It was a memorable night in more ways than one as Hawks Netball made its Victorian Netball League debut in Hawks colours.
Two wins, a team on top of the ladder and a host of great individual and team performances headlined an brilliant night of action at the State Netball Hockey Centre.
Hawks Netball’s Championship team sits atop the VNL ladder after a 58-43 Round 1 win against Peninsula Waves that showcased the team’s improvement over the off-season.
A tight first quarter saw the Hawks lead 13-12, before they blew the game open with a 14-7 second quarter as defensive duo Shannon Rennison and Clare Pettyfor turned up the pressure, while midcourters Monique Tarrant, Tayla Kearns and Lil O’Sullivan delivered consistent supply to the Hawks goal circle throughout the match.
Hawks goal shooter Kim Commane (38 goals from 40 attempts) couldn’t be stopped in the third quarter, pouring in all 13 of the team’s goals as the lead extended to 10.
An injection of fresh legs in the final quarter delivered another boost, with Kaela Hughes entering at wing defence and new Hawks recruit Beth Chiuchiarelli stepping in at goal defence as the Hawks nailed another 18 goals to put the finishing touches on a 15-goal win.
The Hawks’ Division 1 team delivered the club’s first win in its new colours, leading from start to finish to claim a 48-41 result against Waves.
Goal shooter Daisy Hill – on debut in Division 1 – was almost unstoppable with the ball in hand, netting 36 goals from 41 attempts in an impressive first-up performance, including nine goals in the first quarter to help the Hawks establish a five-goal lead.
Waves narrowed the gap to four goals at half-time, before the Hawks pulled away again in the third, with goal defence Chloe Sinclair and goal keeper Clare Johnson – also on debut for the club – continuing to apply pressure and holding Waves to nine goals for the quarter.
Waves made another charge early in the final term, but the Hawks steadied and were able to pull clear to win by seven.
A rollercoaster Round 1 battle saw the Hawks come up just short in the 19/U division.
The lead changed hands numerous times throughout the first half as the Hawks grabbed the early advantage to lead 11-10 at quarter-time, before Waves won the second quarter 10-6 to take a three-goal lead into half-time.
Outstanding VNL debuts from goal keeper Alex Stephenson and Gemma Thomas helped keep Waves’ scoring in check throughout the first half and into the third quarter, with the Hawks fighting their way back to trail by one goal at the final change.
But it was not to be, with Waves piling on the first seven goals of the final quarter, and despite the young Hawks continuing to fight hard to peg the margin back, Waves ran out 40-33 winners.