By Jordan Witte and Claire Macuz
In what will surely go down as one of the more frustrating games of netball ever played, the Metro Jets Premier Open Division 5 team crashed to a 14-34 loss against WP Lakeside on Tuesday night.
Eastside made the most of a major mismatch in their goal circle, utilising their goal shooter’s extreme height advantage to run away with a convincing win.
It looked like curtains early for the Jets, as Lakeside started by far the stronger side. Georgia Rajic and Hannah Dale are excellent defenders, and have proven so so far this season, but when they give away a solid six inches to their direct opponents, defensive stops will always be hard to come by.
Lakeside took a quick 0-6 lead by the halfway point of the first quarter, which sparked star young star Holly Rothnie into action. With the Jets missing regular goal shooter Camryn Edwards, Rothnie went into Godzilla mode, dragging the rest of the team with her.
Scoring four goals, assisting on two, and snaring two interceptions in a remarkable 6 minutes of netball, Rothnie and goal shooter Chelsea Hofman took the Jets on a 6-0 run, to level the game at quarter time.
Sadly, the game took a predictable turn from that point on, as Lakeside’s game plan reverted to type. Time and time again, they utilised the lob pass, taking advantage of their giant goal shooter.
From a total of 32 goals for the game, the goal shooter managed 28 – at a high percentage. Dale and Rajic fought valiantly to deflect passes and get their hands up, but their efforts were to no avail.
Elise Paton, a Monday night regular who was drafted in to aid a Jets team missing several players through injury and school commitments, along with Emily Aitken and Tessa Schurmann, attempted to stem the flow from Lakeside’s midcourt.
Rothnie was switched to WD by coach John Macuz in the second half in an attempt to raise the defensive pressure, but that too failed, as Lakeside found a way through. In her place, the Jets welcomed Jordan Austin, a fill-in from RMIT, who contributed five goals to the total.
The Jets – especially Dale and Rajic – must be commended for their fight, all the way to the final siren. Not once did the side’s heads drop, nor did Dale, largely responsible for the goal shooter, allow herself to get frustrated. Hofman shot well for a player that hasn’t had much goaling time of late, and Austin showed excellent shooting form in her first competitive game of netball since last August, while the assembled midcourt rotation played Lakeside right to the end.
The Jets fall to 1-5 for the season. But in what is becoming a familiar feeling, the overwhelming sense from the group is that their ladder position does not adequately reflect how well the team has played so far this season.
A match-up against Lakeside will have to wait, as the Jets will meet another finals contender this Tuesday – the 5-1 Westside, as they try to stay in touch with the top four.