03 Jul MATCH REPORT: Northern Rays promise to learn from first up defeat
Date: 29 June 2019
Match: Hart Sapphire Series Round 2
Location: McDonald’s Mackay Multi-Sports Stadium
Opposition: QUT Wildcats
Result: Loss – 31 – 67
GS – Chantelle Tikitau
GA – Jacqueline Dupuy
WA – Taylor Crossley
C – Michaela Kadlecek
WD – Ariana Wilcoxson
GD – Kim Jenner
GK – Chloe Cooper
The Northern Rays were out of the blocks quickly, letting their more fancied opponent know their intentions rapidly with Goal Shooter Chantelle Tikitau scoring the first goal in just 11 seconds. From there the battle was on, with teams trading blows with neither able to capitalise on a large number of defensive gains to pull away from their opposition.
It was in the ninth minute that the QUT Wildcat midcourt combo of the Mi Mi sisters, playing together for the first time, and Cairns junior Rachel Fa’anana kicked it up a notch, with speed in attack and smothering space defence to help their team score 7 in a row.
The run stunned the local team and they were unable to replicate the smooth connections they had opened the game with. Heading into the second quarter they again couldn’t find their rhythm conceding six of the first seven goals of the stanza.
Coach, Jillian Joyce used her bench and rolling subs extensively to try and find an answer to stop the speed and determination of the opposition, but the absence of Firebird Caitlyn Nevins and Samoan international Brooke Williams was evident.
The Rays defence end, bolstered by the addition of local hero Kim Jenner were sublime in confusing space and shutting down access to the Wildcats attacking duo which included a six foot four shooter.
“I could not have asked for more from the Defenders,” Joyce said.
“The two Chloe’s [Cooper and Fredericksen] are born to play at this level and they showed that. Combine them with a world class player like Kim [Jenner] and that is a formidable backline.
“We need to do better at treasuring their work and converting that to goals. Our ball security and decision making through the middle wasn’t good enough to keep us competitive.”
Early in the third quarter, Mackay local, Zoe McIntyre was subbed onto Goal Shooter to the cheers of the parochial home crowd.
“That was really cool.” McIntyre said. “I guess I didn’t realise how important this was to the whole community. I will remember that for a long time.”
The fourth quarter started poorly for the home team, with them conceding six straight to start the period. This caused Joyce to call their first tactical time out of the game.
Wholesale changes to the line up ensued with only Jenner and Cooper returning wearing the same positional bib.
“That’s the beauty of this competition.” Joyce said. “We have innovations like rolling subs and tactical timeouts which means that you can throw everything you can out there as you need. It’s a great evolution of our game.”
While the scoreline appeared hefty, it was not reflective of the effort or performance according to captain, Jacqueline Dupuy.
“We didn’t finish our moves and drives in the right manner,” Dupuy said. “We dropped ball, we passed to the wrong space or we didn’t maintain strength on the end of our moves.
“We can fix all that, and we will. We know we will and will only get better from this experience.”
Tikitau – 10/17 – 59%
Dupuy – 18/23 – 78%
McIntyre – 3/5 – 60%