By Jordan Witte and Claire Macuz
A white-hot first quarter shooting performance by late inclusion Megghan Ryan was cancelled out by a equally phenomenal third quarter Northern Storm blitz, as the Metro Revellers Premier League Division 4 squad suffered a crushing 24-27 loss on Tuesday night.
With several key players unavailable in the Division 2 side, the Revellers lost goal shooter Heidi Macuz and midcourters Beccy Lewis and Ally Brown to the higher grade. Welcoming back Ryan for her first game at the level since her return from pregnancy, the Revellers also gained utility Alanna Macuz from the Division 5 side.
Ryan’s pedigree is well known. A prodigious talent, Ryan was playing Premier League Division 1 at 14 years of age, largely due to extraordinary shooting accuracy and exceptional movement in the goal circle.
All of her talents were on show in the first quarter on Tuesday night, as she put Northern Storm’s defenders to the sword, scoring on her first eight attempts before finally missing her last shot on goal for the quarter. Metro jumped to a five-goal lead before Storm fired a shot.
Ably assisted by Arabella Williams, the two combined to give the Revellers a six-goal lead at the first break. The Revellers fired on all cylinders, with wing attack Claire Macuz, her younger sister Alanna in centre, and Williams combining for nine assists in the quarter. Even Rebecca Francis, playing in her customary wing defence role, managed an assist.
Conversely, the Storm managed just four goals, as Alyce Kruse continued her stunning run of form with two intercepts, and Jess de Neef controlled the defensive third with aplomb.
The game entered a holding pattern in the second as Ryan’s form came to a screaming halt. Metro managed five intercepts – Kruse adding a further two, and wing defence Gabby Bassi grabbing another. The full statistics did not paint a pretty picture for either side, as Metro scored just three goals – all via Williams – and the Storm managed just four, to send the Revellers into the half time break with a five-goal lead.
The Storm have struggled this year, and sit second-bottom of the ladder with just two wins. But it’s hard to see how, after their unreal third-quarter display. Spearheaded by a goal shooter who managed 11 goals from 13 attempts in 10 minutes, the Storm erased their five-goal deficit, turning defence into attack, and went into the final break leading by a goal.
It wasn’t a bad quarter by the Revellers, if you’re reading from the stats sheet. Ryan and Williams scored five goals between them, missing just four shots for the quarter, while the team managed five assists and just four turnovers. What it does show is the last five goals of the quarter – all scored by Storm’s goal shooter – which would give the Storm an unassailable lead.
If the warning signs had started flashing during the third quarter, they went into full-on alarm mode at the start of the last quarter, as Ryan and Williams missed their first five shots on goal.
The Revellers managed to draw level as Ryan finally connected, but two misses from Williams and the sustained excellence from the Storm goalers led to four goals in a row for the underdogs, and the decisive break in the game.
Williams finished with four straight goals as Metro clawed back to within three goals twice, but the nail in the coffin was hammered home by the Storm goal attack, who answered Williams twice as time ran out.
The Storm recorded their third win of the season, which wasn’t enough to lift them above the Revellers.
After a disappointing performance, the Revellers will look to rebound after their bye next week, in the final game of the season against Melbourne University.
Megghan Ryan: 14/24
Arabella Williams: 10/20
Lineup: A. Kruse, J. de Neef, G. Bassi, R. Francis, C. Macuz, A. Macuz, A. Williams, M. Ryan
Votes: C. Macuz 3 A. Kruse 2 A. Macuz 1