Four rounds have come and gone in the Netball NSW Premier League, and two teams remain undefeated atop the standings – GWS Fury and Central Coast Heart.
Victoria Aoake, who plays centre for BNC Whanau in the Greater Open Championship and wing defence for the state club, has chalked their table-topping start to the year up to the “unity” inside the club, and their “family atmosphere”.
“There’s such a great vibe in the club, I would drive down to Sydney to train with them and be with them even if I wasn’t playing so much,” Aoake revealed.
Last season the wing defender was relegated to the bench, or watching from the stands, after injuries cruelled much of her season, leaving her chasing minutes and struggling to break into the Premier League side.
Now she’s started three of the past four games for the Sydney club – including preseason matches – and said there’s no better feeling than proving she can make the grade.
“I had a lot of doubts [last season] where I was worried that maybe sitting on the bench was my limit in the competition, but to go out there and start for the side – even in wing defence – was a real break through,” she said.
“I’ve really been loving getting game time at wing defence as well, I think it’s a really underrated position and you have a lot of impact on defence when you’re playing there.”
GWS walked away with a 17 goal victory over UTS Sparks, 65-48, a particularly gratifying win after UTS were identified as one of the key contenders of the season.
After struggling early on in the season, the Sparks bounced back to full strength with the return of their representative players, but Fury made short work of them despite their ranks being re-bolstered.
Elsewhere on Wednesday evening, Central Coast stayed level with Fury after a 71-53 win over North Shore United, that saw the four Hunter women in Heart’s open squad come out victorious over Sabina Gomboso’s sixth placed team.
The 124-goal flurry still leaves Heart trailing the dominant GWS squad, and with the Fury-Heart clash looming on the horizon in round six, the Premier League is promising to only get more exciting in coming weeks.
It’s a fixture Aoake has been looking toward, even if her team “is taking it one game at a time”.
“I can’t say it’s not exciting, the chance to beat a lot of the girls that are from Newcastle,” she admitted. “It’s a bit of bragging rights, and if we’re both undefeated it will be very interesting.”
In the under 20s, Central Coast Heart fell to North Shore United’s undefeated development squad, 37-45, while GWS Fury fell by 10 goals to UTS Sparks.
OPENS TABLE: GWS, Central Coast (8), ERNA (6), Manly Warringah, Sutherland (4), North Shore (2), UTS, Panthers (0).