Things were shaky early on in some testing Melbourne conditions, but the Freeze showed their experience and held on for a gritty 13-9 win in the teams opening fixture.
For Canberra’s coaches a lot of good can be taken out of the performance, with some ultra-chill offense and timely desperation D helping to stave off Perth during crucial points down the stretch.
Early moments were tense for the Freeze who were quickly staring at an 2-0 deficit, after it appeared that Perth had found their rhythm and groove in the rain and wind. But each time Perth skipped away, Canberra seemed to claw back which was the story of the first half.
Abbie Dawson’s immense layout D was rewarded, as her book-ends saw the Freeze get their first points of the comp and it seemed then they were up and running.
A spearhead Freeze zone look and some uncharacteristic Perth errors had Canberra back in the match at 2-2 until Perth regained control once again scoring and breaking to take a two-point lead. But the Freeze women came up huge as the choking zone look took effect – Hannah Monty poaching in all the right places to open the AUL Callahan account and once again the scores were tied up.
As rain cleared the freeze found their groove, pouncing on more unforced errors from the Power to take their first lead at 6-5.
Taking the half at 7-6 and with all the momentum, the telling thing was certainly blocks, with the Freeze generating 5 to Perth’s 1.
Getting a break at the start of the second half curtesy of a Jonno Holmes scooba finding Hannah Monty, Canberra soon had the buffer they needed. As the Power began to lift, the Freeze remained clinical on O with an ambitious Matt Dowle hammer impressively reeled in by Jamon ‘J Money’ Shay. Another Hannah Monty break and Canberra had control at 10-7, holding out to take a 13-9 win
What did we learn?
The Freeze Zone worked wonders. You could say the conditions were tough and it may not have been a clear indication, but the Freeze’s spearhead zone with a big male mark and two women clogging the lanes undoubtedly disrupted Perth’s offence, generating turns on more than one occasion. When it was broken through by the Power, the transition to match marking seemed smooth enough for the Freeze to persist with it. They certainly weren’t made to pay. It will be interesting to see if the Freeze continue this look throughout the AUL.
Freeze women are a force to be reckoned with. Scoring 9 of Canberra’s 13 goals, the Freeze women had a field day in the opening fixture. Hannah Monty bagged 4 to put herself in good company at the top of the AUL goals ladder, while Adelaide Dennis, Kim Spragg, Caitlin Grange and Abbie Dawson also got on the scoresheet. Abbie was also lethal on the defensive end, getting horizontal and finishing with two blocks.
The Vets still have it. Jonno Holmes and Matt Dowle are bad men. Matt racked up 4 assists and Jonno was solid in orchestrating the Freeze offence as the two had a field day, pulling out all the throws and making the Power pay.
The Freeze will take on the unbeaten Brisbane Breakers on Tuesday in for the match of the round, so be sure to get behind the Freeze!
Written by: Sam Armes
Photo by: Pat Thorpe