By David Nagel
MPNFL sporting action kicks in a little earlier than usual this week with a highly-anticipated Thursday night A Grade clash between Seaford and Hastings at Linen House.
The Tigers and Blues occupy two of the top three spots on the ladder, with Seaford’s round-three loss to Karingal the only time either team has had to endure the bitter taste of defeat.
Hastings is the only undefeated team in the competition with wins over Tyabb, Rye, Devon Meadows, Red Hill and Chelsea to start its season. The Blues are an exciting combination with ‘The Beep Test’ sisters, Jess and Sarah Hosking, providing some great drive through the midcourt, while Madelina Nyoul and Hayley Morton have given nothing away in defence.
But this is the Blues biggest test.
Seaford has had some big wins against strong opposition with Crib Point added to that list after an epic 40-37 victory last week.
The Tigers are just a high-quality, solid, reliable outfit that won’t let you down.
Names like Lumsden, Mitchener, Liepa, Robertson, Cosans, Toleafoa, Hargrave and Dell – have built strong reputations on the netball court and will be a Thursday-night handful for the Blues.
This one will be a ripper – a real treat for anyone who makes their way to Linen House for the 7.45pm start. It’s the Tigers to take a temporary grip on top spot with a four-goal victory.
Jess Hosking has been a star for Hastings this year. Can the Blues knock off Seaford in a Thursday night classic at Linen House?
Tyabb and Karingal will take care of Match of the Day honours on Saturday when the Yabbies and Bullettes collide at Bunguyan Reserve.
The Yabbies sit in fourth position on the ladder and the Bullettes sixth, so we might look back on this clash as the game that decides who plays finals this year. It appears that six teams are trying to squeeze into five positions – so someone has to miss out!
If the Bullettes lose, the reigning premiers will more than likely drop to a game-and-a-half outside the top five. That’s starting to get a little dangerous so the likes of Bridgette Barry-Murphy and Mardi and Tobi Cunningham will need to be fully switched on against the Yabbies.
The Yabbies played no funny-buggers last week, keeping the same seven players in the same bibs for the entire game against Devon Meadows.
Birgitta Nemaric (GS) and Izzy Brown (GA) were fed by some sharp passing from Briana Messina (WA) and Emma Wallmeyer (C), while Talesha O’Neill (WD), Kayla Brown (GD) and the ever-reliable Caitie Watson (GK) took care of business in defence.
This one is really hard to pick – which Karingal turns up – but we’ll go for the Bullettes to bounce back to the winners list with a two-goal victory.
Crib Point suffered its first loss of the season last week and will look to bounce back hard when the Magpies travel to Jones Road on Saturday to take on Somerville.
The Magpies fell short in an absorbing contest against Seaford, a 37-40 loss that showed the true competitiveness of the division two competition. Two quarters were drawn, with the Tigers gaining a one and two-goal advantage in the other two stanzas of play.
It was almost like the high-pressure and high stakes of finals had come early!
The Magpies certainly don’t shirk an issue and great players like Adrienne Harris, Holly Adams, Dionne Douglas and Shaye Williams will be training hard this week to make amends.
Somerville has revived its season over the last fortnight with Kristy Marshall and her side now eyeing off a continued path up the ladder. Penny McFall, Ash Porter and interleague rep Sara Tanner will take the game up to the Magpies – but will fall a little short.
It’s the Magpies to win by 10.
Red Hill has started its rise up the ladder and will look to continue that upward path when the Hillmen host Devon Meadows at the Showgrounds.
Last week’s 57-28 victory over Rye was a clear indicator that Red Hill has the potential to cause some real damage this year. Nicola Mold was a gun through the midcourt, while Isabella Cuming (GS) and Sienna Wills (GK) made sure there were no nasty surprises at either end of the court.
Devon Meadows never gave up against a strong opponent in Tyabb last week, eventually going down 26-39. A repeat of that effort from players like Alana McDonald, Lucy Hoogenboom, Briana Pratt and Shannon Gill will see the Panthers right in this contest until the very end.
But Red Hill is a touch better right now…and will win by six.
Chelsea can finally take a deep breath and try to get some reward for effort when the Seagulls roll out the red carpet for Rye on Saturday.
What a tough start to the season the Gulls have had with games against Langwarrin, Karingal, Crib Point and Hastings. Considering the toughness of their draw they have actually done well to have a win on the board this season!
The Gulls threw the bibs around against Hastings last week, with Liv Stewart, Abby Williams, Hollie Peterson and Lillie O’Connor just some of the players to have a run through the midcourt. Michelle Hyndman and Madi Marino were rock-solid in defence while Georgia Hernan took care of the goal-scoring duties.
The Seagulls should be confident, but not overly so because the Demons have made a really good fist of A Grade netball this season. Their return to the elite level of competition has been impressive with Holly Newton, Teaghan Avery, Lauren Hearn and Olivia Stephens giving their all on a weekly basis.
But it’s Chelsea’s time to shine – and it will win by nine goals.
And Langwarrin will look to consolidate a top-five ranking when the Kangaroos host Pearcedale at Lloyd Park.
The Kangas have come out smiling from a tough fortnight of netball, with a draw against Tyabb followed by a grinding three-goal win against Karingal last week. Maree D’Souza and Jayde Aron continued their unrelenting pressure in defence while Emily Zeuschner provided plenty of drive from that back third of the court.
Pearcedale had another tough day against Somerville last week but is continuing to strive hard for its first win. And even if they don’t obtain that win players like Mel Perrins, Bela Tatham, Kiarah Rochford and Tara Monshing will give their best – week in week out – and that’s all you can really ask for.
It will be another tough day for the Pink Panthers with the Kangas to win comfortably.
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