Vipers strike to cement M-League finals spot
NNE Vipers are through to the 2022/23 Victorian Men’s & Mixed Premier Division (VMMNA) finals after the Premier Mixed side stormed to a massive 50-goal victory over LTU on Wednesday night. With LTU already out of contention and NNE Vipers needing a win to grab fourth, they took control of the game with their opponents missing high-volume shooter Liam Killey, and ran away 77-27 winners.
From the get-go it was clear the Vipers were in it to win it, scoring 16 goals to seven, as Brooke Dadds fired off 11 goals in the first 15 minutes. She was well supported by Michael Dower (five) and the pair would swap roles for the second term, with seven and nine goals respectively to head into half-time with Dadds on 18, and Dower on 14.
NNE Vipers lead 32-13, as LTU struggled to put up the score without Killy. Leighton Miller stepped into goal shooter, but it was Jessica Black (nine goals) who was doing the bulk of the scoring. John Tran played the first half in centre and worked hard alongside Emily Ktona to try and get it into the smaller shooting circle, but the top talent of Jake Schuster in goal defence was too strong. He organised the defence and provided plenty of hand over pressure, as well as consistent intercepts.
The dominance continued into the second half, as the Vipers piled on 20 goals in the third term with Bridget Ryan replacing Dadds at goal attack. Both Ryan and Dower reached double-figure goals in an even contribution, while Charlotte Davies would move into goal defence for the third term. Maddi Wallmeyer was doing a fantastic job at finding space and getting it into the shooters, as the rout continued right up until the final siren, when the Vipers added a mammoth 25 goals in the last term, to finish on 77 for the match.
NNE Vipers had scored 45 goals to 14 in the second half, blowing out the 32-13 main break scoreline to finish on 77-27, hitting the 50-goal mark. Dadds was named best-on for her 18 first half goals then impacting in wing attack for the final stanza, while Wallmeyer’s work in the front third and Schuster’s consistency in defence, were also impressive. Dower would finish with 29 second half goals, for a total of 43 for the match. For the Vipers, Black tried hard in the attacking goal circle, but her side was ultimately overwhelmed.
AROUND THE COURTS
While all four Premier Mixed matches were in the double-digit differences, the closest of them was the one between undefeated Parkville Panthers and Melbourne Quakes. Unfortunately for the Quakes they needed a win to keep pressure on the Vipers, and it did not come, galling 15 goals short in a gallant effort. Connor Lilly was influential rotating between goal attack and centre, shooting 13 goals and providing some slick passes, while Elli Leydin was busy in attack during the 63-48 victory. Jake Hederics was also among the best in defence for the Panthers.
Geelong kept touch in the top two with an important 68-48 victory over last placed Eastside Sonics. Despite the Sonics able to find their rhythm and put up some consistent scores, the Geelong attack added 15-plus goals in each of the four quarters to take home the four points in a 20-goal win. Jake Dambrauskas continued his good form in season 2022/23 playing both centre and goal keeper, while Jordan Becker stepped in and shot 24 goals across both shooting roles. Jack Carpenter tried hard for the Sonics, shouldering the scoring load with 44 fo his side’s 48 goals.
In the last match, Valley Wolves ended Ariels season with a 63-46 win on Court 6. A high-scoring opening term saw the Wolves add 18 goals to the Ariels’ 13, and by half-time the margin had blown out to 14 goals. It was a much tighter second half with the Ariels able to stem the bleeding, but the damage was done and Valley Wolves enjoyed the 63-46 victory. Bella Hodgson scored 23 goals on the night, working well with Alastair Punshon who had a massive 16-goal second term. Ryan Towers tried hard for Ariels through centre across the first three quarters.