Strong first and last quarters set up a solid win for the City West Falcons against the Boroondara Express in the Victorian Netball League championship division.
The Falcons made a flying start, before some sloppy play and lapses in concentration in the middle two quarters allowed the Express to stay in the game.
A stunning final quarter, including 18 goals from young goal shooter Uneeq Palavi, sealed a 61-47 win for the Falcons.
Falcons coach Marg Lind said her side had played good netball in patches.
“In between wasn’t great … we were ahead all night,” she said.
“They had a few Australian Netball League players back, which presented a few challenges. Our girls were able to hold their own.”
Palavi, who was awarded the three votes by the umpires, finished with 44 goals from 56 attempts.
The round was the first that hadn’t clashed with the ANL competition, which finished last Sunday, and that was a welcome relief for the Falcons.
Having already had Tahnysha Salanoa playing some games with the side, they welcomed back Jacqui Newton for her first game of the season.
Lind said that while they only had Newton for a half, they were pleased with the role she had played.
“Jacqui was only able to play a half and our aim was for her to nullify Samantha Gooden,” she said. “We kept an eye on what they were doing with her and she [Newton] was able to do that.”
Newton was called into the Melbourne Vixens squad in the past two weekends as an injury replacement. Lind said that while Newton might not get court time for the Vixens, being in that environment was exciting for her.
Lind said they were hopeful of getting their other ANL players, Jane Cook and Molly Jovic, back this week.
The win leaves the Falcons in fifth and just percentage outside the top four.
Lind said they were where they were hoping to be at this time of the year.
“We’ll give it everything to try and make finals,” she said. “If not, it’s still been a good year.
“We’re pretty pleased with the group and made some big gains. We’ll be in a better situation going into the next two to three years.”
Lind said the club had submitted its case for a VNL licence for the next five years as part of the regular licensing process. She said that Melbourne’s western suburbs deserves to have a team in the state’s top competition.
“We’re clearly ranked number one on performance the last 10 years,” she said.
“We’re set up in the inner western suburbs and we are now looking at the growth areas like Tarneit, Point Cook, Hoppers Crossing.”