The Perth Power have come within inches of toppling the high-flying Melbourne Flames, eventually going down 13-12.
With the scores tied at 12 apiece, Perth had the perfect chance to steal a huge upset win. Monte Maserie laid out brilliantly to keep the disc alive but his final pass fell just out of reach of a diving Rachel Deluca.
At the other end, Melbourne’s Tom Deller had the privilege of scoring the winning goal. He used all of his 190cm frame and then some to rise above Alex Shepherd and Masarei to snatch a high backhand from Tom Rogacki.
After the match, Deluca described the thriller as one her “favourite games of frisbee”.
“To come down to double game point was a tough loss, but really happy with how we played. Melbourne Flames bringing it back and taking it double game point was really exciting,” Deluca said.
When she was asked to break down the final point of the game, Deluca decided to highlight one of the funnier moments.
“We had a turnover and I think Shep (Alex Shepherd) picked it up and it was looking good. Nice backhand to Toffa (Chris Kaliviotis) and I was like ‘Oh, he’s going to catch it’ and I think he fell and hit his head with it instead.
“Not the way that you’re meant to catch a frisbee.”
But you have to give credit to Kaliviotis, he had a cracking game, finishing with three goals. Deluca and Masarei also grabbed two each.
It was wild and windy for most of the game. Horrible conditions for Ultimate, but in many ways the perfect conditions for a Perth upset. The wind acted as another defender for both sides and it played havoc with Melbourne’s passing early.
The Power were without Alex Gan and Ash Martens, but that didn’t stop them playing some razor sharp Ultimate to streak away to a 4-1 lead.
Perth also moved well as a unit in defence as they implemented an aggressive zone, which severely limited Melbourne’s options in the the middle lane of the field. They piled on the pressure and capitalised on the opposition’s mistakes, but they started to make some execution errors of their own.
Three quick scores to the Flames locked it up at 4-all and they took the half 7-6.
Melbourne’s first half goals included an absolute ripper of a catch from Cat Phillips. Tom Deller shot a forehand which looked to have a bit too much gas, but Phillips executed an incredible layout to grab the disc in two hands just above the ground.
The second half was a see-sawing contest with neither side able to get more than two points ahead.
Masarei had the tough assignment of marking Tom Rogacki and his hard work was rewarded when he snagged a layout goal of his own early in the second period.
Despite trailing Perth towards the end, the Flames hit back quickly through Phillips and Deller killed off the hopes of an upset with a sudden death pack grab.
In the end it’s an encouraging result for the Power. Yes, it’s a loss, but Perth will take a lot from pushing the best side in the competition right to the brink. That’s a pretty good note to end their season on, and will give them hope of doing one better next year.
Written by: Hosea Luy
Photography: Mark Milne