- by Daisy Osborne (Carlton College of Sport)
Hawks Netball’s Championship division team has again knocked on the door of a major upset, coming within two goals of defeating the highly-fancied City West Falcons in Round 4 of the Victorian Netball League.
After pushing 2019 grand finalists Casey Demons all the way in Round 3, the Hawks almost chased down Falcons in a remarkable second half that saw them slash a nine-goal half-time deficit to just two in the final minutes.
While Falcons held on to win 51-49, it was another positive sign from a Hawks outfit featuring five players lining up at Championship level for the first time.
Falcons got the jump in the opening quarter as they struggled to curb the influence of towering shooter Jane Cook, who netted 16 from 16 for the quarter to open up at 17-9 lead.
But the Hawks remained composed and steadied late in the quarter, and then matched Falcons in the second, keeping the margin within reach at 21-30.
The Hawks defence end began to clamp down in the third, with goal keeper Clare Johnson quelling Cook’s influence and restricting her to just nine for the quarter, while fresh legs in the attacking end also paid off, with Tayla Shannon entering at goal attack and combining with Nat Billings to score 15 and cut the gap to four.
The Hawks came out firing in the fourth, with Johnson winning more and more ball, while goal defence Chloe Sinclair made the play in transition and Ally Salter and Jasmine Ferguson continued to deliver opportunities in attack.
A Billings goal cut the margin to only two goals in the closing minutes of the game stages of the last quarter and another turnover put the win within reach, but it wasn’t quite enough as Falcons hung on.
The Hawks will eye their second win of the season when they take on Boroondara Express in Round 5 on Wednesday evening at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Hawks’ Division 1 team’s search for a second win of the season will continue in Round 4, after a loss against City West Falcons on Sunday.
The Hawks came in confident after defeating Casey Demons in Round 3, but came up short against Falcons despite a dramatic comeback in the second half.
A fast finish to the first quarter from Falcons saw them take an 8-16 lead, however the game was far from over.
When the margin blew out beyond 10, a quick swap within all thirds of the court saw Sophie Hennessey enter at centre, Clare Pettyfor back on into goal keeper and Beth Wilson into goal shooter as the Hawks looked to limit the damage.
The introduction of 19/U wing defence Abigail Inglis in the second quarter began to pay dividends early in the third, with her pressure and agility lifting the Hawks as they went on a goal-scoring spree, piling on 18 for the quarter to close the margin to five – 34-39.
The Hawks shrunk the gap to just four goals early in the final term, but Falcons’ consistency saw them pull clear again, winning the quarter 20-7 to record a 59-41 result.
Hawks Netball’s 19/Under team added to its undefeated start to the season with a hard-fought win against City West Falcons at Altona Sports Centre.
A fast and intense start by both teams showed the game was going to live up to expectations, with Hawks the only unbeaten team in the division and Falcons having dominated the 19/Under competition since its inception.
The Hawks struggled to make their opportunities count early, trailing 11-12 despite having three more shot attempts in the opening 15 minutes of the Round 4 clash, but best on court Simona Di Filippo continued to lead the way in working through the Falcons’ zone, while at the other end defenders Gemma Thomas and Alex Stephenson were critical, playing in front and helping the Hawks fight back late in the half to keep the margin at one goal, after it had crept out to four.
Filippo continuously feeding the ball well through the mid court and to the Hawks goaling combination Keane and Burgmann into the ring without hesitation
An early goal by Hawks after the introduction of State player Dee Dee Deng at goal shooter was the beginning of some much-needed momentum for the Hawks in the third quarter as they gained the lead for the first time.
They began to pull away, leading 34-37 at three-quarter time and extending it early in the last, before Falcons netted some late goals to finish 52-48.
The Hawks now take on the sixth-placed Express on Wednesday night.