16 Sep Wildcats stand firm against Tigers
The Wildcats relied on their defensive prowess to complete an emphatic comeback against the Tigers on Sunday, sealing a 46-36 victory after the Carina Leagues Club side opened an early lead.
After recording their first win of the season the week prior, the Tigers were eager to continue their form against a Wildcats line-up that has performed inconsistently so far this year.
In the opening quarter it appeared they were going to do just that. The Wildcats were penalised multiple times for excessive footwork and their opponents effectively capitalised upon the resulting turnovers.
Alana Schuster provided the creative drive for her team, while Amy Somerville (25/31) successfully withstood the pressure of former Diamond Chanel Gomes in the goal circle. The Wildcats failed to convert their chances after excellent movement to set them up in the first place, allowing the Tigers to establish a 6-goal advantage.
A few minutes after quarter-time Emily Gage (4/7) was forced to leave the court after suffering an injury while challenging Danielle Edwards for an offensive rebound, handing a HART Sapphire Series debut to Natasha Robinson (7/10), who has impressed in the Tigers Ruby team.
The loss opened the door for the Wildcats to recover the deficit. Leesa MiMi, recently named in the Netball Australia Centre of Excellent U21 squad, demonstrated incisive vision in finding Beryl Friday (26/27) from deep positions, and the ex-Firebird, now playing at Goal Shooter, asserted herself as the primary target following a relatively quiet first quarter.
Danielle Taylor, who started on the bench, was introduced and quickly settled into her familiar partnership with Lenora Misa, managing to contain Somerville, the Tigers’ key player early on. However, the ball rarely reached the goal circle as her team struggled to discover a route through the Wildcats’ mid-court zonal defence.
There was a noticeable gulf in energy between the sides and the Wildcats remained alert to the slightest error made by their opponents. Hulita VeVe was a gift to her teammates on the eve of her 25th birthday, displaying proficiency and collecting intercepts at both Centre and Wing Defence, and Briony Payne (12/20) was a constant nuisance to Shelley Rosanoff and Hayley Mulheron, drawing their attention away from the potent Friday.
In the end the Tigers were limited to only 21 goals in the last three quarters and the departure of Gage, in spite of a brief cameo later in the game, left Somerville with an insurmountable task. Schuster supplied the panache sorely missing during her appearance in the final quarter, but it was too late to affect the outcome and the Wildcats claimed victory by 10 goals.
Tigers 36 Wildcats 46