Newcastle’s stars were pitted against each other when Victoria Aoake and Sabina Gomboso clashed in the GWS Fury-North Shore United match-up, and it was Aoake who eventually triumphed as part of GWS’ 63-45 victory.
The second-round game started close for both clubs, with Fury heading into the first quarter break just two goals ahead, 15-17, but a dominant middle two quarters for GWS would go on to decide the match.
United were kept to just 9 goals – their lowest quarter haul of the game – as GWS stormed to 19 to secure a 12-goal lead heading into the half break, and a 16 to 10 goal third quarter for the eventual winners stretched the lead to 18.
Although North Shore were able to steady the ship and record an 11-all final quarter, the damage was already done, and Gomboso’s side came off second best in the second round face-off.
The win puts GWS on top of the opens ladder on goal percentage, with Central Coast Heart nipping on their heels after a landslide 62-35 victory over Sutherland Stingrays.
The first half of the match was close for the Rays as they looked to deliver Heart their first loss, but a second half surge from the team boasting Newcastle’s Maddie Taylor, Sophie Buckley, Natarlia Bridges and Tarsha Hawley clinched the victory.
The half break saw Heart leading by just three goals, 22-25, before the Central Coast club collected a massive 37 goals in the last two quarters, outpacing Sutherland’s struggling 14.
Heart head coach Amber Cross was quick to single out the efforts of both wing defence and vice-captain Alicia Walsh and Bridges, the latter of whom was “ruthless” after coming on as goal defence in the second half of the match.
“Bridges made a really good impact when she came on, she was really ruthless picking off any balls that were high or into the pockets,” Cross said.
“That made the Stingrays’ feeders really wary and hesitant to pass the ball at all. She had a great physical impact, and combined with Alicia Walsh well. Walsh worked hard against her wing attack opponent and between them we were stopping the ball before it got to the circle edge.”
Cross also praised Taylor for her “high volume, high accuracy” under the goal, and revealed she was impressed with Hawley’s fourth-quarter link up at goal attack with her fellow Novocastrian.
“It’s really worth putting something different out there, and Tarsha [Hawley] proved that she can be that for us. She had a really strong quarter,” Cross said. “That, combined with Buckley’s fantastic long-balls to Taylor, gave us a really strong attack in the second half.”
Hannah Cullen, Eliza Hand, Nikita Jackson and Danielle Taylor were all involved in Central Coast’s under 20s defeat at the hands of the development Stingrays, falling by just two goals in a tight 46-48 match.
Finally, Dakota Thomas’ North Shore United under 20s squad scored an 18-goal victory over GWS Fury, moving into the top spot on the ladder after Heart under 20s’ defeat.
OPENS TABLE: GWS, Central Coast, ERNA, Manly Warringah (4), UTS, North Shore, Panthers, Sutherland (0).
U20S TABLE: North Shore, ERNA (4), Central Coast, Sutherland , Panthers, UTS (2), Manly Warringah, GWS (0).