By Matt Fotia
Another weekend is upon us and once again it poses more questions that need to be answered, such as – can Wandin maintain this shootout approach? Will Seville’s super defence be enough to hold Yea ? and how do Kinglake get back to winning? – just to name a few.
We can’t answer those questions just yet, but we can look at them in detail, here in the Weekend Preview.
It’s a classic battle of attack versus defence in the Premier Division between Wandin and Olinda Ferny Creek this weekend.
Wandin have had a good three week period and find themselves on the precipice of the top five whilst Olinda Ferny Creek willed themselves to victory over Cranbourne on the weekend to keep their season alive.
The Bloods have ‘completely flipped’ their defensive structure on its head in recent weeks according to coach Brendan Donovan and barring a blip against Berwick it’s worked pretty well.
Despite sitting in second last the Bloods are the sixth ranked defence, even with the big totals they’ve conceded against Narre Warren and Berwick. Their two wins this season against Healesville and Cranbourne have been built around keeping the opposition to as little a score as possible, as their ability to kick a winning score – they’re ranked 9th for points scored – is quite limited.
Wandin on the other hand have decided that defending is overrated. Why defend when you can attack?
The Dogs’ three wins have all come in games where both sides have kicked over 100 points, with the dimensions of their home ground encouraging high scoring. They’re ranked 4th for points scored and 8th for points against with only bottom placed Healesville conceding more points than the Dogs this year.
A true indicator of the Dogs’ inability or refusal to defend is the score of Healesville at the weekend. Before Saturday Healesville had a highest score of 7.13(55). On the weekend they kicked 18.20(138).
Woori Yallock laid out the blueprints for Olinda Ferny Creek in Round Two when they knocked off Wandin at the ‘Kennel”. Woori Yallock kept Wandin to just 10 goals and completely nullified Daniel Gorringe.
Gorringe has kicked six goals or more in each of Wandin’s victories and has been best afield or second best afield on each of those occasions. He has one major in all of their losses and hasn’t impacted the game.
This weekend could add more validity to the saying – “the best form of defence is attack’.
Or maybe it won’t.
Woori Yallock have snuck under the radar somewhat in the Premier Division Netball, despite making the preliminary final in 2018.
With all the hype about Olinda Ferny Creek and the likes of Narre Warren, Cranbourne and this weekend’s opponents Beaconsfield, the Tigers weren’t spoken about as top three threat as much as they should’ve been.
Much like Wandin in the football, the Tigers netball is built around their attack, which is headlined by the frequently mentioned Madeline Hargrave and Mia Sudomirski. The Tigers two losses have come when those two have been kept quiet with both Olinda Ferny Creek and Cranbourne keeping the Tigers to 27 goals in their wins over them.
Their opponents this weekend – the 2nd placed Beaconsfield – are a complete unit. The number two ranked defence and number three ranked offence in the division the Eagles have been ultra impressive this season.
They’ve been able to win close ones, win high scoring games – they have three very good options in attack with Bianca Sanzaro (154 goals), Danielle Roberts (140) and Tanya Mijovic (85) – and can also win games off the back of a solid defensive effort.
They’ll be looking to do the latter this weekend against Woori Yallock. The Tigers are more likely to win games where both sides think about scoring more than defending. Expect Beaconsfield to remain in clear second spot.
Whilst their footballing peers are flying high on top of the Division One ladder with an unblemished record, Monbulk’s netballers are having are topsy-turvy season, currently sitting 5th on the ladder with a 3-4 record.
They take on Belgrave this weekend who defeated them back in Round One 36-28, in what – with the beauty of hindsight – seems like a slip up from the Hawks. Belgrave defenders Khloe Weaver and Alisha Parissis ran the show that day keeping the Hawks attack at bay, albeit an attack without Steph Puopolo.
The Magpies defence hasn’t been that successful since. They’re currently ranked 7th for defence in the Division, which is also their ladder position. Their offence is ranked third, giving them an interesting proposition this weekend.
Do they stick with their more attacking style in their quest for a third victory in 2019, or do they revert back to the game plan from Round One, which worked so well.
It’s a crucial game for Belgrave with a win puts them back in touch with the five, a loss sees them sit two games back from said five. Makes the above proposition an even bigger one.
Officer have arrived.
The Kangaroos have won their last four games to hop into the top four, overtaking this weekends opponents Doveton with a massive win over a disappointing Emerald at the weekend.
The men in blue and white were unable to fire a shot in the opening three rounds of the year, kicking just 22 goals in that time frame. That’s since changed – they’ve kicked a minimum of 12 goals a game in their four wins – with skipper Matthew Clarke (19 goals) starting to impact the Kangaroos games more, whilst Will Hanson (12) and Brent Moloney (15) have provided good alternatives.
Clarke is a hard one to match up on, considering his array of attributes. The number 44 has a good leap, possesses plenty of athleticism, strong hands along with a low centre of gravity. If isolated inside forward fifty he could wreak havoc, like he did on the weekend.
Doveton will have used the bye to rest up some sore bodies after their eight point loss to the table topping Monbulk. The Doves got back their physical approach, after a disappointing loss to Mount Evelyn last time they ventured out to the Valley.
Charles’ men trounced the Roos on Good Friday when they looked too fit, too slick and too potent up forward for the boys from Starling Road. The Doves have the ability to kick a big score – with Mitchell Pierce (14 goals) and James Gascard (13) leading their goal kicking at the moment – but have also been shutdown on a couple of occasions this season.
If Gach Nyoun returns to the line up this weekend he could help give the Doves a ‘get out’ kick and could be a massive weapon against a relatively undersized Officer.
Whoever gets on top of the clearances and contested ball should get the upper hand in this one.
It’s a similarly important clash in Division Two between Kinglake and Gembrook-Cockatoo with both sides desperate to prove themselves to the rest of the competition.
The Lakers are coming off a fortnight to forget with a pair of massive losses to last years grand finalists Yarra Junction and Seville seeing them slip from 1st to 3rd in a matter of weeks.
In both games the match seemed decided at the first break with the Eagles enjoying a six goal lead and the Blues up 46-0 at the same stage.
The signs were there for Andrew Fairchild’s men however. This trend of slow starts has been occurring throughout the season with Kinglake getting away unscathed due to their superior talent or their oppositions inability to really punish them.
In Round One against Gembrook-Cockatoo they trailed by 13 points at the first break before winning by 27 points. They defeated Powelltown despite a two goal deficit at the first break and did the same to Alexandra even though the Rebels held 18 point buffer at quarter time.
They’ve won just three first quarters this year with only one coming against a side outside of the bottom two in the shape of Yarra Glen. They’ll have to fix that if they’re to be considered a serious contender.
The Brookers on the other hand are out to shake off the best of the rest malaise.
Sitting in fifth position on the ladder with a 4-4 record the boys in green and white have beaten everyone below them and lost to everyone above them, completing this particular set on the weekend with a 21 point loss to Yarra Glen.
Contrary to those results they have the ability to compete with these sides, but need to sustain the standard for longer.
Against Yarra Glen they won the second half by 10 points, they were just a goal down at half time to premiership favourite Yarra Junction, outscored Seville by two goals in the second quarter and were just seven points down to Kinglake at half time after winning the first quarter (see above) .
Kinglake and Gembrook-Cockatoo are desperate to disprove different theories about themselves in the same fashion- with a four quarter performance.
Seville are ready to tackle the Tigers.
The Blues defeated Kinglake to go clear second last weekend and are primed for another crack at the champs – the undefeated Yea Tigers.
Seville are strong at either end of the court with the McNay’s (Stephanie and Libby) and Stephanie Durant in charge of the defensive goal circle, whilst recruit Jackie Cullimore and Carly McDonnell have been impressive down the other end of the court, but the question remains – can they match the Tigers mid court?
The trio of Sam Coppinger, Chelsea Spagnolo and Amy Taylor are all versatile and dangerous throughout the centre third. Taylor was named best on court in the Tigers Round One win over Seville as they took control of the game in the first quarter and killed it completely.
If the aforementioned trio get going again on the weekend it won’t matter how strong the Blues are in the goal circles.