LJ Hooker Hawks beat Mana Wasps as fight for fourth spot grows

LITTLE could separate LJ Hooker Hawks and Mana Wasps in their Bathurst Netball Association A grade clash on Saturday.

THAT'S MINE: LJ Hooker Hawks' Kate Gullifer and Mana Wasps' Emma Miller contest for the ball in Saturday's BNA A grade game. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 061717cnball3

THAT'S MINE: LJ Hooker Hawks' Kate Gullifer and Mana Wasps' Emma Miller contest for the ball in Saturday's BNA A grade game. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 061717cnball3

Hawks took a 44-37 victory to deny Wasps a chance to jump up to fourth spot on the ladder.

Wasps coach Saphai Mitai-Ngatai was proud of her side’s effort in defeat.

“LJ Hooker were just the better team on the day. We didn’t bring our A game,” she said.

“In a sense, our defence was out for the game, but the girls who I put in there did a great job.”

Wasps are a new team on the A grade scene for 2017.

Mitai-Ngatai believes her team is becoming stronger with ever match.

“We are gelling together quite well. There’s a couple of B grade and junior players in the team who have come up and done a great job,” she said.

“We’ve been focusing on trying to slow down things on the attacking end, because a lot of our players are still getting used to the pace in this grade.

“Only three of our players had played A grade before this year. It’s about trying to get them out of panic mode. I don’t care if it takes us 50,000 passes to get into the circle.

“Our defence has been playing really well and that’s been the backbone of our team.”

At the season’s halfway point a three-way battle for fourth place is starting to emerge between Panthers WWL (12 points), Hawks (11) and Wasps (11).

“There’s three front runners for the finals spots. Then there’s a couple of teams fighting for fourth,” Mitai-Ngatai said.

“It’s almost like the team there changes every week.”

Bulldogs Verdelho jumped to the top of the table after accounting for the previously undefeated Collegians Mystified 45-21.

Panthers A were a class above club mates Panthers WWL on Saturday in a 74-24 win.

Nova Pursuit claimed a win via forfeit against Panthers Mustangs.

In an intense minor premiership scrap Bulldogs, Panthers A and Collegians all sit on 19 points. Bulldogs have the edge through point difference.

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