By Matt Fotia
Who are Woori Yallock’s Big Three?
How dependent are Monbulk on Steph Puopolo ?
And are Yarra Glen the Division Two barometer?
Check it all out in the Netball Review.
After finishing fourth in 2018, Woori Yallock weren’t expected to pull up any trees in the Premier Division this season, but with seven rounds played the Tigers are sitting in fifth position with a massive fortnight ahead of them.
The Tigers enjoy a fairly free flowing style of netball having scored less than 50 goals on just two occasions in 2019. Madeline Hargrave and Mia Sudomirski are both having impressive seasons dominating the goal circle week in week out. Both of these girls have played prominent roles in every Tiger victory.
In Round Two Sudomirski shot 30 goals and was best on court in their 15 goal victory over Wandin, and almost repeated this performance on the weekend against Upwey-Tecoma when she nailed 28 goals in another best on court game. In Round Five both girls were running hot early as the Tigers got out to an early lead over Berwick (16-7) and in Round Six Hargrave netted 38 goals to help down Healesville.
The Round Six game against Healesville is the only time this season that the Tigers have been able to keep a side under 40 goals, with their focus quite clearly on scoring as many as they can, rather than focus heavily on the oppositions ball movement.
Lauren Van Der Westhuizen is the key to the Tiger’s defensive output. Whilst they may concede over 40 goals on most occasions, Van Der Westhuizen has been named in the best players on multiple occasions. She was awarded best on court against Healesville and Cranbourne and has been in their best players on numerous occasions otherwise.
These are the big three for Woori Yallock.
Of the six games the Tigers have played only once have all three of them not been named in the best.
The next fortnight sees the Tigers host fourth placed Narre Warren and second placed Beaconsfield.
Not only will this test where the Tigers are at, but how good their big three really is.
If Woori Yallock has a big three, Monbulk have a big one.
The Hawks have a number of skilled players, including Nicole MacDowell who represented the Outer East during the Community Championships earlier this year, but they’re so dependent on one in particular.
To win at the moment, they need Stephanie Puopolo to shoot a winning score.
Monbulk have played just two games without their star shooter and have lost both, to Belgrave and Doveton, both sides battling with themselves for one of the three spots left in the final five, with ROC and Mount Evelyn seemingly locked in.
In each one of the Hawks three victories Puopolo has shot over 30 goals, with 34 against the lowly Emerald, 43 against Pakenham Lions and 44 goals against fellow finals aspirant Warburton Millgrove.
Monbulk have scored 269 goals this season with five different players having scored at least one goal.They are – Puopolo, Sophie Stubbs, Jamie Sands, Olivia Crook and Iris De Wit.
Stubbs has 58 goals for the season, Sands has 47 whilst Crook has five and De Wit just the two. The latter pair have just played an individual game in the A Grade this season.
That leaves Puopolo with 157. Monbulk average 38.4 goals per game. She averages 31.4.
Puopolo has shot 58.4% of the Hawks goals, which is 11% more than the leading goal scorer of the three sides above the Hawks on the table. Warburton Millgrove’s Bianca Daniels has 51% of her sides goals, but has Kirralee Liuyf as her regular partner. Liuyf has 109 goals compared to Stubbs’ 58.
The Hawks clearly have an ace up their sleeve, and come finals time should she wish to, she may will them to victory. However in the meantime they need to find another reliable way to goal to ensure they’re not lost without her.
With Yea, Seville and Kinglake having their own little battle for the top three spots in Division Two, attention now turns to the division within the division, with Yarra Glen currently on top of it.
The River Pigs, who are officially in fourth, lead that division. Yarra Junction and Alexandra sit on 16 points, a game behind them, with Powelltown and Gembrook a further two games back.
With Gembrook yet to win a game, and quite clearly concentrating on building their clubs depth you can rule them out of mounting a challenge. Powelltown are still hanging on by a thread and on their day can beat anyone else in this mini division, but are a rank outsider for a finals berth.
The other three are really battling it out for the final two spots in the five.
Yarra Glen have hit form in recent weeks, having shot over 50 goals in each of the last three weekends. Despite this they’re still the lowest scorers in the competition outside of Gembrook-Cockaoto. Defensively they still leave a little to be desired, with Powelltown the lowest scorers against them with 36.
They have however knocked off both of their closest rivals in the past few weekends, defeating the Eagles by 18 and holding off Alexandra on the weekend.
Yarra Junction have the fire power going forward with Amanda Finn leading the line, but also lack defensive strength. Yarra Glen netted 62 goals against the Eagles and only Gembrook-Cockatoo have conceded more goals than them this season – that’s a big worry as percentage could be a massive factor.
Alexandra are the best defensive unit of the three. Only the top three sides have conceded less goals than them this season, with Seville’s big score off 66 in round six their worst effort at that end of the court. Going forward they haven’t been poor, averaging just 42 goals per game, but haven’t shot over 46 goals against a side other than Gembrook-Cockatoo.
Three doesn’t fit into two and all of these three are pretty evenly matched. Whoever can get it all working together quickest is best placed. As for who that is, I haven’t got a clue.