It’s high-fives all round for Pakenham on the netball courts

Pakenham's A Grade netball captain Caitlin Cooke's side is flying on the back of five-straight wins 402294 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Marcus Uhe

The red-hot form of Pakenham’s Outer East Football Netball A Grade netball team continued on Saturday in the form of a fifth-consecutive victory.

A strong first half saw Pakenham open up a nine-goal lead over Olinda Ferny Creek that grew at the final two breaks, to 12 at three-quarter-time and 16 at the final siren, to record a 56-40 win.

Mid-courters Lara Goodman Hancock, Jordyn Adams and Millicent Utber controlled the middle third and provided shooting duo Charlotte Hudolin and Kelly Cousins with ample opportunities on goal.

The Lions sit third on the A-Grade ladder, rubbing shoulders with competition heavyweights in Wandin, Narre Warren and Mt Evelyn in the elite bracket of teams.

By this time last season a clear gap had opened between the premiership contenders and the remainder of the field, with Pakenham on the outside looking in.

12 months on and the Lions are right in the mix, as they continue to gel and adapt to Matthew Cooke’s tactics and approach on the court.

A tough test awaits next week against Mt Evelyn that will offer a true assessment of their premiership credentials.

Another side forcing its way into the premiership conversation is Emerald, just half a game behind Mt Evelyn in fifth place after a 4-2 start to life in Premier Division.

The champions of Division One in 2023 have only lost to Pakenham and Narre Warren in the first six weeks and recorded another win over a Premier Division mainstay in Upwey Tecoma thanks to a strong third quarter.

Tied on 28 at half time, Emerald outscored the Tigers 15-11 in the third quarter and kept its opponents at arms length for the remainder of the contest for a 54-51 win.

Emerald was the better side coming out of the break with eight of the first 10 goals to quickly establish a six-goal buffer, all through Goal Attack Kaylah Loulanting.

ROC was far too strong for Gembrook Cockatoo, winning its third game of the season in a 54-31 result at Officer Recreation Reserve.

ROC blew the visitors out of the water in the contest’s early stages, scoring seven consecutive goals midway through the period to take an 11-6 lead.

The home side then scored seven of the final 11 to close the quarter to finish the term double Gembrook Cockatoo’s score, 18-9.

The Brookers kept pace in the second but was outscored 28-13 after the long break, with ROC prevailing 54-31.

The Brookers now find themselves in the midst of a four-game losing streak after an impressive opening fortnight.

Narre Warren continues on its merry way, still undefeated in 2024 thanks to an 18-goal win over Monbulk and 39 goals from Erin Bell, while Mt Evelyn outscored Woori Yallock 18-8 in the second quarter on its way to a 50-42 win at home.

Berwick Springs’ struggles continue, this week the victims of a 73-goal loss to last season’s runner up, Wandin.

Wandin scored 21 goals in three quarters and 22 in the remainder, while the best the Titans could manage was five.

The Titans have the chance to break the losing streak on Saturday when they host Olinda Ferny Creek.