VNL Round 8 preview: Lightning and Blaze lock horns in top three clash

A TOP three blockbuster clash between North East Blaze and Melbourne University Lightning highlights a big Round 8 of Victorian Netball League (VNL) action. Both sides sit at an identical five wins and two losses from seven matches, in the pick of the fixtures taking place tonight. A win would give the successful side a buffer inside the top two and keep touch with the 6-1 Geelong Cougars, whilst for the losing side, the ensuing pack would close in on third spot.

Since dropping the match to Casey Demons three rounds prior, North East Blaze have returned to their best form since the bye, defeating Hawks Netball by eight goals, and Peninsula Waves by 26. Melbourne University on the other hand rolled Geelong Cougars prior to the bye – the only team to do so – before thrashing Ariels by 42 goals. That winning run came to an end last week against the rising City West Falcons, going down by four goals. Now they will look to bounce back, but are yet to win two consecutive games.

It is clear to see that the Blaze structure up so well when the Allen sisters – Nyah and Sienna – are up respective ends, though talented wings at either end, Tayissa Coppinger and Meg Williams have also being amongst the best players this year. Williams adds that touch of pace and tenacity in the front half, with her feeds to the goal circle, whilst Coppinger has a high court IQ in the the defensive third. The Lightning defence will have to be aware of the dangerous Georgia Moody as well, who is more than capable of sharing the scoring load with Nyah Allen.

Melbourne University Lightning is one of the teams to beat for a reason, with plenty of talent across the court. With Victorian rising star Maggie Caris as a tall option in the shooting circle, the youngster will have quite the challenge against Allen should both play. Also in the side are the likes of Jordan Cransberg and Gabby Coffey, whilst Kelsie Rainbow provides strong experience through the midcourt and will be one who will be crucial in feeding it through to the shooters in this clash.

Across the courts, top of the table Geelong Cougars clash with fifth placed Southern Saints in another big clash, whilst a potential finals-defining early contest between mid-table sides Hawks Netball and Casey Demons presents terrific watching. Fourth placed City West Falcons have the opportunity to pounce on the loser of the top three clash, taking on the struggling Ariels in Round 8. The other game taking place is sixth placed Boroondara Express up against the out-of-form young Peninsula Waves.


Boroondara Express vs. Peninsula Waves
Geelong Cougars vs. Southern Saints
Hawks Netball vs. Casey Demons
North East Blaze vs. Melbourne University Lightning
City West Falcons vs. Ariels

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments