By Claire Macuz and Jordan Witte
MONDAY NIGHT saw the Metro Revellers A1 squad being delivered a hard hand as they came up against top of the table Airport Saints, losing 19-33.
The Revellers’ 0-3 start was evident after the week’s break, with the team taking the court missing starting defender Sarah Flanagan and injured centre Elise Paton (knee).
A fiery start from Saints’ goal shooter Samantha Lauder, who scored seven goals from seven attempts, allowed the Saints to take control early, despite multiple turnovers from goal attack Emily Brinsmead.
However, a solid first quarter by the Revellers saw centre-court trio Beccy Lewis, Martha Peck and Emily Archer provide a confidence-lifting score line of 4-8 heading into the second term.
Defensive pressure across the court forced turnovers from the Saints and allowed Revellers’ goal defence Gabby Bassi to take two crucial intercepts and deliver the ball back into Metro’s attacking third.
A knee injury saw Brinsmead leave the court close to half time after twisting her left knee in a contest against Bassi, a precaution taken due to the attacker’s previous ACL tear.
Aided by incandescent drives from English duo Peck in wing attack and Lewis in centre, goal shooter Claire Macuz and younger sister and goal attack Heidi developed a fluent partnership, scoring 6 goals to the Saints’ 2 goals, to reduce the lead to two goals at the main break.
With their heads held high, the Revellers took the court in the second half full of confidence. Brinsmead’s replacement in goal attack, younger sister Madilyn, had other ideas, providing a noteworthy option going forward for the Saints.
Centre Bridget O’Connor provided strength in the centre third and protected the younger Brinsmead with precision passing and well-timed decisions in the circle. O’Connor’s exceptional passing reduced the effectiveness of Bassi’s attempts to double team Lauder.
The Revellers’ decision to shake things up a little by swapping the younger Macuz and Bassi to provide more structure going forward, didn’t yield the results they were hoping for. Saints’ defensive unit Shamana Razeen and Alison Boyce were undeterred by the positional changes and created a wall that Bassi and the elder Macuz struggled to manoeuvre around for front position.
Pressure on the Revellers’ defensive cohesion caused turnovers in the back half and resulted in 11 goals piled on to the score for the Saints, blunting the fast-paced Revellers game plan. Brinsmead scored five from six attempts, aiding Lauder’s continued exceptional shooting to take their lead to 23-15 at the last break.
Desperate to reduce the damage, the Revellers pounced on Brinsmead in the last term and reduced her impact to just three goals for the quarter.
However, Lauder again proved too good for the Revellers and scored seven from seven attempts, cementing her accuracy with just a singular missed shot for the match.
The Saints’ win strengthens their top two position, behind only the All Stars after their bye this week. They remain undefeated and two wins clear of third-placed MANC Sapphires.
The Revellers sit in ninth position and are only two games out of the four, with three wins and four losses, but will need to improve quickly on that in the remaining five rounds if they are to make the finals in November.