No fairytale starts for Northern Rays
YOU cannot have a Cinderella story without the belittling first act. The Northern Rays can attest to that.
Suffering a 66-32 defeat at the hands of Brisbane South Wildcats was not how the North Queensland Sapphire Series team intended to start their story, but it might give them much needed drive.
Head coach for the Rays Jillian Joyce said her women were passable in all areas, but small mistakes cost them dearly.
"That's probably why when you see the difference on the score board it might be surprising,” she said.
"I think we were 95 percent there on everything, but it's that 5 percent that kills you.
"That dropped ball that should have stuck, poorly placed pass at the end of a great play. That killed us and we had to continuously fight to get the ball back.”
Word of mouth had Wildcats as competition favourites and Saturday's performance cemented the early competition rumours.
Rays entered their season weakened without one of two Firebird allocated players Caitlyn Nevins, who missed the round due to health reasons. Rays vice-captain Brooke Williams was also absent as she was captaining the national Samoa side.
"I think being without (those two) showed in our performance,” Joyce said.
"We lacked a bit of structure in our centre court and had to keep trying different combinations to fill those gaps.
"I don't think we got there, but hopefully we have Caitlyn next week and come out firing.”
Joyce said the lack of depth in their core was where they lost most of their battles. Offensively and defensively, the Rays coach was impressed with her young side's ability to score goals and defend their post.
"I think inexperience on paper showed as inexperience on court if I'm being brutally honest,” Joyce said.
"We had a strong game plan and we strayed from that at times.”
Still, the 60 point hiding had its positives for the new semi-professional troop.
"We got better and stronger in this game and we'll come out next week and be more experienced,” Joyce said.
"We will be able to match it with any team. We matched it with this team for big chunks, we just let ourselves slip at times.”