By Christopher Kourtis.
Just one more week until all divisions come to an end in the 2023 Bendigo Bank Netball season. Divisions 1-4 played out their preliminary finals, as Divisions 5-9 fought for the championship in their grand finals. Take a look at how each team faired.
Croydon (51) def. East Burwood Black (50)
The Division One Preliminary Final lived up to all the hype, as Croydon booked their spot in next week’s Grand Final.
It was a nailbiter throughout that saw many momentum shifts. After leading by four points at quarter time, Croydon found themselves down five points at three quarter time. East Burwood Black had worked their way back into the game.
Despite Ella Tweedale’s 41 point haul for East Burwood, the Rams ran out of gas as Croydon stormed back to clinch a thrilling one point victory.
Croydon will face East Ringwood Black in the Grand Final next week.
Coldstream Black (39) def. Knox Falcons (32)
Coldstream Black took care of business in the Division Two Preliminary Final.
The Knox Falcons led by three points at half time before Coldstream ran away with the game in the second half. Jessica Ford put the team on her back, outscoring Knox with 36 points and delivering Coldstream to a seven point victory.
Coldstream Black will face Oakleigh District White in the Grand Final next week.
Lilydale Gold (34) def. The Basin Cubs (28)
Lilydale Gold put forward a solid performance to emerge victorious from Division Three’s Preliminary Final.
After being tied at quarter time, Lilydale showed why they deserve to be in next week’s Grand Final, proving too good for The Basin. The Cubs struggled to find a foothold throughout the game.
Lilydale Gold will face Heathmont White in the Grand Final next week.
Vermont Eagles Purple (31) def. Kilsyth Cougars Black (26)
The Division Four Preliminary Final saw Kilsyth’s season come to an end.
Vermont Eagles Purple opened up a six point lead in the second quarter, which proved too much for the Cougars to overcome. The Eagles won by five points.
Kellie Phillips led all scorers with 21 points for Vermont.
Vermont Eagles Purple will face the Montrose Flames in the Grand Final next week.
Vermont Eagles Lilac (34) lost to Silvan Cats Blue (41)
Silvan Cats Blue are your Division Five champions!
The Cats led the game at all major breaks, finishing with a seven point win. Vermont Eagles Lilac cut that lead back at multiple stages during the game against a strong Silvan side, but they were never able to hit the front as the game progressed.
Georgie Haynes was deemed the best player in the Grand Final, winning the Blue Ribbon Medal.
GWH Yellow (38) def. Chirnside Park Panthers (30)
GWH Yellow are your Division Six champions!
The Chirnside Park Panthers didn’t make it easy for them, with nothing to separate the two teams at half time. GWH Yellow flexed their muscles in the second half, winning the fourth quarter 14-8 to complete an eight point victory.
Tianah Shane was awarded the Blue Ribbon Medal, ending the match as the highest scorer with 29 points.
Montrose Thunder (27) lost to Waverley Blues Red (28)
Waverley Blues Red are your Division Seven champions!
The final was a nailbiter throughout. Montrose had a two point lead at half time, but Waverley fought back to make it anyone’s game in the fourth quarter.
The last quarter proved to be a thrilling finish, with both sides going goal for goal.
With just seconds left on the clock, Waverley Blues Red scored the winner, sending Montrose home in heartbreaking fashion.
Kellie Harding was awarded the Blue Ribbon Medal.
Montrose Storm (26) def. Waverley Blues Blue (11)
The Montrose Storm are your Division Eight champions!
The Storm played out a routine win. Their defence stole the show, suffocating Waverley’s offence and holding them to just 11 points.
Chelsea De Korte won the Blue Ribbon Medal for her impressive display in defence.
Norwood Gold (16) def. Chirnside Park Panthers Black (15)
Norwood Gold are your Division Nine champions!
This Grand Final was a spectacle. The biggest deficit at any major break was two points, which Norwood owned at quarter time. Everything in this match had to be fought for and earned, as the two sides were level on eight points at half time.
Norwood finished one goal to the good, ending their season in the best way possible.
Samantha Olsen was awarded the Blue Ribbon Medal for her fantastic performance.