A Victorian Netball League round that promised so much delivered in spades for Hawks Netball in Round 8, with our teams completing a clean sweep against City West Falcons.
In three tight and physical contests the Hawks were composed in the clinches and came away with the four points.
Hawks Netball’s Championship division team capped a memorable night for the club with a thrilling 11-goal win that was in dispute until the final five minutes.
The Hawks led at every change but it wasn’t until the last quarter that they were able to put the result to bed, with the win leaving them in a three-way tussle for top spot on the ladder, alongside Melbourne Uni Lightning and Geelong Cougars.
The Hawks’ goaling combination of Nat Billings (16/19) and Kim Commane (37/44) picked up where they left off last week, potting 17 goals in the first quarter to help their side to a three-goal quarter-time lead, which they held for the next two quarters as both teams battled to gain a decisive break.
With young Falcons shooter Uneeq Palavi (41/48) causing headaches at the other end, Division 1 defender Clare Johnson was flung into the fray just before the final change and, in tandem with goal defence Clare Pettyfor, manufactured a series of telling turnovers in the last quarter, restricting Falcons to just nine goals for the term, while Commane and goal attack Tayla Shannon netted 17 to cap a sensational 61-50 win.
The result sets up an exciting Round 9 clash against Geelong Cougars, with both teams sitting in equal top spot on the ladder with seven wins and one loss against their names.
Top spot on the Division 1 ladder will also be on the line in Round 9, after Hawks Netball’s Div 1 team secured its seventh win in its first eight games with a hard-fought 44-35 performance against City West Falcons.
Behind for most of the first half, the Hawks were down by as many as six goals but remained composed to restrict the damage and trail 8-9 at quarter-time 17-21 at half-time.
Having weathered Falcons’ early physicality, the Hawks began playing more freely in the third quarter, with Bridgette Furphy (21/26) shifting back to goal shooter and finding the net 10 times for the quarter to help her team close the gap and then move past Falcons late, taking a 30-29 lead at three-quarter time.
With defenders Chloe Sinclair and Madelaine Byrne starving Falcons of supply and limiting them to just 14 goals in the second half – six of which were in the last quarter – the Hawks produced a flurry of goals midway through the final quarter to gain the break they needed, and wrapped up an important nine-goal win.
The second-placed Hawks will now take on the top-of-the-table Geelong Cougars in Round 9, with just half a game separating the two sides on the ladder.
The 19/U team got the evening started in the best possible way, riding their best opening quarter of the season to an important eight-goal win against Falcons.
The Hawks were tuned in from the first whistle, with midcourt duo Kassidy Withers and Jasmine Ferguson teaming superbly with goalers Ellie Karaula (30/34) and Hayley Mathews (17/18) to rack up 18 goals from 19 attempts, while at the other end young defenders Gemma Thomas and Chelsea Bowman forced numerous Falcons goaling changes throughout the first half, having kept their opposition to just seven goals in the first quarter and nine in the second.
Leading 28-16 at half-time, the Hawks had their advantage cut to 10 goals at the final change, but held their nerve to continue ticking the scoreboard over and keeping Falcons at arms length.
The 47-39 win sees the 19/U team jump to seventh on the ladder, two games outside the top four and with an assignment against the third-placed Geelong Cougars in Round 9.
The Hawks take on the Cougars next Wednesday, June 13 on Court 5 at the State Netball Hockey Centre.
7pm – Championship
8.20pm – 19/U
9.40pm – Division 1