By David Nagel
We’re set for a thrilling second half of the WGFNC netball season with three teams tied at the top and at least another three not giving up on hopes of lifting this year’s premiership cup.
Inverloch-Kongwak, Nar Nar Goon and Tooradin-Dalmore sit proudly at the top of the ladder, while a high-scoring Bunyip – and determined teams from Dalyston and Phillip Island – look set to play key roles in this year’s finals series.
Tooradin-Dalmore came out firing against Phillip Island on Saturday, keen to rebound strongly after a huge loss against Bunyip last week.
The Seagulls looked back to their settled best, with strength all over the court setting up a match-defining first-quarter display.
The Gulls were ruthless, scoring 13 goals to five to set up their 55-39 victory.
There were no ‘Eb’s’ and flows with the Seagulls defence, with Ebony Mason (GK) and Ebony Dolan (GD) proving impenetrable in the first term.
The livewire combination smothered the Bulldogs with pressure, with youngster Lily Mewett (GS) and the experienced Christie Edwards (GA) struggling to break free for the Bulldogs.
Dolan gives nothing away in defence, with her combination of height, quick feet and fierce determination making her one of the most respected players in the league.
The Seagulls were on all over the court, with Jess Maher (C) controlling the midcourt, in the absence of Chloe Crouch, while Kayla Bratic (WA) and Abby Howe (WD) also started the game in top gear.
And if the ‘Ebs’ were firing at one end, it was an ‘Alex’ show at the other, with the Maher (GS) – Duff (GA) show giving the Seagulls the impetus to forge on to an impressive victory.
The Bulldogs showed great fight after quarter time, with Anthea Bennett (GD) and Mel Eagleton (GK) tightening things up in defence and Charli Ross (WA) and Lexi Walton (C) matching motors with the Seagulls through the midcourt.
But the damage was done in the first quarter…and the Seagulls proved too good.
Phillip Island face a tough home-game against Bunyip this week, while Tooradin heads to Spencer Street for a top-of-the-table clash with Nar Nar Goon.
The Goon was too good for Korumburra-Bena on the weekend, scoring a dour 36-26 victory at the Korumburra Showgrounds.
The defensive pressure of both teams was first-class with neither team allowed to gain any sort of momentum.
The Goon has only lost one game this season, against Dalyston in round-six, but we’ll get to find out its true prospects in the coming fortnight.
Games against Tooradin and Inverloch…well you don’t get any bigger test than that!
The Giants now get a week off before hosting Phillip Island in round 11.
Dalyston was forced to dig deep to score a nail-biting 31-29 victory over a rapidly-improving Cora Lynn at the Cobradome.
The Magpies’ three-game winning streak looked under serious threat, with the Cobras leading at half time, but a solid third-quarter led the visitors to a narrow victory.
The Magpies were really pushed to their limits as Cobras like Danielle Cameron, Bianca Douglas, Karla Brook and Rhi Haines hit the court with typical gusto.
The Cobras are playing some good netball at the moment and games against Kooweerup and Warragul Industrials provide them with some winning opportunities over the next fortnight.
Dalyston this week host Garfield.
In other games this week, Warragul Industrials banked its second win of the season with a 41-31 victory over Kooweerup, while Inverloch-Kongwak unleashed a new mid-season recruit in its powerful 61-11 performance against Garfield.
Former Korumburra-Bena midcourter Kelsey Buxton is now a Sea Eagle and showed her class in a polished first-half display.
The Sea Eagles are looking super-powerful at the minute, with Buxton adding class to a healthy midcourt that included Lanni Pryor, Rahni Mann and Tayla Robb on the weekend.
Robb also shared the goal-scoring duties with Kelly Boyd and Ella Sadler, while Renee Pilkington (GD) and Tayla Smith (GK) were ruthlessly efficient in defence.
Over four quarters they allowed Garfield just 11 goals, including a miserly one in the third quarter.
It was clearly the Stars lowest score for the season…previously held to 26 by Tooradin in round six.
Nat Sloan, Chloe Bluhm and Ash Hyde did well in defence for the Stars to stop this one from blowing out even further.
The ladder-leading Sea Eagles host the Dusties and the Goon over the next fortnight, while the Stars head to Dalyston this week before having the bye in round 11.
Bunyip had the bye this week…and heads to Phillip Island this Saturday.