Rays start 2021 with a bang

Brooke Ellis breaks away from the pack for the Stingrays. 229039 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Nick Creely

The Dandenong Stingrays Girls were made to wait for their first appearance in 2021, but it was worthwhile.

After Victoria’s lockdown last week, and an opening round bye, the Stingrays kicked off their NAB League season with a 10-point win against the Western Jets at Bluescope Recreation Reserve in Hastings on Saturday afternoon, flicking the switch after half-time in an impressive display.

It was a closely-fought affair in the first half, with the Stingrays holding on to a four-point lead at quarter-time after a goal in the opening minutes from Emily Shepherd set the tone.

The Jets bounced back in the second term to wrestle back the momentum, kicking straight to boot two goals to one for the quarter.

But, like good sides do, the Stingrays simply flicked the switch in a defining third term, completely dominating the Jets in an impressive display.

Keeping the visitors scoreless, the Stingrays – courtesy of goals to Shepherd, Amber Clark and Hayley Monk – got the match-winning break.

Holding up superbly defensively, the Stingrays kept the Jets at bay in the final term as the visitors charged home, with a vital four-term major from Jemma Radford ensuring the home side wouldn’t stumble.

There was plenty to like for the ‘Rays, with Shepherd booting two goals to be a major threat, Narre North Foxes product Amber Clarke also snagged two and showcased some impressive ability, while Brooke Smith, Charley Ryan, speedster Mackenzie Eardley and co-captain Abbey Jordan were named in the best.

Round 4 on Sunday will see the Stingrays take on GWV Rebels at MARS Stadium.

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