VNL RD 2: HAWKS’ WINNING START CONTINUES
Hawks Netball’s Championship and Division 1 teams have maintained their winning starts to the Victorian Netball League season, while our 19/U team again came close in a tight encounter with Ariels.
Here’s our wrap of VNL Round 2.
It wasn’t the crisp performance that the team displayed in Round 1 on Sunday, but Hawks Netball’s Championship division team did just enough to hold off Ariels 49-46 to secure its second win on the trot.
The Hawks led for almost the entire match and threatened to blow the game open numerous times throughout, as the lead pushed towards 10 goals.
But a high error count and some wasted opportunities saw Ariels keep things close. The Hawks led by three goals at half-time and eight at the final change, but Ariels again made a charge, closing to within two goals.
Steady shooting from Nat Billings and Kim Commane allowed the Hawks to keep their opposition at arm’s length in the final few minutes, running out three-goal winners.
Coach Jacqui Hansen put the performance down to the tight turnaround from Sunday’s Round 1, after a big and emotional build-up to the season-opener.
The Hawks’ Division 1 team overcame a lacklustre first half to run down Ariels in the final quarter and secure a thrilling one-goal win, remaining unbeaten after two rounds.
The team couldn’t quite fire as it did in Round 1, with Ariels disrupting the attacking end’s flow and winning the second quarter 13-7 to take a seven-goal lead into half-time.
A few positional switches allowed the Hawks to claw their way back into the game, with Bridgette Furphy (12 goals from 14 attempts) pivotal at goal attack, Juliet Fisher causing headaches at wing defence and Nichola Tulley solid through the centre.
At three-quarter-time the margin had been shaved to two. The Hawks kept coming in the final quarter, taking the lead midway through the term and then trading goals with Ariels goal shooter Sophie O’Shea, however a couple of key turnovers in the dying minutes allowed them to grab and hold a 42-41 lead at the final whistle.
It was deja vu for our 19/U team in Round 2, with the young Hawks leading early, keeping things tight through the middle quarters but then fading late to go down by eight goals against Ariels.
A solid first quarter saw the Hawks lead 11-10, with the scores tied at 21-21 at half-time.
Ariels began to get on top in the third quarter, with goal shooter Grace Kelly (37 goals from 43 attempts) proving a handful for the Hawks defenders and helping her team establish a five-goal lead.
The Hawks continued to threaten, with young goal defence Gemma Thomas and midcourter Jasmine Ferguson – pinch-hitting in goal keeper in the second half – continuing to turn over the ball and provide opportunities for their team.
But it wasn’t enough, with the Hawks managing eight goals in the final quarter to Ariels’ 11 to leave the final score 38-46.
Hawks Netball takes on DC North East Blaze in VNL Round 3 next Wednesday, May 9, from 7pm at the State Netball Hockey Centre in Parkville.