level on 32 points, but Lyndhurst have played a game less and have a considerable percentage advantage so their second spot should not be under threat. Highett look similarly safe in fourth. Lyndale are the best of the rest, and they beat Oakleigh District by 45-12 this week. Keysborough upset Highett by 31-25, while Hallam Yellow were too good for Lyndhurst in a cracking match by 49-46.

South Yarra and Heatherton will play in the qualifying final in two weeks’ time. They are safe in the top two positions, with South Yarra holding a two-point break, but the two sides play off for top spot in a dress rehearsal in Round 15. Black Rock will play Lyndhurst in the elimination final, with both playing bottom four sides next week. Black Rock beat Dingley in Round 14 by 26-20, Springvale Districts Red beat Clayton by 45-17, Heatherton scored a potential psychological advantage over Lyndhurst by beating them by 39-29, and South Yarra beat Springvale Districts Blue by 51-23.

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