Hawks Netball had its best outing of the 2019 Bupa Victorian Netball League season to date in Round 5, coming away with all three wins against Peninsula Waves.
Playing at Waverley Netball Centre for the first time since 2011, the Hawks looked right at home in their new surrounds, with strong performances across the board.
Hawks Netball’s Championship division team’s VNL season is back on track, after scoring their second win of the season in Round 5 against Peninsula Waves.
Having broken through for their first win in four rounds last week against Melbourne Uni Lightning, the Hawks faced a dangerous Waves outfit that got within four goals of ladder leaders City West Falcons.
With a focus on delivering another consistent performance, the Hawks picked up where they left off in Round 4, opening up a 16-9 lead at quarter-time off the back off perfect 16-from-16 shooting from goalers Nat Billings and Tayla Shannon.
The Hawks increased their lead to eight goals at half-time, then nine at the final change, threatening to break the game open numerous times but not quite able to put Waves away.
Steady heads prevailed in the last quarter as centre Tayla Kearns and wing attack Lil O’Sullivan continued to provide scoring opportunities, while in defence Shannon Rennison, Clare Pettyfor, Clare Johnson and Enya Broadley held Waves to 20 goals in the second half to help wrap up a 52-41 win.
The result sees Hawks climb to seventh on the VNL ladder after five rounds, just one game outside the top four and with an important clash against Ariels (1-4) next week.
The Hawks’ Division 1 team emerged from some early woes to record a convincing 54-33 win against Waves.
Trailing 0-5 in the opening minutes against a Waves team that was full of confidence after two impressive performances in recent weeks, the Hawks battled to connect early.
But halfway through the quarter they finally settled and begin chipping away at the gap, with goal keeper Sally Deller coming up with six turnovers in the first quarter alone to keep her team in the hunt and help them tie the scores at 10-10 at quarter-time.
Things began to click in the second quarter, with the Hawks adding 12 goals and upping their defensive pressure to hold Waves to seven, but it was the third quarter that proved the difference, with Hawks goalers Daisy Hill (36/43, three votes) and Elle Rice (12/17, two votes) shooting 18 goals between them, while the defence end gave up just six goals to carry a 40-23 lead into three-quarter time.
Another 14 goals to 10 in the fourth quarter saw the Hawks secure their third consecutive win and solidify their position in a tightly-contested top four.
The Hawks’ 19/under team overcame a scrappy start, a dogged opponent and some tense moments in the final quarter to hang on for a thrilling one-goal win in the first match of the evening.
No more than two goals separated Hawks and Waves at any of the breaks, with the scores tied at 11-11 at quarter-time, the Hawks leading 21-19 at half-time and Waves reducing the margin to one at the final change.
The Hawks relinquished the lead early in the final term and from there it was anyone’s game, with both teams looking the likely winner at times throughout the quarter.
The Hawks hit the front again in the dying minutes and tested their own nerve as both teams coughed up the ball while trying to maintain possession.
But with Hannah Keane (21/30) netting a perfect five from five in the fourth quarter and collecting three votes from the umpires, along with the Hawks’ defence end of Olivia Spence and Gemma Thomas keeping Waves to just 39 goals for the game, they were able to chew up the last 30 seconds to maintain their one-goal advantage and secure an important second win of the season.
Hawks vice-captain Olivia Morris said the win was a major step forward for the team, which had been focusing on executing their game plan and skills under pressure, after some tight losses in the opening four rounds.
“This time we stayed calm and composed in those pressure situations and worked incredibly well as a team from the beginning,” she said.
Morris said it was pleasing the team was able to reward another strong defensive performance by time converting at the other end.
“There were heaps of positives to take out of the game but the biggest one was our conversions from intercepts. We’ve struggled with it in the first four rounds so it was amazing to see that when we stay composed with the ball we can convert those intercepts we create from all areas of the court.”
The Hawks take on Ariels in Bupa VNL Round 6 at the State Netball Hockey Centre on Wednesday, May 1.
7pm – Championship
8.20pm – 19/Under
9.40pm – Division 1