St Therese cools Heat in statement win
REIGNING premiers St Therese handed City Heat their second straight defeat in the M-League Premier Men’s division as the netball action returned to Parkville last night. City Heat – who barnstormed their way to clear top spot – have now suffered successive defeats to the 2021/22 M-League Premier Men’s grand finalists with Netblacks and St Therese both getting the better of them. Though a reasonably competitive effort, St Therese proved too strong, winning 52-41.
In a battle of the top two sides this season, St Therese came in missing Ronan Pring, while City Heat were without Cameron Allum, effectively nullifying a potential matchup. Instead it was Connor Lilly (eight goals) and Tom Hardwick (four) up to their usual tricks in the goal circle helping St Therese to a four-goal quarter time lead. Josh Byron – who played four quarters in goal shooter in Allum’s absence – started off with four goals in the opening term, and would finish the match with 20.
Brodie McCleish fired off five from goal attack, as Alastair Punshon was doing his best to try and contain Lily, while Australian national representatives Jake Noonan and Riley Richardson engaged in an epic centre clash. St Therese began to overwhelm the Heat, and though no changes were made in the second term, Lily piled on another nine goals to take his total to 17 by half-time, and the reigning premiers were up by nine.
In goal keeper, Jake Hederics had limited the usual flow for City Heat, and was benefiting without Allum there. A switch of Tim Walker into goal shooter proved genius for St Therese, as he stepped onto the court and shot 12 goals in a quarter – and 19 in a half – to extend his side’s lead out to 13 by the final break. Noonan had a rest in the third term for Gerard Murphy to step into centre, while Richardson went to wing defence and Harrison Lefebure got his chance.
Though City Heat made a few more chances in the last term – with Noonan back on at wing defence, Michael Dower moving from wing attack to goal attack, David Butler coming on at wing attack and Tim Marshall replacing Simon Cartwright at goal defence – it would not be enough. Hardwick returned to the court in the final term to add four more goals to his total as he and Walker shot 11 for the quarter.
The Heat did come away with the consolation quarter win, as Byron (six goals) and Dower (seven) worked well together to cut the final deficit back to 11 goals. Jayden Cowling was best on court for St Therese in wing attack for four quarters with Hederics an equally consistent performer, while Punshon was named best for the Heat.
AROUND THE COURTS
On the next court, Netblacks flexed their muscles with a commanding 24-goal win over cellar dwellers, Darebin Dragons. The Netblacks took control from early on, winning the respective quarters by seven, 10, five and two for a 65-41 victory. Junior Levi piled on 15 goals in the opening term, and had 32 by half-time, eventually finishing with 57 for the match.
With the game done and dusted by half-time, star midcourter Deepak Patu was thrown into goal attack, shooting five goals himself. While that allowed Darebin to have more control in midcourt, the Netblacks still had the ascendancy, with goal defence Jake Schuster continuing his great form this season. Dana Button was best-on for the Dragons, having a tough job in the defensive goal circle.
In the other Premier Men’s match, Altona Falcons powered their way to a big 24-goal victory to put themselves in prime position for a finals spot, while putting a line through their opponent Ariels’ chances. Piling on 20-plus goals in the opening three quarters, the Falcons looked on track for a record score, before a level final term resulted in the 24-goal difference, 76-52.
Andrew Lewis added 20 goals to his name in the opening term, and then the Falcons brought on LTU shooter Liam Killey who was equally unstoppable across three quarters as Lewis went into defence. Killey, along with goal attack Josh Smith were clearly among the best in the wing, while Jack Dambrauskas was key at wing defence in cutting off Ariels forward passes. Lachlan Askew played four quarters in goal shooter for Ariels, finishing with 35 goals.