HAWKS FINISH PRESEASON WITH A BANG
Hawks Netball has finished preseason in the best possible fashion, securing five wins and a draw from six 30-minute games in the last official hitouts for its three teams before the home and away season starts in just over two weeks.
The 19/U team got Wednesday night off to a great start with a solid win against DC North East Blaze and a fighting draw against, with coach Di McCormack trying different combinations throughout both games.
“Last night saw the girls take a confident win over Blaze, coming back from some early mistakes to walk away with a three-goal win, 19-16,” McCormack said.
“The Saints game saw a different line-up take the court. The new combinations took a while to get their game moving and after being two points down at the change, came back to draw with Saints 21-21.”
Division 1 was impressive against last year’s grand finalists Blaze, opening up a three-goal lead in the first half and extending it further in the second to register a 22-17 win.
Against Saints, some new combinations took a while to click, with the scores tied at 9-9 after a scrappy first quarter.
But a five-minute burst in the second half was enough for the Hawks to edge clear to win 20-18.
Coach AJ Ballantyne said there were some pleasing signs after a long preseason of preparation.
“Some of the things we’ve been working on defensively finally clicked for us, and it was great to see the girls take confidence from that and build throughout that first game,” he said.
“We’ve still got a long way to go but we’re really pleased with where things are at a couple of weeks out from Round 1.”
In Championship, the addition of Magpies players Sharni Layton and Shae Browne into the Hawks lineup – as well as Ash Brazill and Cody Lange for Blaze and Erin Bell for Saints – drew a crowd to Court 1.
And they didn’t disappoint, with the Hawks finding their best form of the preseason to easily account for last year’s grand final winners in the first game.
Against Saints it took just over a half for the Hawks to get a decisive break, but a solid second half saw them cruise to a comfortable win.
Championship centre Tayla Kearns said the team was shaping up nicely as it chases its first Championship finals appearance in some years, adding that the team’s chemistry on and off the court was already having a clear impact.
“We definitely came out tonight and lifted the intensity from last week,” Kearns said.
“We’re feeling pretty good. Definitely as a team we’ve become a lot tighter from last year – it’s pretty much the same lineup from last year, with the addition of Chich (defender Beth Chiuchiarelli). We’re definitely a lot fitter this year and our structures and things like that are coming together nicely.”
Hawks Netball’s season kicks off on Sunday, April 29 with Anzac round games against Peninsula Waves.