Hawks Netball’s 19/Under team’s hot start to the Victorian Netball League season has continued, with a third win from as many starts propelling them to a share of top spot on the ladder.
The Hawks saw off Casey Demons comfortably on Wednesday night, riding a 20-goal first quarter to a 52-44 win.
It was an impressive start from the young Hawks, who held Casey to just seven goals in the opening 15 minutes, while goalers Keeley Burgmann and Hannah Keane added 10 each at the other end to set up the winning lead.
The second quarter saw the VNL debut of Dee Dee Deng, who missed the first two rounds with a finger injury but looked right at home, netting 12 goals for the quarter, while defenders Gemma Thomas and Charlotte Crook were dominant as the Hawks extended their advantage to 34-17.
An 18-goal three quarter-time lead allowed coach Guy Keane to try new combinations, debuting Hawks Next Generation athletes Lucy McKellar – who entered the game at half-time – Jen Wrigglesworth and Charli Considine, with all five Next Generation training partners now having taken the court across the first three rounds.
A flurry of Casey goals narrowed the gap to five late in the game before the Hawks steadied to run out eight-goal winners.
Only Peninsula Waves sits above the Hawks on the ladder, courtesy of a higher percentage, with the Hawks now set to face eighth-placed City West Falcons at Altona on Sunday, May 16.
The Hawks’ Division 1 team secured a much-needed first win of the season in Round 3, holding off a dogged Casey side 45-38 in a see-sawing contest.
A sluggish and scrappy start saw the Hawks fall behind 4-8 early in the first quarter, before netting seven of the last 10 goals of the term to square the ledger 11-11 at quarter-time.
The second quarter was all Hawks as the attack end found some rhythm and defenders Brodie Brunt, Emily Kay and Olivia Spence clamped down, grabbing four intercepts between them to help their side pull clear 26-19.
Casey came hard in the third quarter, restricting Hawks to seven goals and shaving the margin to three, but a standout 10-from-10 shooting quarter from goal attack Elle Rice (24 goals from 28 attempts) in the final 15 minutes was enough for them to again kick clear and collect their first points of the season.
The win keeps the Hawks in touch with the top four, ahead of a Round 4 assignment against the winless City West Falcons.
Hawks Netball’s Championship team has fired a shot over the bow of the rest of the competition, coming within four goals of last season’s grand finalists Casey Demons.
Facing a team laden with current and former Suncorp Super Netball training partners in Emma Ryde, Tayla Honey and Sacha McDonald, the Hawks took it up to the Demons from the outset and fought back bravely in the second half after trailing by as many as 10 in the third quarter, before going down 52-56.
The Hawks had contributors all over the court, with young goal shooter Daisy Hill potting 24 goals in her first full game at Championship level, while at the other end Clare Johnson became the first goal keeper to hold Ryde to less than 50 goals this season (44).
Leading for parts of the first quarter and down by just two at the first change, the Hawks kept pace in the second quarter to remain in touch 25-31 at the long break.
A Casey surge early in the second half saw them extend their lead to 10 goals but again they were met with stern resistance, with the Hawks engineering a fightback to cut the gap to five goals at three-quarter time.
A 16-goal final term wasn’t enough for the Hawks to get past the equal ladder leaders, who scored 15 of the own to hang on.
The Hawks now have 11 days to prepare for a tough assignment against the high-scoring City West Falcons.
Hawks Netball plays City West Falcons at Altona Sports Centre on Sunday, May 16. 19/U – 1pm, Division 1 – 2.30pm, Championship – 4pm.