Hawks Netball will be fired up and chasing big performances in Round 3 of the Victorian Netball League after a tough night in Round 2 against Geelong Cougars.
Cougars’ three teams all grabbed wins against the Hawks on Wednesday night, though there were good signs from the Hawks throughout.
A slow start proved too much for then the Hawks’ Championship division team to overcome, in a 44-59 loss.
The Cougars’ attack end was too slick early, helping them open up a 10-17 lead at quarter-time, despite Hawks goalers Nat Billings (17/18 for the game) and Tayla Shannon (9/13) shooting at 100% for the quarter.
Trailing 21-32 at half-time, the Hawks began to gel in the third, even after an ankle injury to wing defence Kelsey Buxton forced her from the court. With Tayla Kearns firing defensively in the midcourt, the Hawks came with a rush and slashed the margin to six goals, but couldn’t make it stick, and again trailed by 10 at three-quarter time.
The Hawks tallied more shots then Geelong in the final quarter but couldn’t capitalise, with the final margin creeping out to 15 goals.
They now face Casey Demons in Round 3 at Cranbourne next Wednesday night, with the Demons having come off a heavy loss against City West Falcons – the Hawks’ Round 1 opponent – in what shapes as a pivotal game for both clubs.
The Hawks’ Division 1 team couldn’t double down on their 2018 grand final result against Cougars, falling 39-43 in a seesawing clash that could have gone either way.
No more than four goals separated the teams at any point throughout the match, with the Hawks leading by a goal at quarter-time and extending it to four early in the second term.
But Geelong strung together five consecutive goals to hit the front and lead by one at half-time, before extending their advantage to two at three quarter-time.
The margin yo-yoed back and forth in the fourth quarter, with the Hawks pulling level with around five minutes remaining, but opportunities went begging in attack in the final minutes, with Geelong able to steady and see out a four-goal win.
With only two Division 1 teams now undefeated, the result leaves Hawks sitting third on the ladder ahead of a Round 3 clash against seventh-placed Casey.
A maiden win will be up for grabs for both teams when Hawks Netball takes on Casey Demons in Round 3.
The Hawks were brought undone by a strong Geelong outfit in Round 2 on Wednesday night, with a damaging 7-17 first quarter proving tough for the young Hawks to overcome.
Geelong led 16-31 at half-time and 45-23 with a quarter remaining, but there were good signs in the final term, with Kara Morrison entering the game at wing attack and teaming with goalers Ellie Karaula and Olivia Morris and centre Lanni Pryor to put up 13 goals – the Hawks’ highest scoring quarter thus far this season.
Karaula said credit needed to go to the Hawks’ defence end, which continued to work hard all game under immense pressure.
“Liv Spence continued to shine in goal keeper in the second half, and was out on the hunt to intercept a lot of balls,” she said.
“Despite the scoreline they kept up that defensive pressure, and I think that’s a really good sign heading into next week, that the girls were still getting around each other and pushing each other to play it out in that last quarter and in the final minutes as if the game was neck and neck.”
Hawks and Casey, who play in Round 3 in Cranbourne on Wednesday night, will both be chasing their first win of the season, after coming up short in the opening two rounds.
Hawks vs Casey – Round 3 – TICKETS HERE
6.30pm – 19/U
7.50pm – Championship
9.10pm – Division 1