Hawks Netball’s Division 1 team will play off in the Victorian Netball League finals after securing second position on the ladder in the last round of the home and away season.
The Hawks won a physical Round 18 contest 45-41 against fourth-placed Peninsula Waves, with Waves coming into the game requiring a victory in order to remain in the top four.
And the result was up for grabs for almost the entire 60 minutes, with the Hawks leading 12-11 at quarter-time, before extending their advantage to 24-18 by half-time.
The Hawks grew their lead further in the third quarter, holding Waves to just eight goals, before a flurry of six unanswered Waves goals early in the final quarter saw them get within two.
But from there the Hawks were able to steady and secure their 14th win of the season, as well as a double chance in next Wednesday’s semi-finals, where they will play the undefeated North East Blaze for direct passage to the grand final.
After the 2020 and 2021 seasons were cut short due to Covid, the finals berth marks the third consecutive completed season that the Hawks have reached the finals in Division 1.
Hawks Div 1 assistant coach Sophie Durnan said the team had built steadily throughout the year.
“Compared to some of the teams around us who’ve had established lineups and combinations for quite a while, we’re a very new team, so to be in this position is a testament to the girls and the way they’ve come together since the start of the year,” Durnan said.
“Only a few of the players had played together before this year, with more than half the team coming up from 19/Unders or from other clubs, but they’ve all just gelled so well and supported each other.”
“There’s no ego and they just get on with the job together.”
The Hawks will have their work cut out in the semi-final against Blaze, having lost by one and seven goals in the teams’ two encounters this season.
But Durnan said she was confident the Hawks could turn the tables.
“I think all the players would agree we didn’t play anywhere near our best netball against Blaze a couple of weeks ago, when we lost by seven,” she said.
“There were a lot of learnings from that game, and we know that if we can make those few small improvements we’re in with every chance of getting the win.”
HAWKS vs BLAZE – DIVISION 1 MAJOR SEMI-FINAL
7pm AEST – Wednesday, July 20
Court 11 – State Netball Centre