by Jordan Witte, Claire Macuz & Salv Lupone
The U15 Division 2 Metro Jets side is, for lack of a better word, stacked.
Each player in the side has either played at a higher level, or in tournament play.
Scarlett Padden is a mainstay in Open Division 6. Holly Rothnie is an Open Division 5 player with serious chances of going higher. Bela Hartman and Nat Williams play in the Jets’ top 17s side. Aimee Harris and Bec Stingel play in the U17-2s, Reese Willder and Paige Comans have gone to two tournaments and Maddie Usher is as solid a wing defense as you can get representing the U17-3s.
So for that team to start the season at 0-2 is, plainly, a massive shock.
There are any number of reasons why they may have lost. A new team, struggling to build chemistry. Off nights, as stars are wont to have. But as these things go, it’s impossible to judge a team based off their first few weeks in isolation. It’s far better to judge at the end of a season, with all the facts.
After being beaten by Westside in the opening rounds of the season, the time for revenge finally arrived for the Jets on Thursday night.
In an almost exact replica of last week’s win over Banyule, the Jets – welcoming back key defender Bela Hartman from illness, while missing Reese Willder due to an overseas holiday – started slowly.
Aimee Harris and Scarlett Padden, for all their supreme talent, are not bigger-bodied, taller goalers, and the goaling pair subsequently struggled with Westside’s bigger, stronger defenders. Despite Hartman and Williams’ best intentions, the Jets went into the first break trailling by a goal.
So many times over the past few seasons, it has been defense that has led the way for the Jets. So it was again, as Bela Hartman turned in the sort of performance which has her names on the lips of Metro’s senior coaches, shutting down Westside’s dangerous goal attack Nadia Aumua.
Aumua had flirted with the idea of joining Metro during the off-season, going so far as to trial at the club, but ultimately decided on Westside. Hartman, if only for a quarter, made her regret it, as the defender completely shut Aumua out, tilting the game in Metro’s favour.
At the other end of the court, Holly Rothnie did what Holly Rothnie does. Five goals, with a minimum of fuss, bother or ado – consistent and deadly. Padden added another five, as Comans and Stingel started taking control of the midcourt, and Metro sped away to lead by five at the main break.
Harris was pushed into the midcourt for the third quarter, providing drive and dash in wing attack. Usher, Williams and Hartman deprived the Westside attackers of any real sustained opportunity, while Padden and Rothnie added four goals each to give Metro a nine goal lead at the final break.
With the finish line in sight, there was no letting up for the Jets. Another four goals to Rothnie gave her fourteen for the game, while Padden nailed three goals to give her twelve in a terrific performance.
Comans and Stingel finished off superbly, using their pace and guile to great effectiveness, while the defenders limited Westside to just five goals for the quarter, snuffing out any chance of a comeback.
The win – a 29-18 result – clinched revenge for the Jets. They stay in second place on the ladder, with the second half of the Metro Jets revenge tour coming next week against the only other side to beat them this season – Sunbury Sonics.