A crowd of more than 200 turned out to watch Hawks Netball take on Ariels at the Hawks’ first Bupa Victorian Netball League home game in its new colours, and were treated to two big wins on Saturday night.
Here’s our wrap of Round 10.
Hawks Netball sits all alone at the top of the Victorian Netball League Championship division ladder, after a comfortable 50-37 win over Ariels in the club’s first home game in Hawks colours.
With Melbourne University Lightning going down to the third-placed Geelong Cougars on Friday night, the Hawks’ win saw them assume top spot on their own, with nine wins from their first 10 games of the season.
The Hawks were made to work the entire way against Ariels on Saturday evening, trailing 12-13 at quarter-time and never quite able to shake their opposition until late in the game.
A 17-8 second quarter saw the home side click into gear, with goalers Kim Commane (32/33) and Nat Billings (16/22) collecting a perfect 17/17 for the quarter, but Ariels again narrowed the gap early in the third.
The Hawks, led by standout games from Clare Pettyfor and Shannon Rennison in defence, rallied to push the margin back to 10 goals at three-quarter time – 39-29 – and added another 11 in the last to post their seventh consecutive victory.
Commane heaped praise on the Hawks’ defence end, which worked tirelessly on four different Ariels goaling combinations throughout the game and continued to turn over ball.
“Full credit to our defence line-up. Clare and Shan worked tirelessly,” Commane said.
“They put pressure on every ball and their rebounding was exceptional, making it hard for Ariels’ goalers to settle, paired with Kaela (Hughes) and Kelsey (Buxton), whose big engines made it hell for the middies with hands over everything and consistent talk.”
“Attacking wise, Lil’s (O’Sullivan’s) smarts and Mon’s (Tarrant’s) speed complemented each other well. With quick ball movement it opened up our Hawks goalers.”
The Hawks now face a quick turnaround for Round 11 on Wednesday, when they come up against the sixth-placed Peninsula Waves.
A dominant defensive performance underpinned the Hawks’ Division 1 team’s sixth win in a row – a 55-18 victory against Ariels.
The result ensured the Hawks maintained top spot on the Division 1 ladder, half a game clear of Geelong Cougars.
Clare Johnson and Chloe Sinclair were outstanding in defence for the Hawks, restricting Ariels to just three goals in the first quarter and four in the second, with Olivia Gigli and Enya Broadley blanketing Ariels’ midcourt out front.
Meanwhile in attack, the Hawks poured in 32 first-half goals to open up a game-winning 26-goal lead at half-time.
The second half saw the Hawks hold Ariels to just 11 goals while adding another 23 of their own, with Daisy Hill finishing with 26 goals from 32 attempts, Bridgette Furphy 15 from 22 and Monique Lenehan-Moustafa 14 from 19.
Midcourter Maddie Johns also got her first taste of VNL action in the third quarter, after a long recovery from an ankle injury.
A brave defensive display from the Hawks’ young defence end wasn’t quite enough to take the points against Ariels, with the visiting side grabbing a 34-41 win.
The Hawks’ defenders held Ariels to only 41 goals, but a tough stretch through the middle of the game saw the Hawks’ add only 13 goals in the second and third quarters.
Down 10-11 at quarter-time, the Hawks hung tough in the second quarter to be only four goals down at the long break, but Ariels extended their advantage to seven with one quarter remaining.
Holly Keating was a standout in wing defence, earning some of the umpires’ votes and battling hard to keep her team in it, while goal keeper Alex Stephenson and Gemma Thomas let just 20 goals through in the second half.
But the gap proved too great, with the teams splitting the final quarter 11-11 and giving Ariels a seven-goal win.
The Hawks remain in eighth place on the 19/U ladder with three wins, and will face off against the fourth-placed Peninsula Waves on Wednesday night.