The Canberra Freeze had a roster to compete with every side in the AUL this season, but instead will be planning for 2020 after missing the grand final.
The Freeze ultimately sunk to last place on the ladder with just one win from their five matches, but that record doesn’t tell the entire tale.
Canberra were in contention in most games even pushing championship contender Sydney Suns to a riveting first set universe point. However lapses in concentration cost them some nail biting near wins.
While priority draft picks will provide some solace, there will still be a sense of “what if” for a Freeze side good enough to beat anyone on their day.
What went right and what went wrong for the Freeze
Canberra had major offensive and defensive threats.
Dawson and Adelaide Dennis shared the workload with seven goals between them while Dawson also had six assists.
Gav Moore had the third most blocks in the league with 10 and also led Canberra on assists with 10.
Calan Spielman paced the Freeze with 12 goals, just three behind Sam McGuckin from the Brisbane Breakers who topped the competition.
English international Rachel Turton made the AUL top 5 plays highlight reel on several occasions with some stellar goals throughout the season, but it was not enough to stymie the losses.
Ultimately the Freeze let significant moments slip through their fingers, most telling when they let Perth come from 3-0 behind twice in the same match to throw away what should have been a win.
The calibre of the players in the Australian Ultimate League means that every throw (and point) really does count.
What the coaches had to say
Lorna Barr and Pete Hemphill remained proud of their charges, despite where they finished on the ladder.
But they did admit there was work to be done ahead of season 2020.
“The Canberra Freeze can be proud of how competitive they were this season challenging every team in the AUL,” the coaches said in a statement.
“We had a couple of games that were ours for the taking and did not see them through to secure the win.
“To progress further up the ladder next season we need to win the crucial points, reduce the unforced errors and work on how we can stay focussed when the pressure builds.
“The Freeze can’t wait to be back in 2020.”