by Jordan Witte
A tough Tuesday night for the U17-2 Jets has ended with a heavy loss to the undefeated Airport Saints, with the undermanned Metro side going down by 21 goals, 12-33.
The Saints controlled the game from start to finish, scoring heavily in all four quarters and restricting the flow of Metro’s ball movement to prove why they remain undefeated after five rounds.
Scoring just 12 goals for the game from 27 attempts, the offensive side of the Jets’ game was severely hampered by the size disadvantage posed by the Airport Saints’ defenders.
Missing Leah Cheevers (ankle), and with Maddy Birrell (ill) a late withdrawal, the Jets started with six available players after midcourter Tayla Burr missed the start of the game.
Still recovering from her own ankle injury, defender Ketria Wood, watching from the sidelines with Cheevers, was drafted to play a half to fill a role.
Wood showed she will be in the thick of it when she returns from her injury, making her coaches wince as she leapt around the court. After Burr arrived at half time, Wood’s night was done, in a successful semi-return.
It was always going to be tough with 7 players on a hot night. But the Jets struggled to gain ascendency in the midcourt, with the bigger bodies of the Saints discouraging any drives through the centre third.
Aimee Harris’ first quarter was in stark contrast to her first last week, with the shooter experiencing uncharacteristic offensive woes. Anushka Sadler’s development continued, as the goal attack did well to push up the court and involve herself in the game.
Coach Kim Dooley urged the side to push through the heavy pressure deployed by the Saints at half time.
“You girls need to get amongst it,” the coach said. “We need to do the simple things well. It’s little things that we can do to make our lives a lot easier.”
Midcourters Alicia Lupone, Rebecca Stingel and Burr improved their levels of play in the third quarter, but the efforts of Louisa Bongrain and Charlotte Caldow in defense were largely in vain, as the Saints used their physical advantage to streak ahead.
To a woman, across the court, the Saints were taller in every position bar Sadler’s. The Jets showed great tenacity in the last quarter to fight through adversity and hold the Saints to their lowest total of the game, but the damage was done.
After the frustration of last week’s draw against Avondale Heights, the result will sting the 17-2s, who are still chasing their first win.
They will get the chance to make amends against Essendon Thunder on the 7th of March.