The Melbourne Flames face the Perth Power in the final round of the Australian Ultimate League.
Having already secured a place in the Grand Final after their win against the Brisbane Breakers in round four, the Flames will be looking to cap off their season with another win.
They will be facing a Perth team filled with renewed energy after convincingly securing their first win in their last match against the Adelaide Dragons. The Flames will not ease up either, and will put pedal to the metal as they look to end the season with a 100% win record.
In their previous game against the Brisbane Breakers, fans may have observed that the Flames were taking more long shots and moving away from their short, quick passes. This led to an increase in the amount of turnovers, but Flames’ player, Lochlan Wise, explained that this was not something to worry about.
Speaking about it after the game, he said, “I believe the large number of longer throws in the game comes down to the confidence from the throwers of their own ability and trust in the team member to catch what they throw. Unfortunately sometimes the conditions and defensive pressure mean there aren’t quite as many spectacular goals compared to turnovers.”
While the Flames no doubt have amazing throwers as well as receivers, past games have shown that when they attack with short and quick passes they’re speed and skills are unbeatable. It will be interesting to see what sort of tactic they will be using against Perth Power.
The Flames will be wary of Perth’s Alex Gan and Rebecca Brereton, their two highest goal-throwers, as well as the attacking threat of Peter Eley and Alex Shepherd, their two highest scorers.
The Flames’ defensive prowess has seen them effectively disrupt their opposition with their gender mismatch look. Flames’ player Mikhaila Dignam has been a central part in this system, often finding herself guarding a handler, regardless of gender.
Speaking to us after the previous game, Dignam showed her belief in gender mismatch tactics being the future in mixed Ultimate.
“Mixed Ultimate lends itself to some truly amazing defensive options, many of which Dan Rule pioneered with the Crocs last year. I’m confident that using gender as a strategic tool will continue to evolve in defensive tactics.”
She said, “For me, it’s simply about using each player’s strengths, irrespective of gender. I love matching up on handlers and other Flames players kill it in the air, so it makes sense to arrange player defensive strengths accordingly. I’m confident in that role because like any match-up, I cannot stop my player completely from getting the disc but I can control the space in which they get it and endeavor to make it weak space.”
Fans of great defence have plenty to be excited about when watching the Flames, who proved that they are excitement machines after racking up a total of fourteen blocks in their top of the table clash with the Brisbane Breakers in round four.
The Flames will look to display their attacking prowess and defensive intensity, as they look to finish off their final round game with a win. They’d like to go into the Grand Final on a high note.
Can the Flames continue their impressive winning streak? Or will Perth Power’s late resurgence overpower them and cause an upset? Tune in on 5th October 8:00pm to find out!
Written by: Alex Tsui
Photography: Mark Milne