The Melbourne Flames take on the Brisbane Breakers in what looks set to be an intense and exciting match up against the League’s top two teams.
Both sides will be entering the fixture full of confidence and with a perfect record intact.
In their last game against the Freeze, the Flames proved that they are as comfortable chasing a deficit as they are holding out leads. Having gone down at half for the first time in three games, the Flames showed grit and character to claw back and earn the win.
But the Breakers are a strong team who have gone through their first three rounds with relative ease, recording some convincing victories that are reflected in a superior goal difference.
Melbourne will have to be wary of the attacking threat posed by Sophie Taylor, Myles McCallum and Dom Simpson; the top three scorers of the Brisbane team. They will look to pounce and score from their top assisters, Liam Grimmond and John McNaughton.
On offense, the Flames have generally stuck to their tactic of short passes and quick disc movement, creating space and attacking it with their raw athleticism. On defense, they have been loyal to a match defense system, even in the windy conditions they faced in their last game, occasionally opting for gender mismatches. While it has worked in leading them to three successive victories, they have not managed to limit their opponents to low scoring games.
Their fluidity on both offense and defense has seen them adapt well to whatever systems they have encountered, and made them a real nuisance for their opponents to deal with.
The Ellipsis connection of Alex Prentice, Cat Phillips and Eva Weatherall has also been on display in the previous games and can be expected to continue as the Flames look to them as their main offensive output. The trio are the Flames’ current top scorers; Prentice and Phillips with 6 goals each and Weatherall with 4. They will be looking to be on the end of passes from their top assisters, Seb Barr, Brendan Ashcroft and Mark Isherwood who have 10, 8 and 6 assists respectively.
On defense, Mark Isherwood and Tom Rogacki will need to get some blocks as they are sure to match up on Brisbane’s deep threats. Isherwood is currently equal first on the league’s blocks leaderboard with 6, while Rogacki is close behind with 4 blocks.
It will be an interesting contest for the Melbourne Flames as they face a team that rivals their top of league position. Will the Flames continue their blazing run through the league or will Brisbane break their stride? Tune in tonight at 8:00pm to find out.
Written by: Alex Tsui
Photography: Mark Milne