Newcastle Netball: BNC Whanau all but polish off Maryville's 2018 campaign with 58-29 barrage | photos

Jamie Hohua celebrates another goal late on in BNC Whanau's 29 goal victory over Maryville on Saturday, a win that puts them one step closer to confirming play-offs in 2018. Picture: Isaac McIntyre
Jamie Hohua celebrates another goal late on in BNC Whanau's 29 goal victory over Maryville on Saturday, a win that puts them one step closer to confirming play-offs in 2018. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

As finals in the Greater Open Championship loom, BNC Whanau have delivered an all-but fatal blow to Maryville Tavern’s hopes for a miracle run, downing the sixth placed team 58-29.

Maryville has had a nasty run of luck in recent weeks, losing a number of starting players and being reduced to a bare-bones seven for many of their matches.

Despite their opponent’s difficulties, BNC didn’t take their foot off the pedal as they strode to a 29 goal win at National Park, with a strong lead at half time giving Whanau the platform to close out the match.

Co-captain Caitlin Lobston – who guided BNC’s offensive line from goal attack on Saturday afternoon – said the whole squad was relieved to be in a strong position as finals approach, considering a “scare” earlier in the season saw them dropped to fifth place.

“We had a bit of a scare a few weeks ago, but that’s our second straight win now and we had our majority of the team back now,” Lobston said.

“It really felt like our defence from our attacking end was pretty strong the whole way down the court. We’re all really happy with the game.”

OUT FOR THE COUNT: Maryville Tavern's finals hopes have all but slipped away after a raft of injuries in the back end of the season. Pictured is young shooter Erin Asquith.

OUT FOR THE COUNT: Maryville Tavern's finals hopes have all but slipped away after a raft of injuries in the back end of the season. Pictured is young shooter Erin Asquith.

Lobston believes after recent results – round eleven’s sweep for the top four included – the play-off positions will be “really hard to break” as the regular season draws to a close.

“It’s really funny, the top four is exactly the same as it was this time last year, and [all four teams] have been playing really strong again,” she said.

“We’re looking forward to finals – it’s going to be an interesting time. The team had some injuries earlier … but all the girls are back now and we’re hoping to go one step further than we did last year.”

Elsewhere on Saturday afternoon, Souths Lions made sure they retained control of second place, and kept Nova Thunder away from a top four position, with a 61-28 landslide win.

Also at National Park, Forsythes defeated Souths Pride 68-40 to keep neck-and-neck with BNC in the standings, while Wests 1 defeated sister team Wests 2 63-25 to stay six points clear at the top.

West Leagues keeper Kimberly Goodearl made her return to the court known with a strong defensive effort against sister team Wests 2.

West Leagues keeper Kimberly Goodearl made her return to the court known with a strong defensive effort against sister team Wests 2.

TABLE: Wests 1 (38), Lions (32), Forsythes, BNC (30), Nova (26), Maryville (22), Wests 2 (20), Pride (17)

In the Star’s recent netball news