By Matt Fotia
Beaconsfield got close to slaying the dragon in wintery conditions, the Burras firm as a finals fancy and all roads lead to Yarra Junction in Division Two after a couple of minor upsets set up a finals playoff – It’s the Netball Review.
As the fog descended upon Mount Dandenong and the early morning snow melted away the top two sides in the Premier Division did battle as Olinda Ferny Creek looked to maintain their unbeaten record against Beaconsfield.
The Eagles were able to stay in touch throughout the first half trailing by just four goals at the main break before a 14 – 10 third quarter pushed the Bloods out to an eight goal lead. Olinda then went into cruise control to hold on despite the Eagles taking the final term nine to eight.
The mid court show was run by the evergreen Krista Tomlinson as Alice Paget and Brianna Hipwell also performed strongly. The Stewarts combined well in the goal circle, Peri having 31, Elly 12.
The Eagles were led well by Bianca Sanzaro, who shot 22 goals in a best on court performance, whilst Rylee Nelson took it up to the experienced Bloods mid-courters. Despite dropping into third position, Beaconsfield will take positives from their efforts up the mountain.
In other games Berwick went down to Cranbourne by 22 goals, as the Eagles jumped into second place. Tahlia Coates shot 33 goals whilst Alana Hardy ensured the Eagles were never troubled, leading at every change.
Upwey-Tecoma officially finished off Wandin’s finals hopes with a five goal win at home. The Tigers led all day and held on despite the Dogs finishing strongly with a 17 goal last quarter.
Monique Nagle shot 23 goals, Jessica Black finished with 17 and Teah Edelmaier was named best on court.
Finally, Woori Yallock held onto fourth spot with a comfortable 20 goal win over Healesville. Madeline Hargrave shot 32 goals in the Tigers win.
In Division One Warburton Millgrove are now a game clear of Doveton in fifth spot and have pulled level with the Pakenham Lions after their massive last quarter saw them defeat the Lions at home.
Scores were locked at 10 apiece at quarter time, 21-19 to the away side at halftime and 29-27 to Lions at the final change before the Burras put on the after burners, winning the last quarter 13 goals to six to run out five goal winners, 40-35.
Kirralee Luiyf continued her hot streak with 16 goals whilst coach Bianca Daniels had 24. Ashlee Guerra was named best on court after her strong performance in the Wings. For the Lions Kyra Esler shot 24 whilst Joanna Anagtasoglou shot 11 in a valiant effort.
Both sides are set to play ROC and Doveton in the final two rounds of the season. One win should be enough for both of them to reach September.
Elsewhere, Ellie Karalua shot 29 goals as Mount Evelyn defeated Belgrave by 19 goals, Monbulk compounded the misery upon Doveton with a 30 goal victory, Jamie Sands and Steph Puopolo combing well, and ROC defeated Emerald by 20 goals, Emily McInness named best on court.
Division Two is set for the tightest of finishes as wins to Yarra Junction and Alexandra set up a genuine elimination final this weekend.
The Eagles upset third placed Kinglake by just one goal, 46-45 away from home. The Eagles jumped out to a six goal lead at the first change before the Lakers drew level at halftime.
Once again the Eagles pulled away, leading by five at the final change before clinging on in a tense finish, Kinglake shooting 11 goals to seven to fall just short.
Danielle Howe shot 29 for the Lakers in Billie Cvijetic’s absence whilst Amanda Finn had 25 for the Eagles. Mia Motteram was impressive in the centre whilst Cara Moore was steadfast in defence.
The Eagles are now in fifth on percentage ahead of Alexandra who pinched a two goal win over Yarra Glen in another see-sawing affair.
The Rebels lead 25-23 at the main break before a 14 goal to 11 third quarter saw Yarra Glen in front at three quarter time. But in the spirit of the day the Rebels bounced back to finish up 47-45 victors, keeping their finals hopes alive.
Caitlan Haggis was super in Wing Defence for Alexandra, whilst Alicia Mortley (22) and Chloe Gray (23) impressed for Yarra Glen . Despite their poor percentage the Rebels will play finals should they knock off Junction this weekend.
Elsewhere Yea won easily over Powelltown 60-17. Nikki Watts was best on court with 14 goals in Goal Attack, whilst Chelsea Spagnolo (C/WA) and Melissa Martinov (44 goals) were also impressive.