It may take some time for the dust to settle before Perth Power considers their 2019 season a success, after it ended in absolute heartbreak.
The tyranny of distance makes training and gelling difficult for Perth, so they compensated with plenty of local talent – including Ali Lim, Annie Jessop, Simone Ryan, and Kyal Oh – mixed with some of the best players in the league.
It paid dividends and the Power went all the way to round five with a grand final berth at their fingertips.
Unfortunately, the surge from Adelaide Dragons cost the Power dearly as they went down in a final round heartbreaker – costing them a spot in the decider.
It means Perth finished third and have plenty to build on for season 2020, but they will need to shake the spectres of that defeat to remain a force in the future.
What went right and what went wrong for the Power
Was it nerves? Were they just beaten by a better team?
Whatever the reason, losing the final game of the season cost the Power dearly and we could be reading a very different narrative right now had they won.
Simone Ryan stood tall in her first season with her local AUL team with eight goals and four blocks, while Ellie Murray-Yong was consistently able to find her targets with eight assists. Eunice Cheung was also a handy import from the Sydney Suns, not to mention good form from Ashleigh McInnes and Kyle Oh throughout the season.
Pete Eley was a monster in defence with a league-leading 14 blocks, which went with his six assists.
Strong seasons from Alex Gan (12 assists) and Alex Shepherd (13 assists) plus 12 goals from Monte Masarei had the Power in great stead. If they can hold their nerve and go up a gear or two in 2020, they will be hard to stop.
What the coaches had to say
It would be easy to kick stones, but Perth coaches Viv Yuen and Max Halden prefer to focus on the positives ahead of next season.
“Perth are obviously very proud of how we played this season,” they said.
“It’s hard when you come so heartbreakingly close but we showed that we can match it with the best teams in the league and came away with a 3-0 against finalists Brisbane that gives us a lot of confidence going into next season.
“For us, the focus will remain on building connections and consistency ahead of the next season.
“We’ve already demonstrated that a dynamic, gender-equitable style can beat the best – now we want to be able to do it in every set, against any opposition, in any conditions.
“A third place finish is proof that we’re on the right track.”