Jets tough it out over Comets

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Jets WA Brooke Gibson is marked by Sydney Rafferty.
Camera IconJets WA Brooke Gibson is marked by Sydney Rafferty. Credit: Justin Fris

The ECU Southwest Jets recorded a gritty 52-44 victory over the Curtin Hamersley Comets at the Eaton Recreation Centre on Sunday.

Despite missing several talented defenders, Jets coach Erin Culnane utilised her several returning offensive threats to great effect.

Culnane opted to rest star shooter Sloan Burton in the first quarter, which gave Giselle Turner the floor to execute inside the circle.

Taylor’s height proved troublesome for Comets goalkeeper Chelsea Bartlett early on, while at the other end, Comets goal shooter Sarah East was fed plenty of quality ball.

Both sides were level 14-all at quarter time, with Burton replacing Taylor in a bid to freshen things up.

Culnane ramped up her enthusiasm from the sideline as the Jets momentarily struggled offensively, with their ball use.

The visitors managed to get repeat entries and bolted out to a five-goal lead midway during the second quarter and it appeared ominous for the home side.

Aware of the situation, Burton lifted her intensity and got her side back in the contest.

Leading 26-25 at half time, Culnane then produced another coaching masterstroke by switching Burton to goal attack and Millman into goal shooter.

This manoeuvre worked brilliantly, as the Comets defenders were unable to handle Millman’s superior positioning and patience when in possession.

At the other end, East became starved of opportunities, such was the uncompromising nature of the youthful Jets defence.

Post-game, Culnane told the Bunbury Herald that she was pleased with how Millman and Burton worked together.

“They haven’t had an opportunity to play together even though we are at the end of the first round of fixtures,” she said.

“So I was a bit nervous about how that would go but I think that Lisa Millman is a very smart player and she can work with anyone because of her experience and she reads the play so well.

“I also though their very tall defenders would struggle on a moving and smart player like Lisa and it did pay dividends.”

Although pleased with a win which keeps the Jets two points out of the top four, Culnane believes her side can still improve.

“The byline for the group into this game for us was ‘enough excuses — the buck stops with us’,” Culnane said. “Whether we had half of our defence line away or not, we had to be the ones that stop the rot and turn the ball around.”

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