Canberra Freeze defeated Adelaide Dragons 13-12 on Saturday.Despite not picking up that evasive first win, it was Adelaide’s best team game.
The Dragons had a strong start, with Joel Pillar-Rogers finding Jonothan Warren-White for the opening score. A huge sprint from Brett Middleton and a deep throw overhead picked up their second goal, showing off that vaunted long game we’ve seen only glimpses of.
Pillar-Rogers starred early, getting the first assists. Canberra continued to match, trading in the early stages, until Adelaide jumped to a 7-5 lead at half-time.
Despite the rain picking up, Canberra came out firing to start the second term, jumping to an 8-7 lead.
The Freeze took a three-goal lead as they reached match point. Not done yet, Adelaide scored three on the trot to tie it at 12-12, but Canberra finished it off after Pillar-Rogers’ pass was intercepted by Jamon Shay. Shay quickly passed it Matt Dowle to close out the match.
Despite the error, Pillar-Rogers was one of the best players out there today, and the game wouldn’t have been as close without him.
Jonothan Warren-White had a couple of quiet games, so it was good to see him have an impact again.
Shannon Bubb and Sally Yu were crucial in the midfield, consistently cutting and getting open, and just generally getting the Dragons out of trouble.
Brett Middleton had another good defensive game again, getting a block and forcing a couple of turns. He was quite effective on offense, providing short options and scoring two goals.
Ailsa Enting-Hawke worked well with Pillar-Rogers. She was safe and consistent and a necessity for the Dragons to get so close to winning.
Overall for the season, there were plenty of bright spots for the Dragons to continue to build off next year. Pillar-Rogers dominated the assist stats and proved he is still a weapon with the disc.
Brett Middleton was consistent throughout the League, getting big blocks in nearly all games and proving he’s still one of the top defenders in the country. Loughlin Murphy was a great target deep throughout the season, and Bubb and Yu were crucial midfield units that seemed to never stop running.
All in all, a disappointing winless season for the Dragons, but moments of magic for Adelaide fans to get behind next season.
Written by: Chris Dastoor
Photography: Mark Milne