In a nutshell
A late goalscoring blitz by star shooter Kaylin van Greunen wasn’t quite enough bring home the bacon for Bond's Sapphire team who went down to Carina Leagues Tigers by a solitary goal in an absolute heartstopper.
The Ruby team was disappointing in their first defeat in a month. Still, they'll learn plenty from a tough outing against the competition benchmark.
How it unfolded
Sapphire: A minute more and things could have been oh-so-different for a brave Bull Sharks outfit who couldn’t help but rue a second-quarter lapse.
That said, Bond had a pretty good reason to be rattled.
After a strong start underlined by exceptional defensive hustle, play was brought to a standstill halfway through the second term after a sickening ‘friendly fire’ head clash between midcourters Monique Piunti and Allanah Penny.
Piunti somehow managed to emerge unscathed, but Penny - who'd been exceptional in the game’s early moments - suffered a significant concussion and took no further part in the game.
The Tigers regrouped quickest after the delay and shot out to a strong lead.
But to the Bull Sharks’ credit they fought it out to the last, and their desperation in the game’s closing moments had to be seen to be believed with Kaylin van Greunen bagging four goals in a minute to almost steal an unimaginable win.
Coach Bec Stower was understandably disappointed but extremely proud of her squad.
"I have often said I would rather lose by 100 than 1, but that was not the case last night,” she said.
“I was very proud of the team’s effort to stay in the game and not let it get away from them. I think we have had some major growth in this area mentally which will stand us in good stead moving into the next phase of the competition.
"We had opportunities to take this game. We turned over plenty of ball with our full court defensive pressure, we just needed to capitalise in attack.”
She said Maddi Ryan had her best game for the season and her pressure had forced many dropped balls and turnovers. The coach also praised the performances of Ocean Karekare and Van Gruenen who won her duel with Firebird training partner Isabelle Shearer.
“She (Ryan) implemented everything we asked of her,” Stower said.
“I asked her to not get caught up in the uncontrollables, which could have derailed her, but she stuck to the processes and I believe came out on top.”
"Ocean came on into WD and immediately made an impact and continued to do so with excellent defensive pressure and an outstanding attack transition.
"And Kaylin was again very strong, she’s growing each week with the experience and bringing fantastic scoring power. She completely dominated in the circle against Isabelle Shearer.”
Ruby: Bond faced last year’s champion and this season’s clear competition favourite, and in a sense the game went to script. The Tigers dominated the first half of the game, but even though Bond fought it out to the bitter end against a formidable opponent, coach Kim Boland couldn’t help but be left a little irritated by her team’s flat start.
“A super-disappointing performance from our Ruby team,” she said.
“We simply didn't show up to play in the first half of the game yesterday and we were absolutely schooled by a very experienced Tigers team."
Boland conceded the side showed glimpses, but the effort was too inconsistent.
“If we can take a positive from the game, it’s that we were able to reduce the margin and keep the Tigers from scoring above 60 goals,” she said.
“We were at one point of the game down by 25 goals, however we won the fourth quarter and reduced the margin to 16. Our goalkeeper Harriet Nicholson and our shooter Jorja Gisinger put in solid performances."
Sapphire L 50-51
Ruby L 42-48