Falcons battle through

Soli Ropati (Robbab Photography)

Tara Murray

The City West Falcons were pushed early before coming away with a strong win against the North East Blaze in the Victorian Netball League championship on Sunday.

After having a bye midweek, the Falcons were at home at Altona on Sunday as part of the Super Sunday round.

Both sitting at the top part of the ladder, the match was also going to be an interesting one.

After a close first half, the Falcons ran away with a 67-48 win to continue their winning streak dating back to round two.

Falcons coach Marg Lind said it was quite a physical game.

“It was very one on one,” she said. “It took a couple of quarters to get our defensive strategy right.

“Once we sorted that out we were able to run away with it. They had variety with what they can put out there and they pushed us for a fair bit.

“The first half is the most we’ve been pushed for a while.”

The Falcons had to make some changes to their normal line up, with Montana Holmes called in the Melbourne Mavericks Suncorp Super Netball squad.

Holmes normally plays big minutes in centre for the Falcons.

It meant more court time for birthday girl Soli Ropati.

“Soli played the whole game in centre,” Lind said. “It was a last minute thing.

“We took more players than we would normally this season with three players being Mavericks training partners, which means some don’t get as many minutes as they would like.

“Soli got some extra game time and she would have enjoyed it.”

Lind said they were hoping that Holmes would be released for their Wednesday night game, having not stepped onto the court for the Mavericks.

Jane Cook shot 47 goals in a solid performance against some heavy contested defence.

Lind was happy with how Mel Oloamanu and Sophie Hanarahan adjusted in defence.

“Mel had a quiet start and then we had a positional switch without sacrificing her at goal defence,” she said.

“Once we did that Sophie was able to confuse the space and Mel went out hunting. We now have to make sure we’re not waiting until being instructed to change.

“They need to communicate a little bit better. They’re still a new combination.”

The win cements the Falcons spot in second, now a game clear of the Blaze which has played one extra game.

In the under-23s match, the Falcons lost 52-42 to the Blaze.

Lind said they lost each quarter by a couple of goals.

“We would make a couple of errors and they would capitalise at the other end.”

The under-23s did have a win midweek against the Gippsland Stars.

The Falcons sit in fourth spot.

This week the two Falcons sides face the Hawks, who are in the top four in both competitions.