The Melbourne Flames took on Perth Power in the round five game and overcame a late comeback attempt to win on double-game point.
In what was a tight battle between the league favorites and underdogs, the Perth outfit gave the Flames a run for their money and took the game to 13-12.
All credit to the Perth Power, they were the team that looked closest to beating the Flames in the League, and almost did so with an amazing late comeback attempt.
In her pre-game interview, Flames coach Anna Rogacki pointed out that Perth will be no pushover, identifying the various strengths of both their women and men and singling out certain players that they would be looking to shut down.
She said, “I think their girls, we’ll want to have a good look at them. We’ll want to shut down Emilya Toney. She’s a very handy player, super quick and a really unbelievable receiver, so we’ll to shut her down for sure.”
“They’ve also got Beck on there as well, just strong females I think on that team. Like strong bodied, strong female players on that team that we’ll look to shut down; and some very handy men, more all rounded men, not so much that big one role impact player,” she added.
Rogacki also emphasized the importance of going into the game with full intensity and maintaining it throughout.
She said, “A game to 13, there’s no room for ever taking your foot off the pedal. You have to be inside that game the whole time, I find, because it can sneak up on you, that game to 13. So I always think we have to be really careful.”
Her words proved true as the Flames felt the consequences of letting their foot off the pedal and almost paid dearly for it. The Flames began the game on upwind offense but failed to start with a bang, letting Perth get a break for the first point.
With the presence of rain and strong winds, the Power chucked on a zone defense and it worked well against the Flames, forcing Melbourne to concede turnovers and throwaways early on. Perth capitalised on these early mistakes to extend their lead over the Flames.
Both teams were looking to hit their deep options, but a combination of the windy conditions as well as good defensive efforts from both sides meant they had little success.
There were plenty of deep shots, throwaways and drops from both sides as the Flames dug deep and clawed their way back into the game; evening up the scores to 4-4. The teams traded points before a brilliant layout catch in the end zone by Cat Phillips, assisted by Tom Deller, gave the Flames their first lead of the game at 6-5.
The Flames would come out for the second half raring to go as their tight defense allowed Lochlan Wise to come up with an interception before a quick one-two movement between him and Rogacki saw Wise scoring a break point and establishing a two point lead.
But Perth would not let up; Kaliviotis was a constant offensive threat working together with Murray-Yong to move the disc middle of the field. They fought their way back with high intensity defense and brought the score level at 9-9.
With the tide appearing to turn against the Flames’ favour, Seb Barr sent a deep shot straight from the pull to find Phillips in the end zone to take the game to universe point.
As if double-game points themselves are not exciting enough, this one had it all.
A huge layout save from Masarei, followed by an immediate overthrow. A big Rogacki deep shot that couldn’t find a horizontal Tom Deller. A deep shot to Alex Shepherd that didn’t come off. A Lochie Wise throwaway, a textbook falcon, and a pack grab to win it.
In her post match interview, Flames’ player Georgia Egan-Griffiths summed up the game perfectly. “It was a great game, there was rain, there was wind, there was sun. There was a bit of everything in terms of conditions. A few pivotal plays on double-game point,” she said.
She also took the moment to relive and enjoy the moment in game where she got up over her Perth Power opponent, friend and housemate, Peter Eley.
“I took a huge grab over him, that was a good one. He didn’t even get off the ground, I don’t know what happened but I won’t let him forget that one,” she said.
The Flames can now take their perfect record in the League into the Grand Final game. They play the Sydney Suns, who they beat comfortably in their first round, this Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.
Written by: Alex Tsui
Photography: Mark Milne