An opposition goal in the dying seconds has snuffed out Hawks Netball’s Championship division team’s bid for a fifth win from the opening nine games of the season.
In a heartstopping battle with Peninsula Waves, the Hawks led by as many as four goals throughout the contest but couldn’t break clear, with Waves netting a goal with less than 15 seconds remaining in the game to take a 57-56 lead.
The Hawks almost snatched a draw after rushing to take the subsequent centre pass and putting a Hail Mary pass in the hands of their goalers, but couldn’t convert their final shot as time expired.
With the season now at the halfway mark, the Hawks remain in seventh position, just one-and-a-half games outside the top four.
They face a critical assignment on Wednesday when they take on top two side City West Falcons, who the Hawks defeated in a memorable two-goal win in Round 4.
Hawks Netball’s Division 1 team has produced their best performance of the season to pull off a 24-goal win against Peninsula Waves.
The Hawks led from start to finish after a dominant first quarter in which they scored off their first 14 centre passes on the way to a 21-8 scoreline at the first break.
With goal shooter Dom Taylor netting a perfect 31 goals from 31 attempts in the first half and midcourt trio Kate Fletcher, Abi Inglis and Ash Newham continuing deliver a stream of ball to the goal circle, the Hawks pushed their advantage to 16 goals at half-time and 25 at the final change, before running out 68-44 winners.
Fletcher sung the praises of her teammates after they turned in their most consistent game of the season to date.
“We couldn’t believe how strong our start was in the first quarter. We’ve been working hard on full team defence and attacking connections and it was so rewarding to see it pay off,” she said.
“Dom was a weapon under the post. She is a rising star of the team and it’s exciting to watch her grow in confidence each week.”
Hawks Division 1 coach AJ Ballantyne said it was great to see the entire team put a full four quarters together.
“Throughout the first nine rounds it’s been our defence that has really led from the front, but our attack end has continued to build and this week was definitely their moment to shine,” he said.
“Our goalers were obviously outstanding, but it was the work out the front from our midcourt that set a lot of it up. Ash and Kate in wing attack really worked hard and continued to find great space throughout the entire game, while Abi worked beautifully around them to fill the gaps.”
The win was the Hawks’ seventh from the first nine games of the season, and consolidates their position in second on the Division 1 ladder.
An incredible 12-goal comeback wasn’t enough for the Hawks’ 19/Under team to steal the win in Round 9, with Waves hanging on to win by six goals.
A slow start saw the Hawks trail second-placed Peninsula 11-17 at quarter-time, with the margin swelling to 12 goals during the second quarter.
But the injection of Eliza Molino at goal shooter began to turn the tide in Hawks’ favour, with the defensive pressure of centre Sienna Green and goal defence Olivia Barnett helping the team erase the entire deficit in the third quarter, with the scores locked at three-quarter time.
But an early run of goals to start the final quarter was enough to douse the Hawks’ challenge, as Waves held on to win 58-52.
The loss sees the Hawks reach the season’s halfway point with five wins, three losses and a draw, sitting in sixth position but only half a game outside the top four, and one-and-a-half games off top spot in the incredibly tight 19/Under division.