31 Aug Wildcats strike back with win over Bull Sharks
The Wildcats have responded to their surprise defeat against the Jets by recording a 41-31 victory over a tenacious Bull Sharks side on Saturday.
The two teams that met at Somerset College both had their minds set on the 10 points, but for different reasons. For the Wildcats a win would prove that last week’s loss was just a minor setback on their way to defending the HART Sapphire Series title. For their opponents, securing a victory could revitalise their season after two consecutive defeats.
Early on the match was defined by a series of missed attempts at either end of the court. Bull Sharks Goal Keeper Shenae Grant and her Wildcats counterpart Lenora Misa applied significant pressure to limit the time available to the attacking players and the sides were evenly matched in the mid-court, with neither side able to gain control.
In spite of the balanced start, it was the Bull Sharks that claimed the opening quarter, 10-9, and with it their first points of the season. Ava Black, this year promoted from the Ruby team, continued her impressive start to the campaign at Wing Defence while captain Kristen Oxenford was influential in disrupting the Wildcats in transition and converting defence into attack.
The Wildcats returned from the break with a renewed drive and began to display the talent that led them to the title in 2019. Bull Sharks players were confronted with red bibs everywhere they turned and were continually forced away from the centre of the court.
Briony Payne (9/19) replaced Jemmason Power (12/22) in the Wildcats attack to supply greater versatility and together with Beryl Friday (20/24) completed an emphatic 11-1 run. At the other end, Misa and last year’s Grand Final MVP Danielle Taylor powerfully nullified the Bull Sharks, limiting Goal Attack Stephanie Bairstow (7/15), returning after injury, to a single attempt in the quarter.
The lead established in the second quarter was maintained throughout the third. HART Sapphire Series debutant Mackenzie Jordan (7/10) was a bright spot for the Bull Sharks but ultimately her side was unable to cope with the Wildcats’ speed and intensity.
An impassioned crowd had gathered to watch the Bond University side in their first home game of the season and their hopes were raised when Jordan and Ella Bertacchini (17/25) scored several goals in quick succession to begin the final quarter. However, the Wildcats always seemed to be in control and quashed any chance of a late revival.
The Bull Sharks face the similarly winless Carina Leagues Club Tigers in Round 4 while the Wildcats will play the Cougars in a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final.
Bond University Bull Sharks 31 QUT Wildcats 41