Thunder and Dragons to clash in M-League Round 2
WITH a successful opening round done and dusted, Round 2 of the Victorian Men’s and Mixed Netball Association (VMMNA) takes place tonight, with most players having dusted off the cobwebs. Reigning Men’s Premier division grand finalists Netblacks make their return to the competition against the Ariels, whilst the Ariels’ Premier Mixed side takes on Melbourne Quakes in what is tipped to be match of the round. Here is how Round 2 of the competition is looking for tonight.
PREMIER MEN’S LEAGUE:
Round 2: (All at 9:40pm)
Ariels vs. Netblacks – Court 1
Darebin Dragons vs. Boroondara Thunder – Court 2
St Therese vs. Altona Falcons – Court 6
Bye: City Heat
At least one side will have to pick up some points in the Premier Men’s division clash between newcomers Darebin Dragons and Boroondara Thunder. Both sides walked away from their opening round games without anything to show for it, though in largely different fashions. The Thunder were incredibly competitive against a reinvigorated Ariels side, going down by two goals. Meanwhile the Dragons were no match for reigning premiers St Therese, suffering a 24-goal loss against the benchmark side of the competition.
Boroondara Thunder never threw in the towel against Ariels and kept coming even in the final term with the result seemingly done and dusted. They gave themselves a real sniff and got within a goal before the Ariels managed to steady. David Chisholm in goal shooter put up 24 goals to be a towering figure close to the post, while Tory Allen provided the spark needed in centre coming on at half-time. Anthony Williams will likely get first crack in the centre bib having played three quarters in the role, while Lou Leo and Dana Button were up against it in the defensive goal circle.
The game could be won in the midcourt with Steve McCallum making a difference to Darebin’s attack, with he and Josh Fell both coming on at quarter time in respective wings of attack and defence. Boroondara used its squad sparingly in Round 1, providing plenty of rotations to dust off the cobwebs, but Taurin Eimermacher and James Robertson were among those who had stints in that midcourt. The defensive pairing of Tim Malmo and Terron King with Sam MacKerras having the versatility to role through all three defensive roles, makes the Thunder a stacked side. Darebin’s attack headlined Julian Taylor struggled against St Therese’s famed defence, and will be looking to right those wrongs in this contest.
Looking across other Round 2 matches, spectators will be excited to see what the Netblacks can produce, and whether or not Junior Levi and Deepak Patu‘s strong side can go one better than their grand final appearance last season. They return to the court after a bye in Round 1 to lock horns with the Ariels, while the reigning premiers St Therese will face off against Altona Falcons. The Falcons narrowly lost to City Heat by three goals in Round 1, with the Heat now having the bye.
PREMIER MIXED LEAGUE:
Round 2: (All at 8:20pm)
Geelong vs. LTU – Court 7
Eastside Sonics vs. Parkville Panthers – Court 1
Melbourne Quakes vs. Ariels – Court 2
Altona Falcons vs. Valley Wolves – Court 6
Bye: NNE Vipers
All four of the Premier Mixed division contests feature a side that won and a side that lost, in Round 1, meaning undefeated runs could continue, while first victories could kick-start seasons. Potentially the game to watch could be between the Melbourne Quakes and Ariels, with both teams coming off nail-biters in Round 1. The Quakes went down to newcomers Altona Falcons in a thrilling one-point result (55-56), while the Ariels began their season off on the right note with a 51-46 triumph over Eastside Sonics.
Ronan Pring was a star in goal keeper last week for the Quakes, and will be asked to do another big job. Kurt Thompson shot 33 goals from 35 attempts in the Ariels’ big win over the Sonics in Round 1, pairing up perfectly with the crafty Ally Black (13 from 17) providing strong support in there. The head-to-head between Pring and Thompson will be crucial to the result, while in the midcourt, Ariels’ Ryan Towers will likely face a combination of Hadley Dixon and Jed Christian.
For the Quakes shooters, David Chisholm and Annabelle Gorman is a deadly combination, and will be one that worries a lot of defences if they can get enough opportunities. Last week the Ariels kept the same seven on for the entire match, with Dan Stone and Cassie Grigoriadis chosen as the ones to lock down the defence. The likes of Brendan Nick (Ariels) and Simon Cartwright (Quakes) were others not used in their respective Round 1 contests, but could be called upon to have big roles in the Round 2 clash.
In other matches, reigning premiers Geelong will be seething following its heartbreaking loss to Parkville Panthers in the grand final rematch, and take on a fresh LTU coming into the competition for the first time and having a bye in Round 1. Speaking of the Panthers, that will be Eastside Sonics’ problem to deal with, in a battle of last year’s minor premiers and wooden spooners going head-to-head in Round 2. After going down to NNE Vipers – who have the bye – in Round 1, Valley Wolves will hope to gain some momentum back when they face the victorious Altona Falcons out on Court 6.
In the junior competition, the two winners from the 17 and Under division will take on the two losers which will prove if there is a distinct gap in that four-team competition. Both St Therese and WDNA had big wins against Peninsula Waves and Darebin respectively in Round 1, with St Therese now taking on Darebin, and WDNA facing Peninsula Waves. Those matches are out on Court 11 and Court 10 respectively from 7pm. In the 14 and Under grade, TBC takes on WDNA on Court 1 at the same time, while the successful St Therese – who knocked off WDNA by two goals in the opening week – will face Guy McCleish.