SFNL Netball Round Review

By Hugh Maclean



Listen back to this week’s Nothing But Net podcast, featuring Mordialloc’s Caity Degaris and St Pauls' Grace Healey as the special guests, in the player above.



Round 6 saw the good, the bad and the ugly come to Division 1 netball. The competition leaders were toppled by the upstart newcomers, and the two-time premiers looked vulnerable, at least for a while. The day, however, was marred by frayed tempers and serious injuries in the process.

Hampton Park took on Keysborough keen to register their first competition points of the season, and began by immediately turning over the first centre pass of the match, as Sam Downie intercepted and set up a passing chain that put the Burras on the board first. Megan Egbers immediately replied twice for Hampton Park and it looked like we could have a match on our hands. Keysborough slowly but surely seized control through the first quarter to end it 12-8 up, and their combinations began to work better in the second term, passing directly and accurately to build their advantage to 26-20. The third quarter was all Keysborough, their mid-court led by Megan Kennedy continually intercepting what Hampton Park tried hard to build, and their 41-26 three quarter time lead was extended to 52-33 by the final siren as a frustrated Hampton Park seemed to go further back the harder they tried.

Caulfield won a battle against St Kilda City where they looked like they could run up a cricket score, but were restricted after half time by a dogged Saints outfit. The Caulfield defensive three were brilliant in the first quarter to restrict the Saints to five goals while scoring 11 of their own. Caulfield ran intelligent angles to work the ball up the court and City seemed powerless to stem the tide. The Bears’ dominance continued in the second quarter as they came into the main break in front by 25-12. The secret was the hard running of the Caulfield side allowing them to make position and space, but this St Kilda City side are quick learners. Rosie Augl and Tash Turner started to take the chances offered by the excellent Chloe Ballard, with those chances becoming more numerous as the second half progressed. With Sophie O’Shea and Beth Miller keeping the scoreboard moving Caulfield were never going to lose, but St Kilda City actually won the second half in keeping the margin to 47-35.

St Pauls took on Heatherton and for half a game the upset seemed on the cards. The absence of Nat Billings meant that Bayley Mifsud went into the goal circle for Heatherton and showed brilliant form in missing rarely from anywhere within the circle. Meanwhile Grace Healey was doing similar early on to keep St Pauls in the game, and she was joined by Zoe Lythgo in the second quarter in converting Adele Gilmore’s best work from goal attack. Heatherton led by just one at quarter time, and two at the half. This was turning into an ill-tempered affair however, with the umpire issuing numerous cautions for dissent, and it was Heatherton that coped better with the powder keg atmosphere and moved the ball far better while their shooters continued not to miss. In the end it was the black and whites that went on to lead 34-26 at the last change and complete a 52-35 victory which belied the industry that St Pauls had shown.

Mordialloc took on Dingley, and what a cracker this match was. Mordialloc knew that they had to start well, and this they did with Caity de Garis and Amy Gledhill again impassable in defence. The shooting left a little to be desired, as it has occasionally this season, and Dingley took a one-goal lead to the first break. Dingley dominated possession and territory early in the second term, but couldn’t quite put Mordialloc away, and when Nicole Delany netted twice against the flow midway through it lit Mordialloc’s fire. They took the lead just before half-time, and a nasty looking ankle injury to talisman Alicia Wise early in the third quarter did not help Dingley’s cause. It was now all Mordialloc but the Dingley mid-court, led by the excellent youngsters Nikki Tulley and Taylah Fiddes, worked hard to keep the three quarter time deficit to 26-22. A brilliant Shae Wonnacott mid-court interception, leading to a Dingley goal, threatened to be a turning point early in the last quarter. Emily Morris however quickly replied for the Reds, and they steadied to record a brilliant 35-32 win.

Caulfield and Cheltenham share the lead in Division 2. Keysborough stayed with Caulfield for the first half, but Caitlyn Ashby scored 13 goals of Caulfield’s 18 in the third term to turn for home 20 goals up, and they continued to win by 54-27. Cheltenham set up their win over South Yarra with a 30-17 half time lead, which they extended in each of the final two quarters to win by 54-30. Murrumbeena stay third by outstaying Dingley Red by 40-34, while Heatherton’s 45-37 win over a gallant Bentleigh keeps them in fourth. Dingley Gold maintained their chase on the top four with a barrier-to-box 33-18 win over Clayton, which leaves them fifth on percentage alone.

The two Dingley sides top Division 3. Gold hold a slight advantage, franked by a 60-26 win over a much shorter Mordialloc side with Bianca Waras-Carstensen netting 55 of their goals. Red maintained their chase having beaten third-placed St Kilda City in brilliant match in which they withstood a withering City last quarter burst to prevail by 41-38. Heatherton take fourth spot after a 41-23 win over a tenacious Caulfield. The main chasers are Cheltenham, who were level with Lyndale at half time before winning a defensive battle by 24-21, and Black Rock who were never troubled in despatching Bentleigh by 45-10.

Murrumbeena led all day, and won each quarter convincingly over a battling Caulfield Blue, finishing 58-23 victors and taking top spot in Division 4. Heatherton Black showed too much intensity and class for Mordialloc in winning by 49-29 and remaining second, while Caulfield Yellow walloped Hampton Park by 64-28 on the back of Sam Dix’s 44 goals. CPL’s fighting 39-28 win over winless Keysborough gives them fourth spot. Elsewhere Heatherton White beat Springvale Districts by 35-32 after an even first half, and St Kilda City withstood a fast-finishing South Yarra, winning by 37-33.

Three sides share Division 5’s top billing. Oakleigh District won every quarter in a physical affair to beat Heatherton by 42-23 and lead the way on percentage. Aspendale take second after a brilliant defensive display in beating Highett by 45-14, with Dingley Gold third having come from behind to beat Cheltenham by 39-32. Lyndhurst with Melissa Mair scoring 35 goals beat Black Rock by 45-20 to take fourth spot, while East Brighton’s steady four quarters in beating St Kilda City by 32-18 give them fifth. The final match saw Kellie Murphy net 30 times for Dingley Red, who were too strong for St Pauls in the second half to win by 39-21.

Mordialloc Red in Division 6 became the first side in the SFNL to aggregate 300 goals in their 53-20 belting of Keysborough. They lead from Lyndale, who kept Dingley scoreless in the third quarter in beating them 38-15 in a match marred by a serious knee injury to Dingley’s Kelly Short. Clayton will feel that they could have won more comfortably in their 31-19 win over Mordialloc While, but it was enough to take third spot from Doveton, whose match against Bentleigh was rescheduled. Caulfield won their first match in an upset over St Kilda City, having set their 31-23 triumph up with a dominant first half. Meanwhile the division’s closest match came when Hallam stole a match that South Yarra had led throughout, winning by 37-36.

Lyndhurst played Hampton in Division 7’s top-of-the-table affair, and the defences prevailed in a 25-20 Lyndhurst win. Dingley took second spot from Hampton, with Rachel Nichols scoring 43 goals and Sam Runnells 23 as they defeated Doveton by 69-22. Murrumbeena took the final spot in the four, replacing Aspendale through beating them by 35-20, while CPL maintained the rage by beating Mount Waverley by 44-25. The side to watch as the season progresses may be East Brighton, with Felicity Dawkins making it 119 goals in two matches as the Vampires beat Cheltenham by 63-37. In the last game Springvale Districts finished strongly against Heatherton but fell short by 38-31.

Leaders Hallam Red were pushed the whole way in a tight defensive battle by fifth placed Lyndale in Division 8’s match of the day. Lyndhurst were never troubled in putting away Keysborough’s challenge by 50-17, while Hallam Yellow were too experienced for Oakleigh District in winning by 51-19. Yellow remain fourth behind Highett, who had the bye.

Six points separate the top four teams in Division 9. It’s Heatherton that lead after their dominant 41-19 win over Springvale Districts Red. Black Rock led Springvale Districts Blue by 21 at half time and didn’t slow down in the second half in winning by 52-16 and taking second spot, while South Yarra won every quarter in beating Lyndhurst by 40-28 and swapping positions with them. In the lower half of the table, Dingley’s Jess Ellis and Imogen Jordan put in fine defensive performances in beating Clayton by 27-8.

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