Flames net mixed night against Wolves
It was a night of contrasting fortunes for the Rockingham Flames at Joondalup’s HBF Arena last weekend, with the men enjoying a confidence-boosting six-point win over the Wolves, while an illness-riddled women’s side was dominated on every stat and swept away.
The top-of-the-table clash between the Flames women and the Lady Wolfpack was billed as a heavyweight bout between two sides considered among the early season championship contenders, but it was an anticlimactic affair, as illness deprived the Flames of Maddie Allen, while the influential Ella Kennedy and Chris Boag succumbed to injury and illness during the contest.
Without their main bigs in Allen and Boag, the Flames had no counter to the board dominance of the Wolves, who pulled down 63 rebounds to the Flames’ 33, led by Perth Lynx centre Kayla Steindl (18 points, 11 rebounds).
While the final score ballooned out to 54-84, coach Craig Reynolds was philosophical about his first defeat as an SBL head coach.
“One loss from our opening four games . . . I probably would have taken that at the start of the season and we’re still in a really good position with Darcee Garbin still to arrive,” he said. In the men’s contest, Caleb White, Josh Ritchart and Greg Hire, back at his old stamping ground, were instrumental as the Flames recorded a 98-92 win against a Wolves team stacked with talent.
Coach Ryan Petrik said small improvements week to week were just as important as the two points.
“It was a good win, but it’s round 6. We’ll certainly take it but as long as we improve by 2 or 3 per cent each week, that’s more important,” he said.
The Flames men improved to 5-2 on the season and moved into third place, behind Geraldton and Joondalup, while the women’s first loss saw them go 3-1 and slip to fourth.
The Flames face Lakeside Lightning at Lakeside Recreation Centre on Friday night, before hosting Cockburn Cougars at Mike Barnett Sports Complex on Saturday.
The women tip off at 6pm, with the men’s game at 8pm.
Rockingham’s Greg Hire finds himself sandwiched between Joondalup's Earnest Ross and Kevin Davis.