By Lance Jenkinson
Even the all-conquering City West Falcons are prone to an off night in the Victorian Netball League championship division.
The Falcons’ dreams of an undefeated season came crashing down with a 56-47 loss to North East Blaze at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Wednesday night.
After 15 straight wins to start the season and a 22-game winning streak dating back to July 17 last year, the Falcons were proven mere mortals as the Blaze had their way.
Falcons wing attack Maggie Lind admits it was a flat mood in her camp after the game, but she was not surprised with the way her side played on the night.
“It’s disappointing losing, especially in the way we did, because we didn’t play well,” Lind said. “You weren’t upset with it so much because we played so bad.
“I think it would’ve been a different mood if we played really well and then lost.
“The fact that we knew we played terrible and only lost by nine, that was the pleasing thing.”
City West was missing three internationals in Tahnysha Salanoa, Soli Ropati and Tharjini Sivalingam, who are playing at the world championships.
Lind was making no excuses for the Falcons loss though, prefering to focus on who was available.
“I don’t think it’s the reason we lost was because we didn’t have those players,” Lind said. “Me and Molly had a quiet night [in mid-court], so that wasn’t fantastic.
“We were also trying a few different things because we don’t want to be one dimensional come finals.
“Yes it might have worked sometimes and other times it wasn’t the right decision, but you have to try them, especially now coming into finals because finals is a new ball game.
“We’ve been to finals many times and we know how hard it is.
“People crack under pressure, things change, so we need to have those options up our sleeve, so I think it’s a good thing to try as many combinations as we can now.”
Lind believes the loss could be a blessing in disguise. The pressure of striving for an undefeated season is now gone and the game will act as a reminder that they can be beaten if they are not at their best.
“I think we needed a loss,” Lind said.
“We’ve had such an awesome season and there’s been close games but we haven’t really felt that pressure yet.
“In saying that, Blaze were really good and they didn’t make a lot of errors, so kudos to them.”
City West Falcons will be looking to strike back when it faces Ariels in the penultimate round of the season at SNHC tonight in the late 9.40pm game. A win over Ariels will be enough to secure the City West Falcons the minor premiership and top billing in the finals.