By Jordan Witte, Claire Macuz & Salv Lupone
With key players Bella Cavallo, Eloise Barnwell and Sofia Abate unavailable for selection, the U15 Division 7 Metro Jets side were up against it in their Round 7 match-up against Moomba Park.
They needn’t’ve worried.
After four scintillating quarters from the seven players available for selection, the Jets affirmed their premiership credentials, beating Moomba from pillar to post and walking away with a 32-13 victory.
Zoe Rowan-Paul’s first quarter set the tone for the game, with the goal attack connecting on her first seven shots of the game to give the Jets a lead they would never relinquish.
It was made possible by captain Molly Robertson’s combination with pocket rocket Ella Zaccari, as the Jets favoured a direct style of play, which worked to Rowan-Paul’s benefit.
The exceptionally tall goaler used her height to her significant advantage, as Moomba were unable to control the Jets, who took a five goal lead into the first break.
Moomba’s second quarter betrayed their ladder position, as the bottom-placed team fought back into the match against the top-placed Jets. A far more even contest presented itself as Moomba piled on five goals, but couldn’t restrict the Jets, who added six.
Emma Robertson picked up the slack from Rowan-Paul, as the Jets employed the short-and-sharp tactic used club-wide. Scything through the Moomba defense, the Jets eased the pressure on goal keeper Malia Kroger and goal defense Emma Naso, the latter imploring her teammates to keep the pressure up as Moomba surged.
With a six goal lead at the main break, the slightest of doors was open for Moomba to cause a huge upset. Emma Robertson slammed it shut almost singlehandedly, with a dominant third quarter killing the game as a contest.
Six goals to the goal shooter, several rebounds and an imposing physical presence meant the Jets were all but home. Emma Birrell, playing after receiving a late call up, was influential in wing defense in a continued sign of good development.
Ten goals to three in the third quarter gave the Jets a well-earned 24-11 lead heading into the final period. It was Rowan-Paul who administered the coup de grace, with five goals giving her a total of 17 for the game as the Jets ran rampant.
Coach Lee Harris remarked on Rowan-Paul’s eagerness to learn after the game.
“She just wants to get better. Her persistence and willingness to work on what’s been taught to her is an absolute credit to her as a netballer,” Harris said.
With Kroger, Naso and Birrell refusing to give away any freebies to their opponents, and Molly Robertson and Zaccari stingy as ever in the midcourt, the Jets stifled Moomba, running away with the game in the last quarter.
Finishing with eight goals to two, the Jets solidifed their position atop the ladder, sitting four points clear of Darebin Dragons in second.