Ruby Series Grand Final: Tigers claw their way to convincing win over Jets

The Carina Leagues Club Tigers have claimed the Ruby Series premiership in convincing fashion, leading the scoreboard for the entire match and defeating a consistently determined Jets Netball team, 51 – 36.

The match delivered high-calibre netball from both sides, but in the end it was the accuracy of the shooters, 74 per cent for the Tigers compared with 67 per cent from the Jets, that was the decider. Turnovers came regularly in the form of Jets rebounds that were scooped up by the Tigers and converted.

The Tigers got away to a very strong start and within five minutes were 6 – 2 ahead. From the early stages, as both teams worked to find a rhythm, Tigers emerged more confident and able to seize upon every opportunity. They were composed where the Jets allowed grand final jitters to sneak in.

Goaler Poppy Larson (GS) delivered for the Tigers in the early minutes, with her long-range shooting and ability to dance around her skilled and accomplished Jets defenders Skye Smith (GD) and Emily Gilbert (GK). Larson set the tone for the strong and stable attack throughout the match.

Emily Gage (GA) delivered some equally strong shooting, matching Larson’s 76 per cent for the match, although her load was lighter, shooting 16 from 21, compared with Larson’s 32 from 42.

As the first quarter progressed, the Tigers demonstrated greater patience, happy to pass the ball around the mid-court waiting for space to open up or a player to get into position. In contrast, Jets were forcing the ball into players who did not have clear space, often resulting in a turnover or a whistle.

Gilbert (GK), found her way into the match and towards the end of the first quarter was matching up well with Larson, working to stem the flow of goals from Larson’s steady hands that contributed to an 8-goal lead to the Tigers as the first quarter ended 15-7.

Gilbert was a finalist for the Ruby Series MVP Award and as the game progressed, she was able to demonstrate her elite skills.

The Jets were achieving some good connections through the mid-court and Lucy Walker (WA), in particular, was achieving good feeds into the circle, but once there, the goalers were struggling to achieve a high conversion rate.

In the second quarter the Jets lifted their defensive pressure. But for everything they tried, the Tigers had an answer.

Tasmin James (WD) made some significant contributions, taking a stunning intercept when Briony Payne (GS) passed to Lucy Walker (WA) in an attempt to get closer to the post. James plucked the ball out of the air and was able to send it down the court in three passes to be converted by a waiting Tigers attack unit.

Shelley Rosanoff (Tigers, GD) was effective in the circle, limiting Sam Ryan (Jets, GA) and causing chaos in the Jets circle.

The half time score was 27 – 16 to the Tigers.

Even though the Tigers were building a strong lead, the third quarter was an impressive display of determination from the Jets as they worked to remain within touch of the Tigers. There was no capitulation in view, no matter how hard the Tigers pressed for it.

The Jets went on to win the third quarter, scoring 12 goals to the Tigers 10.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the question was whether the Jets could continue their ascendancy and claw back the Tigers’ lead.

Both sides kept the pace of play throughout the fourth quarter. But whenever the Jets would ramp up intensity and get the ball into their attack end, the Tigers would fight back hard and deny the Jets any opportunity to claw their way back into the match.

As the clock ran down, in the final few minutes, the Jets eased their foot off the pedal a little and the Tigers were able to pull away.

The full-time score was 51 – 36.

Quarter by quarter:

Q1: Tigers 15 – Jets 7

Q2: Tigers 12 – Jets 9

Q3: Tigers 10 – Jets 12

Q4: Tigers 14 – Jets 8