Listen back to the podcast of Sunday’s ‘Nothing But Net’ radio show, with special guest Teena Mifsud (Heatherton FNC) in the player below.
By Hugh Maclean
A warm Saturday afternoon brought a Round 3 that saw a brilliant grand final rematch, a young side announce themselves as a genuine premiership threat, and another Division 1 regular show that they are going to be a serious threat to anyone that they play.
Heatherton Black and Dingley faced off with the Dingoes looking for revenge after their defeat in the last match of 2016, and what a game of netball this was! Rahni Samason got the scoring underway for Heatherton, a goal that was quickly levelled by Dingley’s Sarah Fischer. Dingley got the first break, but the Heatherton girls quickly regained their composure to trail by only two at the first change. The match continued as a see-sawing affair throughout the second quarter with Heatherton going to oranges one goal to the good, but a brilliant third term by defenders Chloe Sinclair and Britt Goldsmith helped give Dingley a three-goal advantage leading into the final quarter. Here Samason and Nat Billings went to work but Dingley looked as though they would not be denied, until two late goals gave Heatherton a share of the points through a 52-all draw.
Heatherton White and Keysborough shared an even start before the Heatherton girls gained a five goal break late in the first quarter. This was a contrast in styles with Amy Burns and Laura Agius running the mid-court with short passes designed to create space and position, while Heatherton looked to get the ball quickly to shooters Bella Riddell and Mia McMillan. Heatherton felt that they tired a little towards the end of the first half, causing a few poor decisions to be made, but the margin remained constant until Keysborough made their charge in the last quarter. Sadly for the Borough, they again fell just short in a close encounter, going down by just the one goal, 30-29.
St Kilda City played St Pauls with City gaining the early advantage, leading by three at quarter time. This was a slightly scrappy affair with a lot of defensive pressure being applied, but St Kilda looked slightly the cleaner going forward. At the other end, while the athleticism of Grace Healey was a constant threat, St Kilda defended the back third very well. City increased their lead in every quarter, leading by six at half time and eight at three quarter time, before finally winning by 44-32.
Caulfield took on Bentleigh in a game that was brought forward due to Bentleigh’s ladies day function. The early start led to the court being a bit damp underfoot, in contrast to later proceedings, which took both sides a little time to come to terms with. Once they did it was Caulfield that showed the benefit of their greater experience and poise to lead early. The margin largely remained at between five and ten goals throughout until the Bears stepped on the gas in the fourth quarter, finishing the match victorious by 58-40.
Heatherton White are therefore the surprise early leaders on 12 points from Dingley and Heatherton Black on 10. Caulfield round out the four on 8 points, Keysborough and St Kilda City have 4, with St Pauls and Bentleigh yet to register.
As has been the case in the opening two rounds, Division 2 saw some large margins registered this week. Heatherton were once more the heaviest scorers, although the score does not necessarily reflect the nature of the physical battle in this match. St Kilda City made their more credentialed opponents fight hard for every ball, and Heatherton knew they had been in a match despite the 61-29 scoreline.
Caulfield continued their impressive early season form against Mordialloc. The ladies in red stuck to their task doggedly, but were able to stop the dam wall breaking against a slick looking Bears outfit with Caulfield victors by 45-22. South Yarra have shown that they will not be overawed by the jump into Division 2, starting with a solid win and a competitive loss. Here they ran into a Dingley side that are regular finalists at this level, and the Dingoes showed a little too much class in this one, winning by 45-22, although it would not surprise to see the margin much thinner the next time these sides meet.
Dingley remain unbeaten in Division 3, accounting for Keysborough, who like their division one compatriots have had three close games while gaining little reward. 36-26 was the scoreline here. They are joined at the top table by Clayton, who inflicted Caulfield’s first loss by 34-19. Black Rock beat Hampton by 53-14. Lyndale tasted their first defeat by 39-35 at the hands of St Kilda City, while Heatherton got on the board by beating Mordialloc by 53-26.
Heatherton White continued their unbeaten start to Division 4 by winning the derby over Heatherton Black by 45-31. Both Dingley sides also remain unbeaten although both have had a bye, Dingley Yellow easily accounting for Caulfield this week by 67-31. Keysborough got their season moving in style, registering a 66-23 win over St Pauls, while St Kilda City and Black Rock both managed their second wins for the season, beating East Brighton 40-17 and South Yarra 32-28 respectively.
Lyndhurst and St Kilda City Red have been most impressive in Division 5. The Lightning took their third scalp by beating Dandenong by 53-25 and the Saints did the same over Mordialloc by 49-29. Dingley are also unbeaten, winning 40-36 over the previously unbeaten Skye. Elsewhere Heatherton swept the court in beating St Kilda Black 75-19 and Cheltenham 32 outlasted Bentleigh 19.
The winless South Yarra surprised undefeated Dingley Yellow by 26-25 in Division 6. Doveton beat Mount Waverley in a clash of unbeaten sides by 52-41, Lyndale got on the board by 21-11 over Chelsea Heights, while Dingley Red made Aspendale wait a bit longer for their first win, triumphing by 54-37. The other unbeaten sides are Heatherton (41-16 winners over Caulfield), and Clayton (who conquered Hallam by 37-15).
Division 7 gave us the second draw of the day, Heatherton and Lyndhurst unable to be separated at 28-28. Dingley continued setting the early pace with a 38-17 win over Murrumbeena, Cheltenham beat Doveton 47-29, Oakleigh were too good for Hampton by 30-12, and East Brighton gained their first points by beating St Kilda City by 30-13.
Dingley are the only Division 8 side with three wins, having beaten Mount Waverley by 41-20, although Lyndhurst (43-30 winners over Dandenong), and Keysborough have two wins and a bye. Lyndale beat Heatherton by 22-11, Mordialloc beat Hallam by 52-20, and South Yarra beat Black Rock by 38-9 in other matches.