Hawks Netball’s Division 1 team will play off for a spot in the Bupa Victorian Netball League grand final after overcoming Selkirk Sovereigns in a sudden death semi-final.
And an outstanding season came to an end for our Championship team, which fought valiantly before succumbing 48-61 against City West Falcons.
The Division 1 result was a 38-goal turnaround from the last time the two teams met in Round 13, when a dominant Sovereigns romped to a 31-59 victory – the Hawks’ worst loss of the season.
But this time the Hawks would not be denied, pulling clear in a brilliant final quarter to take a 62-52 win and keep their finals dream alive.
In a nervous start t to the game, Hawks goalers Daisy Hill (47 goals from 55 attempts) and Bridgette Furphy (15 from 20) missed four of their first five shots on goal before the team settled, working their way back from 3-7 down to trail 14-16 at quarter-time.
Turnovers were hard to come by in the second quarter, but two timely intercepts from goal keeper Clare Johnson midway through the quarter, along with 16/16 shooting from Hill and consistent delivery from midcourters Kate Fletcher and Olivia Gigli, saw the Hawks grab the lead for the first time and carry a 33-30 advantage into half-time.
Sovereigns made their move in the third quarter, with goal shooter Rebecca Scott getting on top again and helping her team pile on 16 goals to 11 to retake the lead and be in front 44-46 at the final change.
But three quarters of hard team defence finally paid off in the last quarter, with Enya Broadley entering the game at wing defence and pulling off a series of spectacular intercepts, while goal defence Chloe Sinclair was rewarded for a dogged performance with a number of crucial turnovers.
The Hawks restricted Sovereigns to just six goals in the final term, while sending home 18 of their own to cap a sensational 10-goal win and advance to the preliminary final, where they will face DC North East Blaze this Sunday at 2pm at the State Netball Hockey Centre
In the earlier game, the Hawks’ Championship division team pushed City West Falcons every step of the way.
With the Hawks having finished fourth on the ladder at the end of the home and away season and having not played finals since 2011, the team embraced the “underdog” tag and took the game right up to a team laden with Melbourne Vixens and Magpies training partners, as well as Victorian Fury players.
Both teams felt each other out in the first quarter, trading goals early while Hawks goal keeper Shannon Rennison collected a number of important turnovers despite a significant height mismatch against Falcons shooter Jane Cook.
A few quick goals late in the quarter gave Falcons the edge and an 11-14 lead at quarter-time. They made their move early in the second as the game opened up, pushing their advantage out towards 10 goals, before the Hawks began to make inroads late in the quarter to pull the deficit back to seven.
The game rested on a knife’s edge midway through the third term as the Hawks closed to within four goals, however a couple of quick turnovers unravelled that work and saw Falcons muscle their way back out to a seven-goal lead – 36-43.
With nothing to lose, the Hawks swung changes in the final quarter, but the weight of numbers proved too great, with Falcons netting 18 goals from 20 attempts to the Hawks’ 12 goals to complete a 48-61 result.