As always, Mel, Wiz and Hugh discussed all things SFNL netball on this week's edition of Nothing But Net on 88.3 Southern FM. Listen back to the podcast of Sunday's show in the player above.
By Hugh Maclean
After some frenetic activity in recent weeks in Division 1, it seemed that there was relative calm on this morning. But one unusual occurrence and one unexpected result was in keeping with the idea that things are not always what they seem.
There were only three matches this week due to St Pauls, through a mix of unavailability, injury and illness, were unable to field a team, thus handing the points to Heatherton White and taking them past Keysborough into the top four.
Heatherton Black played Keysborough, in a match played at an almost funereal tempo early on. Heatherton took the early advantage’ leading 13-8 after the first stanza, but Keysborough started to win their share of the contests in the middle of the court to reduce the margin to three at the main break. As if stung into action by the slight of it all, Heatherton took control after half time, moving the ball well and shooting accurately, and with Zali Mifsud being particularly decisive the Heatherton shooters were given enough ball to finish with a 54-37 victory.
Dingley made a mockery of their recent tendency to start matches slowly, shooting out of the blocks like a rocket to lead 20-6 at the first change. The new shooting combination of Laura Piper and debutante Bridgett Furphy wasted no time in gelling, and with Tayla Fiddes leading the Dingley mid-court in feeding the ball into the circle, the young Bentleigh side were quickly overwhelmed. Credit has to be given to Bentleigh for fighting the game out and working hard to the final siren, but Dingley were able to win every quarter in a comprehensive 75-24 victory which keeps them in pole position at the top of the ladder.
Caulfield took on St Kilda City in a match where, although both sides were depleted, they would have expected to emerge victorious. No one told the Saints girls this however, and over the course of the match it was them that played the more consistent netball. An even first quarter saw both sides have their moments of ascendancy, but St Kilda City took the narrowest of advantages to quarter time. The second quarter saw more of the same, City extending their lead to 23-20, but it was the third quarter in which the match was won. With a mid-court led by the speed and drive of Carly Buhagiar taking control, and Sarah Jackson in particular defending brilliantly, City were able to turn for home leading by nine, and with their attack showing patience and their decision-making sound in the final term, St Kilda City ran out 48-38 to the good. While Caulfield retain third spot, this keeps City in touch with the top four.
Round 10 sees some matches that could have a huge impact on the composition of the final four. The Heatherton derby sees second pitted against fourth, while table-topping Dingley take on third placed Caulfield. Keysborough play St Kilda City with the winner likely to emerge as the main challengers for fourth spot, whilst St Pauls play Bentleigh with both improving sides eager to gain some result for their endeavours.
Division 2 this week followed the accepted script, with the top three sides emerging victorious over the bottom three with fourth placed South Yarra having the bye. St Kilda City have given higher placed opponents a bit of trouble over the season, and they gave Dingley a few nervous moments before the Dingoes prevailed by 49-40. Top placed Heatherton may not have wanted to give up 31 goals to Mordialloc, but they won’t have been displeased to score 66 goals of their own. Meanwhile, Caulfield maintained their pursuit of the top three by defeating Bentleigh by 52-28.
Dingley remained top of division three by two points, after a hard-fought 39-29 win over a gritty Black Rock. Clayton are the main challengers; they completed a solid 34-22 win over Lyndale. Heatherton beat Keysborough by 47-38 to stay third, giving St Kilda City, who beat Caulfield in a real battle by 32-29, a bit of breathing space in fourth.
While the top four in Division 4 is the Dingley & Heatherton show, there is still a lot of interest in this competition. The two Dingley sides lead the way, with Dingley Gold topping the table and Red in second. Heatherton White were beaten in the surprise of the day by Mordialloc, by 55-46 to fall to third, while Heatherton Black’s 43-34 win over Keysborough gives them a four-point break over St Kilda City in the battle for fourth. Elsewhere Black Rock beat South Yarra in an epic battle, finally prevailing by 32-31.
The top three in Division 5 all have eight wins and are separated by percentage only. Lyndhurst, 48-43 winners over Skye, lead the way from Caulfield, who defeated Bentleigh by 59-23. Dingley take third spot by beating Highett by 40-24. Heatherton were beaten in a see-sawing battle, 37-36 by Cheltenham in a result which means that they hold a mere four-point advantage in fourth spot. St Kilda City’s 47-16 win over St Pauls means that they join Skye and Cheltenham in the chasing pack four points adrift. East Brighton meanwhile overtake a depleted Dandenong on the points table with their 40-25 victory.
Division 6 leaders Doveton beat Dingley Red in a fine 41-37 win to relegate them from second to fourth. Dingley Gold’s narrow 36-34 win over St Kilda City give them second spot, while Heatherton take third by way of their 39-21 win over Clayton. Mount Waverley’s second draw of the season (42-42 with Lyndale), and Mordialloc’s 39-31 reverse against Aspendale, faltered their challenge for the top four without doing them terminal damage, while South Yarra stayed in the hunt with a 29-26 win over Hallam.
Dingley’s 37-25 win over Heatherton keeps them unbeaten in Division 7, with nearest challengers Oakleigh District beating Chelsea Heights 38-19. CPL’s 43-15 win over St Kilda City takes them past Heatherton into third place, while Lyndhurst (38-22 winners over Hampton), and East Brighton (who drew 41-41 with Doveton), are still well and truly in the race. Murrumbeena completed the round with a strong 35-30 win over Cheltenham.
There’s not much to choose between the top three in Division 8. It’s Keysborough that lead the pack, having beaten Heatherton convincingly by 53-14. Mordialloc are level on points but have played one extra match, they beat Dandenong by 59-16. Lyndhurst’s 40-23 defeat of Lyndale keeps them in third spot, while Dingley stay fourth by agency of their 38-16 win over South Yarra. Hallam beat Mount Waverley by 43-27 and Caulfield outlasted Black Rock by 33-22 to complete the rivalry for Round 9.