On the surface, this looks like a lopsided encounter. We have last year’s vanquished grand finalists the Sydney Suns roaring into AUL season 2019 hungry for redemption on one side of the field. On the other, an Adelaide side that is still looking for its first AUL win after losing all five rounds in 2018. Going on last season’s form, Adelaide would struggle to match Sydney. But this is a new year, with new rosters and the Dragons have made plenty of adjustments which will make the Suns nervous in their season-opener.

Hoping for better conditions

Last season when these two sides met it was a blustery day with rain slating across the field at times as well. Sydney was able to better handle the conditions with tight, pressure defence and good decision making in a 13-5 win. Both sides will be hoping for better conditions this time around though which may enable some more free-flowing Ultimate.

Sydney earn early season favouritism

The Suns were widely tipped to do well in 2018 and they will enter 2019 with the same expectations. Sydney club Colony earned a silver medal at the World Ultimate Club Championships in 2018 and David Andrews, Alex Ladomatos, Mark Wee and Ash Evans have all been elevated into the Suns roster. The strong female contingent of Dani Alexander, Rosie Dawson and Sarah Wentworth have been bolstered by promising young players Sarah Perkins, Holly Reeve and Kya Wiya while Mark Evans returns. On paper, Sydney will be hard to beat in 2019. But titles are not won on paper.

Dragons hope to use draft to their advantage

While the maiden AUL season was not memorable for Adelaide, it did hand them priority draft picks. That means No.1 pick Di Worman, who has represented Great Britain in the women’s side as well as the Australian Firetails and Crocs, will be a Dragon this season. New Zealand players Aaron Neal and Lauchlan Robertson bring more international flavour to the roster while Kim Spragg returns from an Ultimate layoff to bring plenty of experience to the roster. Add Tom Dellar from the Melbourne Flames and new players Amanda Fung and Sarah Lee and this Adelaide roster has the opportunity to be much-improved in 2019.

Caro  Syd 2-1
Matt  Syd 3-0