The AUL has been put on notice by a rampant Sydney Suns outfit that was simply too classy for Adelaide in their 3-0 victory in round one.
The Suns showed why they have been earmarked as championship favourites through slick disc movement, rugged defence and their ability to seize on every opportunity presented to them.
Sydney claimed all four competition points with 8-4, 8-3 and 6-5 set wins with the score line reflecting their dominance. The score line did not reflect Adelaide’s efforts, though, who toiled hard but were simply outclassed by the Suns on the day.
While Adelaide lost, they can take heart from their ability to adapt – switching to a zone defence that troubled the Suns and almost resulted in a third set win.
Sydney push clear late in first set
Both teams signalled their intent to attack from range early, with Mark Evans for Sydney and Sean Davis for Adelaide both scoring two quick goals from long passes as the scores were locked up at 2-2 after six minutes of play.
Evans had his hat trick after just seven minutes of play to nudge Sydney ahead and then the first turnover of a high-quality match allowed veteran Tom Rogacki to work the disc downfield, Rosie Dawson scoring to push Sydney out to a 4-2 lead.
A long-range Ash Evans huck found Mark Evans again, who was finding himself in space with ease, and then Dawson grabbed her second as Sydney seized control of the set at 6-2
It was clinical work by the Suns, who capitalised on every Dragons error but No.1 women’s draft pick Di Worman showed her skills with two excellent throws to put Aaron Neal and Michael Kelly over.
In the end though, the class of Sydney shone through as they claimed the set 8-4 with a Dani Alexander goal the icing on the cake.
Dominant Suns claim match in the second set
Adelaide was looking to start strongly but instead another turnover led to a Kya Wiya goal and they were immediately on the back foot.
Mark Evans had his fingerprints all over the game, with a deflection on the defensive end and then an intercept that led to an Ash Evans goal and a 2-0 lead.
As the Adelaide errors mounted up, Sydney shot out to a 3-0 lead through David Andrews before Sean Davis pegged one back for the Dragons.
Sydney piled on three more goals – Dani Alexander grabbing a brace – as the Suns stamped their authority on the set.
The Dragons, starved of possession, refused to give in though as an animated Michaela Dunmall completed an impressive attacking raid.
Sydney put the set beyond doubt with further goals to Tom Rogacki and Sarah Wentworth, but Adelaide had the final say with a superb pass from Kim Spragg finding Amanda Fung.
Adelaide heartbreak as Suns steal the final set
Excellent defence from the Dragons held the Suns out in the early exchanges and it was Sally Yu who crossed for Adelaide to give them an early 1-0 lead in the third set.
It was sustained defence from Adelaide, rewarded with two turnovers before Lauchlan Robertson put a diving Dunmall over to hand the Dragons a 2-0 advantage.
Mark Evans and Sarah Perkins quickly locked the scores up and the set turned into a point-for-point arm wrestle.
Michael Kelly had a chance to steal the set win for Adelaide, but the disc spilled loose as he landed heavily diving for the goal.
And Sydney piled on the pain, scoring through Rosie Dawson to secure all three sets and the four championship points.