Hawks Netball’s Championship division team will face the ultimate early-season test in Round 1 of the Bupa Victorian Netball League season: a semi-final rematch against 2018 premiers City West Falcons.

The Hawks have had six months to ponder what might have been against Falcons in what was the Hawks’ last game of the 2018 season, when they were knocked out in the first week of finals.

The Falcons’ semi-final win was the catalyst for a run to the grand final and another VNL title.

But with a new-look lineup and the experience of their first finals appearance since 2011 behind them, the Hawks are confident of starting their season in winning fashion at a home game at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South on Saturday, March 30 (BOOK TICKETS HERE – full details below).

Hawks Championship division coach Jacqui Hansen says the team now knows what it will take to go all the way, and will relish the challenge against Falcons in the season opener.

“There’s no better way to find out exactly where you’re at then to take on the reigning premiers,” Hansen says.

“We’ve got to get through next weekend’s preseason tournament first, but we’ve definitely got one eye firmly on our home game.”

The Hawks’ Round 1 lineup will feature some new faces after the departures of league MVP Kim Commane and speedy midcourter Monique Tarrant in the off-season.

Former Hawks goaler Shae Gee returns to the Victorian Netball League after an extended break from the competition, while veteran Lauren Bennett – a star of previous Monash Central teams – will don the club’s colours once again. Rangy defender Clare Johnson will also suit up in the Championship division, having starred in the club’s Division 1 premiership.

Hansen says the squad has picked up where it left off after last season, with the new combinations already gelling and putting out an impressive performance in a preseason practice match against Wilson Storage Southern Saints.

“Shae brings something very different to our attacking end, while you can’t buy the kind of experience Loz has, and the whole team looks really determined to make their mark again this year,” she says.

“Clare was a standout in Division 1 last year and has already formed some great connections with Clare (Pettyfor) and Shannon (Rennison). We’re certainly not lacking height down in defence.”

The Hawks’ Division 1 team will begin their premiership defence against a Falcons outfit out to make amends for missing the VNL finals for the first time in years, while the 19/U team will look to turn some great preseason form into a big first-up win.



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