Kangaroos bounce out of the blocks
The ROC Netball Club welcomes reigning premier Tooradin-Dalmore to Starling Road today with the A Grade clash between the Kangaroos and Seagulls set to be a beauty.
On last year’s form the Seagulls would be certainties in this one – they took all before them in 2017 – but things may be a little different this time around.
The Seagulls defeated last year’s wooden spooners Pakenham under lights at Toomuc Reserve last Saturday, winning 53-44, while the Kangaroos started their season with a 53-38 victory over Doveton.
And remember – the Doves defeated last year’s preliminary finalist Cranbourne in the season opener on Good Friday.
The Kangaroos did the damage in the first and last quarters last week, starting with an electrifying 16-9 first term, lost the middle stages by two goals, before ramming home their five-goal advantage at the final break with a dominant 17-7 final stanza.
The Kangas received great drive from Zoe Callanan (C), Olivia Hamilton (WA) and a myriad of players at wing defence, while Mel Overdyk, Laura Quinn, Alisha Young and Jamilah Ferns showed plenty of determination at the defensive end of the court.
And Sara Villiers (GS) was sublime under the ring, scoring 40 of her sides 53 goals including 14 of 17 in the final term. Sarah Castricum and Sam Neil took turn at feeding Villiers throughout the course of the afternoon.
But can they repeat that standard of play against the Seagulls?
Kelly Andrews will be happy with the first-up win against the Lions, her side scoring 14 goals in each of the first three quarters on its way to a 15-goal lead at three-quarter time. The Lions cut the margin back with a 17-11 final term, but the Seagulls had already shown their all-round strength around the court.
Andrews has so much versatility at her disposal it’s not funny.
All eight players from last week had a bib change at one stage or another with Bec Kinna (GD/GK/GS) taking things to the extreme – she almost needed her own change room!
Ebony Dolan (GK) and Sara Duncan (WD) controlled things defensively, with Emma Iacovou (C), Tara Smith (WA) and Alex Maher (GA/WA) all spending quality time through the midcourt.
Alex Duff (GS) and Jess Cox (GS/C) rounded out an impressive first-up hit out from the champions.
The Seagulls should win and win well.
Cranbourne needs to bounce back with a win and gets the chance to do so against Beaconsfield at Holm Park Reserve.
Cranny has lost its first two to Doveton and Narre Warren – a tough start to the season.
There was nothing in the game against the Magpies until the Eagles gave up an 8-13 third quarter on their way to a 38-42 defeat.
Familiar faces like Nat Sparks, Steph Ryan, Tara Cecil and Alanah Hardy will be keen to bounce back against Beacy – but it won’t be easy.
Kelly Whitecross had Beaconsfield looking sharp as a tack against Berwick last week, the 58-29 victory taking it straight to the top of the ladder.
Rylee Nelson (C) played the link-role beautifully while Kaela Hughes (GK/GD) gave a best-on-court display in defence.
This one will go down to the wire – its Beaconsfield by two goals.
Narre Warren makes the trip to Berwick comfortable in the knowledge that it will be super-competitive again in 2018.
The Magpies lost a lot of class over the off-season but players like Britnee Tyers (GK), Carly Stagg (WA) and Caitlin Egan (GD) played well against Cranbourne and should be regular contributors.
And Erin Clark (WD) provides the ultimate form of leadership.
Berwick played a ripper second quarter against Beaconsfield last week and now need to build that into a four-quarter performance. Kassidy Withers (GS/GA) was outstanding for the Wickers last week, taking on the might of Kaela Hughes, while Hayley Alman (GD) and Morgan Thomas (GK) also held firm under pressure.
The Wickers will get better as the season rolls on – but the Magpies will win this one.
And Doveton hosts Pakenham in a game that should propel the Doves into the top four.
Mel Webster (GD) and Akanisi Seeto (GK) are developing into a strong and reliable defensive combination while Danielle Devlin (GS) is showing some fine form as a goaler.
Pakenham put up a brave fight against Tooradin last week and will go in confident it can challenge the Doves.
Look for goalers Kyra Esler and Lauren Spinks to get some quality passing from the likes of Katrina Meredith and co.
But the Doves will get the choccies.