Reigning champions Victorian Fury have all but secured a spot in the 2016 Australian Netball League (ANL) Finals after claiming two convincing victories over Southern Force in Week 5 action reports AIMEE DAWSON.
The victories moved Fury to the top of the ladder in their final weekend of home matches. They travel to Queensland for their last two games of the regular season before having a fortnight break ahead of the June 25-26 Finals weekend in Sydney.
The first game, played as the curtain-raiser to the ANZ Championship encounter between the Melbourne Vixens and Adelaide Thunderbirds at Margaret Court Arena, was a close affair with the Force jumping the hosts early to lead 12-6.
The Force’s defence of Luka Thompson and Amehlia Schmidt rattled the Fury’s attacking end early.
However the injection of midcourter Tayla Honey into centre settled Fury and they levelled the scores halfway through the second quarter.
Fury dominated their second game of the weekend, played at Melbourne’s State Netball & Hockey Centre, scoring a convincing 69-37 result.
Fury were boosted with Vixens players Chloe Watson, Kelsey Browne, Emily Mannix and Emma Ryde joining the team.
The inclusion of that quartet of players and full-court defensive pressure saw the Fury fly past the Force, scoring above 16 goals in every quarter and keeping the visitors to just six goals in the third quarter.
Fury coach Cathy Fellows said the influx of Vixens into her line-up made a difference in the match results.
“Force had some of their Thunderbirds there as well – I think they had three come back and play – so it was a really high level game and a really great game to watch.
“It was a bonus for us to have fresh players on the second day.”
Fellows was also impressed about how her team bounced back in Saturday’s game after being down by six goals early.
“Our defence has got better and better and better and we’ve been building to be a bit more consistent in our attack end,” Fellows said.
“We started really slowly so we were sort of eight down but we ended up winning by 14 or 15 so we’re quite happy with how we built over the course of (Saturday’s) game.”
The Sting were comfortable winners in their first match, leading at every break to claim a 57-41 victory in Canberra.
The Darters were much more competitive in the second game. Scores were level 22-all at half-time but the Sting broke away in the third quarter, outscoring the Darters 17-8.
The Darters won the last quarter 13–10, however some accurate shooting from the Sting’s Sophie Garbin, who shot at 89 per cent for the match, was enough to give her side a 59-53 victory.
Click here for detailed scores and stats.
Pictures courtesy of David Callow and Ben Southall