The 2019 version of the Summer Classic proved to be the best yet for Sydney, with many highlights and an incredible run to the final. From the very first whistle, Sydney raced into a 4-0 half time lead against NSW rivals Newcastle, holding on for a solid 7-2 win in the opening match. It was a very impressive performance in the Redbacks first match of the year, and also being Matt’s debut.
A 9-5 loss next up against Glenelg had indicated that The Redbacks may begin to tire and struggle, however some inspirational team talks from Sam ‘Captain Turtle’ gave Sydney strength to band together and reel off 3 fantastic wins in a row.
The run started with a 17-3 demolition of Boomers – owing to some exceptionally clinical shooting throughout, in particular debutant Matt with 5 and Meena with 6. Backing up after the lunch break was always going to be difficult, however a solid 9-5 against Norths showed Sydney were up for the fight. Tania epitomised this fight, pushing through a hamstring issue to hustle for every ball and managed to grab two goals, working well with Sam who was a man mountain under the basket, and Nancy keeping some calm and order to the division on the outside.
Against Arista Red, The Redbacks again started well with a buzzer beater at the end of the first half from Graham giving Sydney a 5-3 lead. Despite some good moves between Dan and Graham, and multiple recycled possessions thanks to Sam’s rebounding, Arista brought the scores back level at 6 apiece with only a few minutes to play. Cometh the hour… Sam stepped up to score two late goals, including a buzzer beater to take the game away from Arista Red and leave The Redbacks guaranteed a spot in the final with a game to play.
With one pool game left against Arista Yellow before the final, and a tiring Sydney team carrying injuries and having no substitutes, The Redbacks took their foot of the gas, going down 18-6 in the pre-final warm-up against the same opponents. Straight after that game, the final was played on the opposing court. After the heavy defeat, Sydney mixed up the divisions to try and spark a renewed energy however the different combination was taken advantage of by the quality opposition in Arista, as they raced into a 6-1 half time lead. A tactical switch for the second half saw Nancy and Sarah playing in the same division for the first time in the day. With Nancy drawing defenders, Sarah capitalised on the extra space available to score three goals and help Sydney to finish strong.
Despite the loss in the final, the Sydney players can feel very proud of their efforts. With the goals shared around, it certainly was a great team performance and it bodes well for the remainder of 2019, all eyes being on the National Championships which will be held in NSW in October.
Daniel Berg, Graham Morris, Matt Stivala, Meena Subramanyam, Nancy Bek, Sam Turtle, Sarah Higginson, Tania Jorge
Sydney 7-2 Newcastle
Meena (3), Graham (3), Sam
Sydney 5-9 Glenelg
Graham (2), Nancy, Sam, Dan
Sydney 17-3 Boomers
Meena (6), Matt (5), Graham (2), Tania, Nancy, Sam, Dan
Sydney 9-5 Norths
Graham (4), Tania (2), Dan, Sam, Nancy
Sydney 8-6 Arista Red
Sam (2), Graham (2), Dan, Matt, Nancy, Meena
Sydney 6-18 Arista Yellow
Sam (2), Graham (2), Meena, Dan
Final: Sydney 5-11 Arista Yellow
Sarah (3), Dan, Graham