Metro League crowns latest Champions

Illawarra District and Hills District have been crowned 2017 DOOLEYS Metro League Champions following their hard-fought Grand Finals last night, Tuesday 12 September, at Genea Netball Centre.

It was a night of stunning play, where nerves of steel and four-quarter efforts led to title-winning performances. See how each Division played out below.

DIVISION 5

GRAND FINAL: Illawarra District 37 d Hawkesbury City 29

After a slow start, Illawarra produced a stunning second half to set up their eight-goal title winning victory against Hawkesbury City last night. Trailing by two goals at the big break, the 2017 Champions outscored their opponents 24-14 to set up the win.

The scoreboard was slow to get started with both teams putting out strong defensive pressure, which – combined with finals nerves – saw plenty of turnovers. Although Illawarra had the majority of possession in the opening 10 minutes, Hawkesbury defensive duo Jane Wilcox (GD) and Alex Clarke (GK) worked hard to repel their advances.

With the scores locked at five goals apiece, both sides emerged from the first break with vigour. Led by wing attack Kelly Place, the Hawkesbury midcourt provided strong service to their shooters – finding space to provide quick feeds into the circle. Goal attack Rochelle Bouzaid repaid the service, producing a stunning quarter with seven goals from as many attempts to help steer her side to a slim 15-13 lead at half-time.

However any momentum was quickly shelved as Illawarra found a new gear. With goal attack Amanda Bergin providing a strong target in the circle, the eventual Champions pushed their lead out to as many as five goals before Hawkesbury could find an answer. It truly was a Premiership quarter performance, with Illawarra leading by six as the game headed into the final 15 minutes.

Having grown throughout the game, the crowd was in full voice for the final quarter as the atmosphere grew with the minutes ticking down. Having been introduced after the break, Hawkesbury centre Chelsea Schofield led from the front with her fresh legs giving her plenty of speed across the court.

As the teams traded goals the contest only intensified for the final five minutes, with Illawarra proving too strong for Hawkesbury to catch.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
ILLAWARRA | Q1: 5 – Q2: 13 (8) – Q3: 26 (13) – Q4: 37 (11)
HAWKESBURY | Q1: 5 – Q2: 15 (10) – Q3: 20 (5) – Q4: 29 (9)

Starting Line-Ups
ILLAWARRA | GS Casie Hoddle, GA Paige Guthrie, WA Georgia Sturman, C Tammy Nottingham, WD Olivia Smith, GD Hannah Roberts, GK Kristen Chadrawy

HAWKESBURY CITY| GS Amiee-Lee Bohan, GA Rochelle Bouzaid, WA Kelly Place, C Danielle Kyle, WD Jade Smallacombe, GD Jane Wilcox, GK Alex Clarke

Shooting Statistics
ILLAWARRA: 37/60 @ 62%
C Hoddle: 13/17 @ 77%
P Guthrie: 8/17 @ 47%
A Bergin: 16/26 @ 62%

HAWKESBURY: 29/36 @ 81%
A Bohan: 16/20 @ 80%
R Bouzaid: 11/13 @ 85%
J Wilcox: 2/3 @ 67%

Finals Fixtures
Major Semi Final: Illawarra District 49 d Inner Western Suburbs 46
Minor Semi Final: Hawkesbury City 50 d Penrith District 28
Preliminary Final: Hawkesbury City 43 d Inner Western Suburbs 38
Grand Final: Illawarra District 37 d Hawkesbury City 29

DIVISION 6

GRAND FINAL: Hills District 52 d Liverpool City 38

Greater accuracy under the post has led to Hills District being crowned the 2017 Champions, following their tight contest with Runners-Up, Liverpool City.

While Hills were able to post a 14-goal victory, they only had two more shots on goal than their opponents, with shooting combination Derani Strachan and Caitlin Henning steering them home.

It was an intense match-up from the opening whistle with Hills producing the first three unanswered goals to set an early tone. However Liverpool soon regathered and with a late surge of goals were able get back within two goals within the shadows of the first break; Hills holding on to take a three-goal buffer into the second quarter.

Confidence was high with both sides producing some spectacular intercepts to reverse play, lifting their teammates in the process. The Liverpool defensive end did their best to repel their opposition’s every charge, but a small run of momentum helped set up a 29-20 advantage to Hills at the big break.

Following their defensive teammates’ efforts, Liverpool’s attacking end stepped up the pressure for the start of the second half and quickly produced three unanswered goals to take back some control of play. The match settled into a goal-for-goal rhythm until the eventual Champions hit a purple patch.

Through goal attack Caitlin Henning, Hills produced a stunning run of nine goals in which Liverpool only managed one, giving Hills a solid scoreboard buffer heading into the final stanza.

While they would have been forgiven for licking their wounds, Liverpool weren’t done yet. Switching the momentum against them, a confident Liverpool side produced some strong netball in which they were able to pull back the deficit back to within single digits.

However their efforts couldn’t be sustained as Hills withheld the charge; a run of four unanswered goals to Henning the nail in the coffin as they went on to post a 52-38 victory.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
HILLS DISTRICT | Q1: 15 – Q2: 29 (14) – Q3: 42 (13) – Q4: 52 (10)
LIVERPOOL CITY | Q1: 12 – Q2: 20 (8) – Q3: 28 (8) – Q4: 38 (10)

Starting Line-Ups
HILLS DISTRICT | GS Derani Strachan, GA Caitlin Henning, WA Belinda Swinnerton, C Tessa Rigor, WD Emma Hayman, GD Ashleigh Gammie, GK Jessica Knight

LIVERPOOL CITY | GS Charmaine Bristow, GA Makayla Stolk, WA Natalie Hall, C Sarah Abraham, WD Rebecca Ibrahim, GD Kimberley Pearn, GK Ateria Galo

Shooting Statistics
HILLS DISTRICT: 52/60 @ 87%
D Strachan: 20/24 @ 83%
C Henning: 32/36 @ 89%

LIVERPOOL CITY: 38/58 @ 66%
C Bristow: 25/38 @ 66%
M Stolk: 13/20 @ 65%

Finals Fixtures
Major Semi Final: Hills District 51 d Camden & District 42
Minor Semi Final: Liverpool City 62 d Campbelltown 55
Preliminary Final: Liverpool City 50 d Camden & District 48
Grand Final: Hills District 52 d Liverpool City 38