The (One-Arm) Wrap – NQL Round 2 Division 2

The second competitive round of NQL saw most teams play against the last of their divisional opponents, giving us a very good idea of where each team stands. QA Today asked some of our readers to talk about some of the games they participated in – as players, referees, or even just spectating – to give the rest of the community a glimpse of just how close the competition is in each Division. Here are some of the games in Division Two, you can read all about Division One here.

The Macarthur Weasleys beat us to the punch and have already published an article about their games for the day, which you can find here.

University of Sydney Unbreakables 250 – 80* University of Sydney Unforgiveables

Anita Granger – University of Sydney Unforgiveables (with additional reporting from Cameron Caccamo)

Despite coming from the same club, the USyd Unbreakables did not take it easy on their Unforgivable stablemates, using defensive seeking to ensure a maximum points differential win in their quest to top Division 2.

The Unbreakables did not have a perfect start, with two quick Unforgiveable goals leading to a 20-all scoreline early in the game. The depth of the Unbreakable squad started to show soon however – with dynamic beater pairing Haydn Johanssen and Julia Baker giving the Unbreakables plenty of breathing space in the chaser game and leading to quick points.

The Beating game was solid across the park – the Unforgiveables had the experienced Henry Fair and Lilian Thai leading from the front, with newer players like Darryl Yip showing some real promise early on in the season. Meanwhile, the much vaunted Beating corp from the Unbreakables showed that even without Harry Huang (lost to a Unspeakables promotion), they have plenty of star power with Selina Williamson, Ashan Abey and Isabelle Pesa among others ready to go.

The Unforgiveables had several players pull out just before the tournament, and as the game wore on and players tired out this became a real weakness. An experienced snitch in UNSW’s Chris Rock and solid defensive seeking from many Unbreakables lead to an almost 40-minute game until I finally got the better of him. Many of the Unbreakables’ goals came from having unmarked chasers like Ava McConnell and Baldeep “Bee” Uppal standing by hoops at the right time – with a full squad, the Unforgiveables can certainly look forward to a close encounter for a full game next time around.

Phillip Hamilton – University of NSW Snapes on a Plane (HR for this game)

I was excited to HR USYD B vs C. However, I wasn’t impressed when I found their uniforms were incredibly similar (guys, can one of you go like white or something). It appeared from the start that it was going to be a clean game. These guys play each other all the time and are all buddies so they are going to be nice, right? Apparently not…

While the first 10 minutes went by without much of a stopping in play, it soon changed. From memory, while there were 37 minutes of play time (Chris Rock being an uncatchable snitch), the game lasted 51 minutes because of all the stoppages in play. Many, many times I found myself pulling out a golden rectangle from my pocket. I never extracted a scarlet card though. USYD B ended up wining by some colossal score which I can’t quite remember, but it was very one sided (though to blow my own trumpet, UNSW beat USYD C by more and a quick public kudos for the new recruit Mark Thorsby for scoring 6 goals in a row).

Macarthur Weasleys 150* – 20 Wollongong Warriors

Krystina Semmler – Wollongong Warriors

We knew the Weasleys needed to keep their spot on top of the ladder, so they wouldn’t be going easy on us. After a brief period of uncharacteristic sloppy quaffle play by the Weasleys, which allowed us to score a couple of times, they really kicked it up a notch and started bowling us down. Defence was a major factor in this game for us. Whatever we were doing, it wasn’t working. They had bludger control almost 90% of the time, and were just mowing through us to score goal after goal. Something needed to change. We decided to hold a beater back on hoops. This was a controversial decision within the team but we didn’t have time to discuss it. But it worked. Immediately, their play slowed down and we were able to get a man-on-man defence strategy happening. I was impressed with our ability to change tactics on the fly and still work cohesively.

Macarthur Weasleys 100* – 40 University of NSW Snapes on a Plane

Phillip Hamilton – University of NSW Snapes on a Plane

The Weasleys beat us 100*-40. They are undefeated and I think have the best chance of being moved up to Division 1. Of particular note is Michael Moustakas (keeper). He near impossible to stop once he has the quaffle in his hands (if the Weasleys have bludger control) –  as I had made a large point of in the Snapes leadership pre-tournament strategising – and the Snapes managed to claw back the game when he was in the sub-box. That said, the Weasleys are becoming very close knit from what I can observe and their high attendance at training is quite advantageous.

This was the first time this year I have really had a chance to observe the Weasley game and they are powerful and far, far better than the team they were at MidWinter 2017, where I played 1.5 matches for them before I hyperextended my knee (yeah, I screamed a lot). It also gave me a chance to observe my own team, which is something like 70-80% new recruits, play against a formidable team. Judging by the way we played, I think that by the time QUAFL rolls around UNSW are also going to be a formidable team at the Div 2 level. Our new players just need experience.

 Hills QC/South West Horntails 150* – 30 Wollongong Warriors

Krystina Semmler – Wollongong Warriors

If we’ve learned anything from the past, the first game always sucks. It’s a combination of nerves, stiff muscles, and “suddenly forgetting how to play as a team” syndrome. However, this was not the case for our 9am match with HiHo. The Warriors started out strong, scoring the first goal of the match. And despite losing one of our stronger players early on, we kept the pressure on to score twice more. While a win wasn’t in the cards for us this round with HiHo’s strong beater game, we played hard and didn’t give up. We were very impressed with our performance and how far we’ve come as a team since the March/April friendlies!

University of Sydney Unbreakables 220*- 40 Wollongong Warriors

Krystina Semmler – Wollongong Warriors

Despite being our highest scoring game of the round, the Unbreakables proved why they’re sitting second on the ladder. Another team that needed points on the ladder, their beaters held off our seekers to stretch the game out past 30 minutes – our longest game of the season – so they were able to score as many points as possible. As a team with mostly new players, we held our own and our defence was excellent, sending them circling around the hoops, looking for openings.