A five-minute lapse in the final quarter cost Hawks Netball dearly in its Round 13 contest against Boroondara Express, with the Hawks fading to a 49-59.
The Hawks traded goals with Express throughout the contest and trailed by five in the third quarter before a run of goals early in the final term saw them close within one, trailing 45-46.
But from there it was all Boroondara, as a string of Hawks missed shots and passing errors saw Express score 13 of the next 17 goals to run out 10-goal winners.
Hawks head coach Guy Keane said consistency had been a key theme for the squad this season within a new and relatively inexperienced Championship lineup.
“We won two of the four quarters, it was just a five-minute moment in the last quarter that hurt us,” he said.
“It’s the story of our season so far: we’re in the contest for the majority of the game, it’s just those critical moments, making a good decision under pressure, which has been our sticking point,” he said.
“We’re working hard on it at training, but transferring it into games and putting it on court for 60 minutes has been the challenge for us.”
Keane said the last five rounds of the season presented great opportunities for growth within the squad, with all remaining games against teams currently sitting 4th to 10th on the ladder.
“We know that our players have the skill and ability and potential in this competition, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on for the remainder of the season and into next preseason.”
“Now’s the time for us to challenge ourselves with how we’ll take it to those top four teams in 2023.”
The Hawks next face 10th-placed Ariels next Wednesday, June 22.
It might have been a slow start, but there was no stopping Hawks Netball’s Division 1 team after quarter-time against Boroondara Express, pushing on for a 53-37 win.
After Express scored the last four goals of the first quarter to lead 13-12, a rejuvenated Hawks bounced out of the blocks in the second, driving home 17 goals to five to open up a 29-18 advantage.
Kate Fletcher was dominant at both ends after entering the game at centre in the second quarter, with defensive duo Sally Deller and Chloe Duke also impressing in limiting Boroondara’s opportunities to score, while goal shooter Elle Rice was on target in her first game back from a calf injury.
The third quarter continued in a similar vein, with the Hawks adding 14 goals to eight through Fletcher and the unrelenting efforts of wing attack Ash Newham, extending the lead before sealing the Hawks’ 10th win of the season to remain firmly in second position on the ladder.
Hawks Division 1 coach AJ Ballantyne said the way in which the result was built was indicative of the team’s growth throughout the season.
“When we last played Express in Round 3 we hung on to win by four goals, and I thought tonight showed how much this group has grown over the past 10 rounds,” he said.
“Tonight was incredibly physical but I thought our players handled that really well and just got on with the job, working extremely hard to make sure we always had options and a safe passage to goal.”
“It was great to see Elle Rice back out there after being sidelined for a couple of weeks, and I thought Fletch was incredible in centre, particularly as it’s not a position she’s played a lot of.”
With five rounds left before finals, the Hawks now play 9th-placed Ariels next Wednesday.
Hawks Netball’s 19/Under side has cracked back into the top four, despite a major scare against Boroondara Express.
A week after pulling off one of its biggest wins of the season, beating Melbourne University Lightning in Round 12, the Hawks came into the game against the winless Express high on confidence but almost gave up the points, hanging on to win 41-39.
The Hawks led at every break, turning a one-goal half-time lead into four at three-quarter time, before Express found another gear in the final term.
The Hawks still led by four with just over five minutes left in the game, only to see the advantage quickly whittled to one after an errant pass into the goal circle.
The teams went goal for goal, with shooter Eliza Molino continuing to provide a strong target, until an Express missed shot and subsequent rebound from goal defence Lucy McKellar gave the Hawks a chance to seal it.
But an offside call in the Hawks’ goal circle again put the ball in Boroondara’s hands, only for the ball to be turned over again through a timely intercept from Hawks centre Simona di Filippo, leading to another Molino goal.
Boroondara won the ball back off the Hawks’ next centre pass, helping them to reduce the margin to two goals with 35 seconds left in the game. But that was the end of their challenge, with the Hawks able to regain possession and play out the clock.
Hawks 19/Under coach Sophie O’Shea said while the game wasn’t their best performance, they were happy to claim the four points.
“It was a bit of a slog for a game where we expected a stronger result, but it was promising to see that in those final minutes we could play smart netball under pressure,” O’Shea said.
“There’s lots that we can take away from the game and improve on, which is important.”
The win elevates the Hawks into four position on the ladder, only half a game behind the top three teams with five rounds left in the season, and with a Round 14 clash against Ariels (9th) coming next Wednesday.