Bendigo’s netballers triumph on home court

by Nathan Dole
THE Bendigo Bank Bendigo Football Netball League starred in both netball contests played against AFL East on Saturday on the court adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Oval.

Bendigo capitalised on home-court advantage to win the open and 17-under netball matches in the Worksafe AFL Victoria Community Championships action.

A strong start to the open match proved to be a key factor for the team in blue and gold.

Winner of the Betty Thompson Medal as the league’s fairest and best for A-grade in the 2018 season, Gisborne’s Maddy Stewart played a starring role in defence.

As captain of the BFNL, Stewart’s intercepts in Outer East’s scoring zone and quick passes to the mid-court set up many of Bendigo’s attacking moves on the way to a 55-40 victory.

The Jayden Cowling-coached Bendigo FNL line-up had plenty of strong contributors.

Stewart earned the best on court medal as Gisborne team-mate and goalshooter Clare Vearing also played a crucial role in the win.

Sandhurst’s Meg Williams dominated in mid-court, while Kangaroo Flat’s Chelsea Sartori, Sandhurst’s Imogen Sexton and Eaglehawk’s Allira Holmes teamed brilliantly in defence.

Unbeaten in the home and away series, Sandhurst was also represented by Brianna Dalrymple Monro in mid-court, while Eaglehawk’s Abbey and Ashley Ryan played well.

Sandhurst’s Rose Gallagher was assistant coach, and Eaglehawk’s Michelle Ryan was team manager.

Next major hit-out for the Bendigo FNL’s open netball team is the NV Association Championships finals on Sunday, June 23 at Frankston.

A year ago, Bendigo was runner-up to Geelong.

Saturday’s netball action at the QEO began with a great victory by the BFNL in the 17-under match.

The rising stars from Bendigo won all four quarters on their way to a 62-35 victory.

Golden Square’s Abbey Grindal scored 35 goals, and South Bendigo’s Chloe Langley had poured in 20 before she was switched to goal defence for the final quarter.

Langley’s play earned the team’s best player award and capped an outsanding match by the BFNL’s captain.

Coached by Golden Square’s Melinda Keighran, Bendigo’s 17-under team showed a lot of skill at both ends of the court.

The workrate of Gisborne’s Georgia Murray as goalkeeper, Sandhurst’s Ruby Turner at goal defence, and Eaglehawk’s Arriah Keogh at wing defence was outstanding.

Bendigo FNL showed it will be a force to be reckoned with at the upcoming Northern qualifiers for the Association Championships to be played on June 2 in Echuca.

A major goal is the NV Association Championship finals in Frankston on June 23.

Bendigo FNL’s 17-under team:

Arriah Keogh (Eaglehawk); Georgia Murray (Gisborne); Kayla Ashcroft, Abbey Clohesy, Abbey Grindal, Ashlee O’Shea (Golden Square); Piper Dunlop, Ruby Turner (Sandhurst); Carissa Brooks, Chloe Langley, Morgan McLennan (South Bendigo).

Coach: Melinda Keighran.

Assistant coach: Nicole Donnellon.

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