What to expect next week
Were hurtling towards finals with some exciting netball action left. Round 13 will see the Fever take on the Vixens on Saturday next week, after their first loss in Perth this week, while the Giants will take on the Magpies who will be fired up to farewell Sharni Layton for their last game at home. The Lightning will play the Swifts, and the Firebirds take on the Thunderbirds. Stay tuned for an exciting end to the season!
Thanks for joining me – I hope you’ve enjoyed some live netball action!
Sunshine Coast Lightning defeat Adelaide Thunderbirds 75-44
I don’t think anyone’s too surprised by this result, with the Lightning enjoying a big victory over the Thunderbirds. They took the bonus point in each quarter, too. They’re now equal on points with the Firebirds and will be hoping to sneak into the finals.
Giants defeat Melbourne Vixens 60-58
Absolute silence greets the teams as the siren sounds. The parochial Melbourne crowd are shattered to lose that one – particularly as the Giants took their third bonus point in the final quarter, outscoring the Vixens 15-14 in the final quarter. In their huddle, the Giants address last week’s confidence-sapping loss and remind each other that a performance like that is how you turn things around. They’re thrilled.
On TV, Serena Guthrie says every game feels like a final in this competition. Says the win was huge because it might be the difference between a home grand final and they want to go one better on last year.
That ends the Vixens’ winning streak, and it’s an important seven point to one win for the Giants with those three bonus points. They now jump to second on 61 points, with the Fever on 63. The Vixens meanwhile are third with 56 points, just one ahead of the Firebirds and Lightning on 55.
Q4 00:24 Melbourne Vixens 57-60 Giants
Bad news for the Vixens, they’ve turned the ball over deep into attack. They need it back, or it’s a Giants victory. The crowd chant is on, but the Giants are winding the clock down very effectively. Harten is too smart for her opponents and it’s surely the Giants from here.
Q4 01:45 Melbourne Vixens 57-59 Giants
Harten cooly hits the long-range shot and the Giants coaching staff take a big sigh of relief. Call for a towel at the top of the circle after Price hits the deck. Kumwenda calls for a lift from her teammates – they may need something special from here. Harten pushes the lead to two.
Q4 02:47 Melbourne Vixens 56-57 Giants
Pettitt misses the shot but it’s obstruction against Dehaney and she scores on second attempt. Over 6,000 in the crowd for this blockbuster clash. The Vixens just can’t seem to pull back this one goal difference though.
Q4 03:48 Melbourne Vixens 55-56 Giants
What a performance from Pettitt. She just can’t miss at the moment, and is 29/34 for the game. Philip, however, is back on song for the Vixens. McKinnis is asking for WA and GA to push up court faster than they are – i wonder if we’ll see a time out soon. Weston just can’t find an answer for Harten now.
Brief pause ensues as Watson collides with Green, who is sore.
Q4 05:41 Melbourne Vixens 53-54 Giants
Watson with an excellent long pass to Kumwenda after the contact. Green growing frustrated with some of the contact from Moloney in midcourt. This is all set for a super finish, but the Vixens will need answers for Pettitt and Harten, who are out-smarting their opponents.
Q4 07:33 Melbourne Vixens 51-52 Giants
Plenty of nerves out there, but Philip pulls off a wobbly shot to pull it back to a single goal again. A series of contact calls sees the Giants score again. That’s the smart play they were calling for – sticking close to their opponents and drawing the contact. Philip’s back, back to 76% accuracy after dropping as low as the 60s.
Q4 08:55 Melbourne Vixens 49-51 Giants
It’s loud out there at the moment, players screaming encouragement to each other and some growing increasingly frustrated with the umpiring. Vixens keep pegging it back to one point, but they can’t bridge the gap completely. Injury time-out, Manu’a is off and Poolman back on. Giants back out to the two point buffer through Pettitt.
Q4 10:37 Melbourne Vixens 47-49 Giants
Teams being forced cross-court, and Watson turned the ball over to Guthrie as a result for that last Giants score. Manu’a nearly gets the high ball off Kumwenda, but it’s called contact and it’s one point the difference again. Obstruction from Weston gifts Pettitt another.
Q4 12:15 Melbourne Vixens 45-47 Giants
Giants open the quarter with a score to gain some breathing space. Tegan Philip with the errant pass and that may let the Giants out to a three point lead, but Harten misses Guthrie and the Vixens come again. Vixens with the patient build-up, and Kumwenda pulls the difference back to one. Harten misses the shot with some great pressure from Weston, but Guthrie intercepts in midcourt. Giants two up through Harten.
Three-quarter-time Melbourne Vixens 44-45 Giants
Harten with the steadier for the Giants as they go just the one point ahead. The Vixens midcourters are on fire, however, and the ball is just racing to their shooters. Pettitt is going at six from six this quarter after the benching. Vixens will have the last say of the quarter, Price tips it out, but Guthrie intercepts and it’s a one-point lead to the Giants to end the third quarter. Vixens take a bonus point at least.
Q3 01:28 Melbourne Vixens 43-43 Giants
Kim Green looks frustrated and Ingles forces the turnover with a smart tip. The ball races down the court from Watson to Philip and it’s back to just one point. Manu’a with the contact on Philip who ties things up! It’s 16-10 this quarter to the Vixens.
Q3 02:48 Melbourne Vixens 40-43 Giants
Weston isn’t happy with a few calls going against her, but her team are well back in this. Bec Bulley looks to take a spectacular intercept, but she’s called offside. Philip is back on song and scores again. It’s 13-9 to the Vixens so far this quarter, and Weston takes the intercept this time. Kumwenda spills the lofted ball, though, and Manu’a gets her side going again. Giants back out to a lead of three after Harten takes a long-range shot and picks up her own rebound.
Q3 05:15 Melbourne Vixens 39-41 Giants
Kim Green tells her teammates to use their smarts, as Manu’a makes her way on for Poolman. All of a sudden, though, they look rattled. Dehaney looks to make an excellent tip but she’s called for contact. Crowd boos – they’re back into this just like the home side. Philip scores and it’s game on.
Q3 06:19 Melbourne Vixens 37-40 Giants
The Vixens are out of favour with the umpires – lots of advantage calls and whistles when the Giants have the ball. I’ve seen them play much more cleanly than this. Finally, they take a rebound without obstructing, and Philip who is back on court gets the confidence boost she needs. Great work by the Vixens as Dehaney intercepts again, and it’s back to three points. Giants call the time-out this time.
Lightning out to a 23 point lead over the Thunderbirds in the other game, 50-27.
Q3 08:20 Melbourne Vixens 35-39 Giants
Harten doesn’t take the shot and goes back to Green. This time it’s a patient build-up, and Pettitt scores again. Can we convince her out of retirement? Kumwenda keeping the Vixens in it, back to her normal accuracy levels this quarter. Dehaney with some good pressure which forces Harten to miss, but Weston is then penalised to the distaste of the Melbourne crowd.
Q3 10:24 Melbourne Vixens 32-37 Giants
Dehaney takes the rebound as Pettitt uncharacteristically misses. Is this the break the Vixens need? Jo Weston with the held ball as the Giants take the ball back. Liz Watson finding life hard against Jamie-Lee Price today. This time, however, she wins the contact and Kumwenda scores again. Giants just too clean at the moment with Green finding Harten this time.
Q3 12:20 Melbourne Vixens 31-35 Giants
The third quarter starts as the last ended – with a Giants goal to Pettitt. The Vixens pull one back through Kumwenda but they need a serious change in momentum. Harten throws the ball long, and Kumwenda gets back-to-back scores. Make that three! Good response from the GS.
Fans on the game so far
Vixens fans are worried about their shooting percentage, performance under pressure, and are sorry to see Philip subbed.
Meanwhile, some aren’t too happy about Kumwenda’s challenge on Bulley, while others can see the funny side.
Half-time Melbourne Vixens 27-33 Giants
Tegan Philip is onto the bench and Gooden makes her way on. Think they needed a change, even if it’s sad to see Philip subbed in her milestone. Guthrie is dominating the outside of the circle and just keeps feeding Pettitt. Gooden’s first shot is a miss, in a poor sign for the Vixens, and Kumwenda gets a warning for a challenge off the ball. She doesn’t seem too perturbed, laughing, but the replay shows her jumping on the back of Bec Bulley. Pettitt ends the quarter with a miss, but she’s dominating with 20/23.
Q2 01:20 Melbourne Vixens 26-31 Giants
Guthrie again gets the tip and the Giants race it down the other end with Pettitt now up to 18. Vixens with just one of the last ten goals. What have they got? Weston pulls off the big intercept to bring the crowd back into the game. Kumwenda scores, but they’ll need to string a few goals together. Philip scores – they needed that! It’s five points the difference and McKinnis calls another time-out.
Q2 03:10 Melbourne Vixens 24-30 Giants
Bec Bulley loses her feet twice, and Kumwenda stays in the circle as told to score again. Sue Pettitt, however, is finding the ball at will and rockets to 15/17. Things going a little pear-shaped for the Vixens as Pettitt shoots yet another to secure a six-goal lead.
Q2 04:55 Melbourne Vixens 23-26 Giants
The Vixens’ coaching staff hit the panic button and call a time-out now with the Giants back out by three after they looked to be surging ahead with a far superior second quarter. Simone McKinnis heads straight to Kumwenda and asks her to stay in the circle.
In case you’re wondering about the other game happening now, little surprise with the Lightning out to a 31-15 lead against the Thunderbirds.
Q2 05:16 Melbourne Vixens 23-25 Giants
The Giants’ defence has held up admirably today, as McMahon points out, there’s just no room to breathe for Kumwenda or Philip. Watson and the other midcourters are having to do a mountain of work to find them free. Philip misses another long-range shot, and the huge rebound sends the Giants flying down the court. Guthrie throws an errant ball back in the court in eye-catching fashion, and the Giants go ahead.
Q2 07:18 Melbourne Vixens 22-22 Giants
Philip with yet another long-range goal, that’ll be good for her confidence. Good to see her stepping up and risking the shot despite the early yips. Dehaney forces the turnover to give the Vixens a chance to put the lead out to two. They’ve scored seven to four this quarter, so far, but it’s an off-side called on Liz Watson. Great tip out by Weston, but the Giants still manage to peg the scores back.
Q2 09:50 Melbourne Vixens 20-20 Giants
Philip’s back on target, and takes a long-range, difficult shot after missing several. Down the other end, Harten misses and Weston takes the rebound, but the tip from Pettit ensures the Vixens throw it out of court. Would you believe it’s yet another turnover, and now the Vixens are back down the court to try level. Kumwenda sinks it.
Q2 11:23 Melbourne Vixens 18-20 Giants
Philip’s a little off with her shooting today – she’s going 5/9, while Kumwenda has 13/15. Those figures aren’t what we’ve come to expect from the Vixens, but this is a high-pressure match. Giants have reverted back to a fast-paced game and are shooting with confidence.
Q2 13:15 Melbourne Vixens 18-17 Giants
Bec Bulley isn’t giving any space to Philip, but Kumwenda mops up the mistake and brings the Vixens back within a single goal. Giants try a patient build-up, but it ends with a held ball and turnover. Several contact penalties allows Kumwenda to this time square the scores again. Vixens hit the lead again after they start the quarter with plenty of energy.
Good spotting from Roy Ward, I reckon this is pretty standard?
Quarter-time Melbourne Vixens 15-17 Giants
Holding from Dehaney and then obstruction from Weston gifts a goal to the Giants. Think they’ll safely take the bonus. They do. This is a great contest, and the Giants take a two-point lead at quarter-time.
Q1 00:59 Melbourne Vixens 14-15 Giants
The Vixens have been on the back foot ever since they took a three-point advantage at the start of this quarter, and look set to drop a critical bonus point. Harten, however, has her first miss for the game with just enough pressure from Jo Weston. Kumwenda’s one-two with Liz Watson pegs it back again to two. Philip from range than makes it one!
Q1 02:54 Melbourne Vixens 11-14 Giants
Jo Harten has had an excellent start – she’s eight from eight and this time sets up Pettitt with a bullet pass to her fellow shooter. Philip misses with the Vixens four down, but Kumwenda’s excellent rebound pegs it back to three.
Q1 04:13 Melbourne Vixens 10-12 Giants
Giants go up by three after starting three down. They look determined after last week’s 14 goal loss. Have a chance to go four up, but Harten’s shot is too strong, and Dehaney takes it again. Vixens steady through Kumwenda.
Q1 06:21 Melbourne Vixens 8-10 Giants
Price almost strips Watson of the ball but she’s up to the task and the long ball finds Kumwenda. They’re finding plenty of space over the back, the Vixens. Kadie-Ann Dehaney having a blinder as she takes another key intercept in front of Harten. A held ball, however, sees the Giants take the ball back. Serena Guthrie joins Kim Green in showcasing some excellent midcourt passing.
Q1 07:55 Melbourne Vixens 7-8 Giants
Philip with a steadier, which brings the crowd into the game. Kim Green on fire for the Giants who sets up Harten for a long-range goal. Dehaney causing Pettitt some headaches though with her height advantage. Vixens pull one back with a nice lofted pass from Watson to Kunwenda.
Q1 09:53 Melbourne Vixens 5-7 Giants
Vixens going cross-court with some nice midcourt work from the Giants forcing them into some uncharacteristic errors. Poolman gets her hand in and and some excellent control from Harten on the baseline sees the Giants go two up. Vixens look rattled and throw the ball out of play.
Q1 11:15 Melbourne Vixens 5-4 Giants
Some nerves on show from both teams to begin with, but the Giants are looking more settled now with one each to Pettitt and Harten. Obstruction from both Vixens defenders lets the Giants back into the contest.
Q1 13:30 Melbourne Vixens 3-1 Giants
Philip can’t score in her first shot of her 100th game, but she mops up the rebound and gets the instant reply. The Vixens follow up with an excellent intercept by Dehaney on Harten. Kunwenda then misses her own first shot, but again scores on the rebound.
It’s not netball, but…
If you’re a fan of hockey, here’s a quick update on how our women are doing at the World Cup while we wait for the start of this game.
The Hockeyroos began their Women’s World Cup campaign with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Japan at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. Australia took charge of proceedings with the first three goals of the game before Japan rallied to reduce the deficit.
Goals from Rosie Malone (17th) and Emily Hurtz (22nd) had the Hockeyroos two up at halftime before Jodie Kenny extended the margin five minutes in the second half. Motomi Kawamura (36th) pulled one back immediately but despite their late pressure they could only find another goal in the final minute through Akiko Kato.
The win put fifth-ranked Australia top of Pool D with three points before world No.4 New Zealand and Belgium play on Monday morning AEST. The Hockeyroos are next in action on Tuesday (11pm AEST) against Belgium.
Australia made their early dominance count when Stephanie Kershaw won a 17th minute penalty corner and Malone deflected into the roof of the net from Georgina Morgan’s drag flick.
“I was ready to go and I was in the right place at the right time,” Malone, who opened the scoring in her first appearance at a major tournament, said. “We practice that 1000 times and it paid off, so I’m stoked.”
The goal was Malone’s fourth for Australia in her ninth cap, having only debuted in January.
Hurtz doubled the lead when she tapped in from close range in the 22nd minute after Kathryn Slattery’s shot rebounded to her off the post. Grace Stewart won Australia their third penalty corner in the 35th minute and Kenny stepped up with a trademark drag flick into the top corner.
Before the Hockeyroos had a chance to ponder an onslaught Japan replied with Kawamura’s reverse stick shot beating the advancing Australia keeper Rachael Lynch.
Australia survived a goal-mouth scramble moments before three-quarter time before Kato forced the ball home at the second attempt from point-blank range to round out the scoring.
And hello to our readers and friends in the crowd!
And here’s our Vixens line-up for today
We’ve got a milestone today of course with Tegan Philip playing her 100th game!
NSW Swifts draw 57-57 with Collingwood Magpies
There was one more game on yesterday, with the Swifts still dreaming of a finals appearance despite their draw with the Magpies. Here’s the latest report:
Coach Briony Akle expects her side to keep battling until the very end. The sixth-placed Swifts already faced an uphill battle to pinch a spot in the play-offs after Saturday’s 57-57 draw with the Collingwood Magpies at Hisense Arena.
Those odds worsened after the Queensland Firebirds stunned top-ranked West Coast Fever 60-54 on Saturday night to consolidate their place in the top four with two round to play.
Yet Akle maintains that while there is hope, they will continue to fight. “I think we’re still there but it probably depends on what else happens with the other games,” Akle said after Saturday’s draw.
“We will train and play like we are still there so it doesn’t really change what we are doing moving forward.”
The Swifts face another tough battle against defending champions Sunshine Coast Lightning next week, who are also fighting for their play-off lives. Akle sees the number of quality teams in the running for the semi-finals as a ringing endorsement for Super Netball.
“The competition is crazy,” she said. “It’s a fabulous competition and you’ve got to put your best out each week. If you don’t do that, you don’t come out with those bonus points or the win.”
The Swifts saw a three-goal lead evaporate early in the fourth quarter against the Magpies but Akle liked the way they recovered to come within seconds of a vital win.
“The good thing I’m taking away is the fact is in the past, we might have lost that game,” she said. The positive for me moving forward as a coach is we stuck together and we can only get better and learn from every single time we are in these situations and take something out of it.”
Akle also paid tribute to Magpies defender Sharni Layton after the former Australian Diamonds captain announced she will bring her decorated career to a close at the end of the season.
Layton spent three years with the Swifts, helping them reach back-to-back grand finals before making the switch to the new Collingwood franchise in 2017.
“She’s done a huge service for netball,” Akle said about Layton. “She did an awesome job when she was at the Swifts and a great job for netball overall, so we wish her all the best.”
QLD Firebirds def. West Coast Fever 60-54
In case you haven’t heard the news yet, yesterday the Firebirds became the first Super Netball team to beat West Coast Fever in Perth this year. Here’s the report:
With two rounds to go in the season the Firebirds have every reason to be aiming high.
Fever have been leading the way throughout the campaign but after Saturday night’s six-goal loss at Perth Arena they face a stiff challenge to retain their position. They round out their regular season against fellow top four teams the Melbourne Vixens and Giants.
Things have opened up for the Firebirds who sealed their impressive win – to improve their record to seven wins and five loss – over the Fever on the back of a dominant second half display in which they overturned a three-goal half-time deficit.
They sit third, eight points behind the Fever, and with games to come against the rock bottom Adelaide Thunderbirds and the second-to-last Magpies at home.
But coach Roselee Jencke knows they can’t take anything for granted.
“It puts us in a much better position now, however, we are under no illusions that T-birds will want to get a big scalp and that Magpies are on a real mission to send Sharni [Layton] out on a real high,” she said.
“We just have make sure we are doing everything right and come out and play really well against T-birds and back up the following week. Our destiny is in our own hands and we need to keep performing.”
Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich was remaining focused on wat lies ahead.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get there and we’ve got a big finish to the season if we’re going to get into finals and contest them,” she said.
“We will come back better next week and we’ll learn from this experience as well. We bounce back well and it’s about getting everyone on the same page, back on the training track and enjoying the opportunity of playing two home games in-a-row.”
Here’s our Giants line-up for today
A timeline of recent events
Of course it all started with Laura Geitz’s retirement announcement on Monday, 9 July. Then, we had Megan Maurice cover the outpouring of emotion that followed for a much-loved national figure.
I loved the way she started her tribute:
“When the Australian national side gather in for the final moment before they take to the court for a match, their hands locked together, it’s not “Diamonds” or “Australia” that is their last battle cry before the whistle blows. It’s “sisters”. And that is thanks to Laura Geitz.”
What a couple of weeks
I’m sure if you’re a netball fan you’ll have been following the story of the mass exodus from the Diamonds’ team. The latest to announce her retirement, of course, is the much-loved Sharni Layton. Our regular netball columnist Erin Delahunty was all over it, with some insight provided by Sue Gaudion.
Hello everyone and welcome to this critical pre-finals clash between the Melbourne Vixens and the Giants.
Both teams face difficult opponents in the run home (the Vixens play Fever and then Sunshine Coast, while Giants play Collingwood and then Fever), with this match shaping up as finals-defining.
Last time these two sides met was in round five, with the Giants prevailing by seven points. It was their fourth win in five matches.
The Giants, however, lost badly last weekend to the Firebirds, and will struggle for confidence if they drop another game here. Alternatively, the Vixens have won five games on the trot, and sit comfortably in second place on the ladder.
I think this will be a tight tussle, with the Vixens to come out on top in front of a parochial home crowd.