On the ladder, 1 played 2. Grand Finalists against Runners Up. The winner, likely to hold onto top spot as they fired the first shots of their finals campaign.
The Stingrays struck. The Bombers took a nosedive.
The first quarter was tight early on, as the ball moved in incremental amounts from stoppage to stoppage. The Stingrays eventually broke the chains and their running game came into play as they moved the ball with speed, much to the delight of the vocal home crowd. Any time the Bombers got the ball, they were harassed by the Stingrays who maintained the pressure, and took a handy 13-0 lead at the first break.
The start of the second quarter saw both teams take early marks as their players found space. As the hunt for a goal became harder, it became a scramble with frantic kicking and handballs from both teams missing targets under the relentless pressure. Out of the chaos, both teams would score a goal in quick succession, until the Stingrays took the upper hand following strong pressure inside their forward 50. A hurried kick out from the Bombers benefited the Rays, who would mark and convert for goal,. This was again answered by Sydney Uni after a strong pack mark and goal by their leading goal scorer, Rachel Stack, to keep them in the game. A clever snap from the pocket by former Bomber Sera Kaukiano, gave the Stingrays the last laugh before the long break, leading 38-13 at half time.
As the Stingrays were high on their efforts from the first half, the game switched up as the Bombers had to find some flair. They constantly were in their forward 50 but found it difficult to score. The game continued like this throughout the quarter until each team could nab a goal. In a subdued and low-scoring quarter, the Stingrays found another major courtesy of Roxy McGee, to extend their lead to 51-19 at the final break.
The Stingrays were able to get uncontested possessions early on in the final quarter as they controlled the game, determined to get top spot and keep an eye on their finals’ campaign. Contested defensive marks by both teams stopped much scoring in the 4th quarter, which finished in the Stingrays favour 8.5 (53) to 4.1 (25)
Stingrays Coach, Tracey Kick, was ecstatic with the “fantastic win” and the team unity on the field.
“They worked together and communicated really well today,”, said Kick. “It was an important win for the season, given we’re likely to meet the Bombers once more in the semi-finals”
The Stingrays now sit at the top of the ladder, and look to have the momentum, structures and position to launch towards the finals.
Goal Kickers: B. Pride 3, R. Mcgee 2, S. Kaukiono 2, R. Godman
Best Players: R. Beeson, P. Monahan, I. Nielsen, J. Smith, R. Mcgee
SYDNEY UNIVERSITY BOMBERS
Goal Kickers: R. Stack, E. Brush, K. Sutcliffe, S. Walker
Best Players: J. Lew, E. Brush, M. Haynes, K. Sutcliffe, M. McCathie, N. Wiggins