The Suns were victorious against the Adelaide-Dragons last night, 13-5, earning the largest margin of the League so far with a dominant, classy display.
Gusts whipped across the field and made every throw difficult but, ultimately, it was Sydney that excelled in the unfavorable conditions.
Similar to their previous game against the Perth Power, Sydney took away a lot of Adelaide’s undercuts. Many turnovers were generated by this defense, as the Dragons were forced to look at their well-marked deep options. Huck after huck went up and many of them got picked up by the wind, bobbling unpredictably, making it difficult for Adelaide’s receivers to read.
And even if the throw did make the distance, Adelaide’s receivers then had to shake off their speedy Sydney defenders. A few of the Dragons hucks ended with a bid in the Suns favour.
For example, early in the game, Deborah Lee was matched up on Shannon Bubb. As the disc landed in the hands of Joel Pillar-Rogers, Dani Alexander made a scrambling switch call and Lee finds herself chasing down a full-speed Anna Roesler. Pillar-Rogers launches a flick huck, but Lee reads the disc perfectly and gets herself a block to save the goal.
Peter Blakeley was quick to follow suit. Alex Britten-Jones released a backhand huck meant for Loughlin Murphy. Blakeley peeled off the back of the stack and ran shoulder to shoulder with Murphy. Both men laid out, and Blakeley managed to get his hand on the disc first, despite the height difference, generating yet another block for the Suns.
The Suns made light work of the Dragons turnovers and short pulls as they converted Adelaide’s mistakes into points.
By now, no one should be surprised by the Sun’s ability throw in the wind, regardless of its direction. But this game, they looked especially calm and steady.
Sydney’s speed and range were already stretching Adelaide thin, and they weren’t afraid to take their offence slow. They swung the disc patiently and used the width of the field, forcing open the Dragons defense. With lanes opening up, the cutters in purple had it easy and the Suns used all their players to full effect.
Eunice Cheung got her first assist of the tournament. After a contested stall out call and multiple swings, Neild dumped the disc to Cheung. He cut along the front of the end zone and Cheung throws a lofty, fat side flick. Murphy jumped to contest the throw, but Neild got there a fraction of a second earlier and brought the disc down.
Dani Alexander scored two goals in almost identical fashion. Both plays start with Tulett and Evans working the disc between themselves until Evans found enough space to huck it upwind to Michael Thomas. Alexander raced to the end zone and finished the game with two goals to her name.
I hope the Suns continue playing like this – generating blocks with a bracket style kind of defense and using all of their players on the offense. If they can keep up this dominance and class they’ll earn a spot in the top two and have a real chance of being the inaugural AUL champion.
Sydney take on the Canberra Freeze in round four of the AUL on the 2nd of October.
Written by: Michael Vo
Photography: Pat Thorpe