Hawks Netball collected three wins from three games for the second week in a row in Round 6 of the Bupa Victorian Netball League, with all three teams backing up last week’s strong results with impressive performances against Ariels.
The Hawks’ Championship division team is knocking on the door of the top four after recording their third consecutive win.
Having started the season 0-3, the Hawks have found both form and confidence and are now sitting only percentage points outside fourth position after defeating Ariels 54-45 on Wednesday night.
The teams couldn’t be split in the first half, with Hawks threatening to pull away multiple times but Ariels hanging tough to lead 13-12 at quarter-time, before Hawks closed the gap to square the scores at 24-24 at the half.
The introduction of Nat Billings (five goals from six attempts) into goal shooter helped open things in up the attack end, allowing Hawks to surge ahead early in the third. But a knee complaint midway through the quarter saw Billings forced from the court and the original combination of Shae Gee (36/40) and Tayla Shannon (13/15) reinstated.
But the Hawks didn’t skip a beat, and with the tireless Lauren Bennett consistently providing avenues to goal, they stretched the score to 40-34 at the final change, before pressing home their advantage in the final 15 minutes to notch a 54-45 win.
The result was all the more impressive, with the the team undermanned in defence. With both Clare Johnson and captain Claire Pettyfor both unavailable for the early game, Division 1 co-captain Chloe Sinclair stepped up for her first full game in Championship and impressed from the outset, winning plenty of ball and earning three votes from the umpires.
The Hawks’ Division 1 team was pushed every step of the way by Ariels, but did enough to hang on for its fourth win in a row.
Hawks trailed for much of the first quarter as they again endured a slow start, before a late surge put them on level pegging at 11-11. However Ariels continued pushing in the second quarter to take a 24-23 lead into half-time.
The introduction of 19/U midcourter Abi Inglis into wing defence in the third quarter began to turn the game in Hawks’ favour, restricting Ariels to nine goals for the quarter, while at the other end the Hawks were battling to capitalise on their opportunities but still managed to put in 12 goals to lead 35-33.
Only a handful of goals separated the teams for much of the last quarter, but it was Hawks who finally broke the deadlock, creeping clear inside the last four minutes to secure a 47-41 result.
The win sees Hawks remain in second place on the Division 1 ladder, setting up a top-of-the-table showdown with the undefeated DC North East Blaze next week.
The Hawks’ 19/under team has claimed its biggest result of the 2019 Bupa VNL season so far, defeating the top-of-the-ladder Ariels in Round 6.
The damage was done in the first half for the Hawks, with a 16-goal first quarter and another 19 in the second seeing them take an 18-goal lead into the half-time break.
Hawks goal attack Hannah Keane (31 from 38) was all but unstoppable, pouring in 26 goals in the first half alone alongside Olivia Morris, while defenders Gemma Thomas and Olivia Spence were standouts in quelling Ariels’ tall goaling lineup.
The half-time lead proved decisive, with Hawks going on to claim a big 53-38 win – their second in a row – and move within half a game of the top four.