City turns up the Heat to defeat St Therese

CITY Heat have come away with a nail-biting five-goal win over St Therese to remain undefeated in the 2022/23 M-League Men’s Premier League season. After a strong start, the 2-0 Heat had to overcome a third quarter fightback from the reigning premiers to steady and produced a terrific fourth quarter defensive effort to win, 42-37.

City Heat took the early advantage out on Court 4, racing away to a 15-9 lead in the opening term. Cameron Allum (10 goals) and Brodie McCleish (five) were continuing their great form inside the circle, while Alistair Punshon and Josh Byron were strong in defence. St Therese brought on Tristan Comans for the second term, replacing Harrison Lefebure in centre, and the side did seem to stem the flow. The Heat still increased their lead by one to take a seven-goal buffer into the main break.

City Heat maintained its starting seven throughout the match, and though Lefebure switched with Comans again for the second half, the reigning premiers had found their groove. Minus Australian representative Riley Richardson who would normally take the centre bib, the likes of Connor Lilly (eight third quarter goals) and Jayden Cowling (wing attack) were starting to fire on all cylinders. To that point, Lilly had uncharacteristically only managed the six goals, but really came alive in the premiership quarter.

St Therese incredibly drew within a goal at the final break, off the back of a 13-5 third term. Neither team made a change heading into the last, but the Heat were able to steady, and of the back of a seven-goal quarter from Allum, put up 10 goals to six. The work of Punshon and Byron to keep the dangerous St Therese outfit of Lilly and Tom Hardwick to just six goals for the quarter was ultra-impressive, and showcased why the Heat are a genuine title contender.

Not only did the Heat have Allum up one end and Punshon down the other, but Jake Noonan working hard through centre covering a lot of ground and making the most of Richardson’s absence in the midcourt. Allum finished with 29 goals as McCleish shot 13. By contrast, Hardwick (19) and Lilly (18) shared the load, but the two Heat defenders were incredible. The midcourt of Noonan, Simon Cartwright and Michael Dower applied pressure further up the court during the 42-37 victory.

In other results, the Netblacks finally got on the board at the first time of asking, taking care of fellow winless side Darebin Dragons by 15 goals, 62-47. The clash corresponded with the return of Deepak Patu into centre and that proved to work perfectively, providing voice and deadly accurate passes into shooter Junior Levi. While Levi put up 36 goals in the first half – and 48 for the match before coming off – Patu was a key reason the Netblacks got up. Kai Suzuki-McGauran was also impressive in the win, while Jake Schuster was superb in goal defence, and also snuck into centre for the second term to give Patu a rest. Steve McCallum only played a half but was impressive in that half at wing attack for the Dragons.

On the next court to that clash, Altona Falcons took care of Ariels without too much fuss, running away 20-goal victors. In a fairly comprehensive clash, the Falcons won all four quarters, with the first three keeping the Ariels to just eight goals in each, while adding 14, 12 and 16 goals respectively. Luke Marko Rawlings was a standout in goal shooter, putting up 32 goals in the win, with wing attack Adam Franz also impressive. Sam Dugan and Andrew Lewis shut down the Ariels’ attacking end in the first half to also make their impact on the match. For Ariels, Dan Stone was handy in goal defence then went forward to score 10 goals in the last quarter, while Josh Clavarino was able to rotate between both shooting positions and score 16 goals in three quarters.

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