2013 In Review
The National League men started the season with hopes of following on from their NSW Metro M1 summer competition victory. With the addition of London Olympian Johnno Cotterill the boys looked to make their mark in this year’s competition.
The season opened with wins over Balmain and Cronulla, however their first real test was that of the reigning premiers the Fremantle Mariners. In the first game the Lions went down early 6-1 but rallied to force a penalty shoot-out, unfortunately losing 14-15. The second game did not see a better result as the men went down 8-11.
The boys then faced another tough challenge from their Queensland rivals KFC Breakers where they split the games one win each. The men then played Cronulla beating them convincingly 16-10 and then going on to beat the Drummoyne Devils at their home pool 7-6.
The Lions then went into a middle-of-the-season slump, losing five consecutive games against key teams including Wests, Victoria & Brisbane. After this run of poor form the boys were in need of wins and were victorious against the Adelaide Jets.
After a poor first half of the season the Lions needed to win a minimum four from their last 6 games to keep their finals hopes alive. The first match of this tough road was the home game against Wests, where the men performed poorly and were unable to execute on opportunities, eventually going down 6-10. The next day saw them take on the Hunter Hurricanes, which is always a tough match at Lampton Pool in Newcastle. The Lions went down early and were always trying to play catch-up after letting in several easy goals in the second and third quarters. The Lions did manage to grab the lead at one point in the fourth quarter but were unable to execute in defense and Hunter capitalised on poor communication and defensive play, eventually taking the win from the Lions 8-9.
The men then returned home for their final four matches of the season, however, were unable to accomplish their goal of winning four of their last six matches after losing the opening match to UWA Torpedoes 9-11. This marked the end of the Lions’ finals campaign for the 2013 NL season and, with the pressure off, they bounced back beating the Torpedoes 11-6 in a match that was in stark contrast to the day before.
The Lions ended their season on a positive note winning their last two matches against Balmain 8-4 and reversing their luck against Hunter winning a thrilling season closer 13-11 to knock Hunter out of the finals series.
Overall it was a disappointing National League campaign for the Lions in 2013 as they were unable to win close games and convert in pressure situations. While it was a season marred by the sickness of Johnno Cotterill and injuries to key players, this was no excuse for poor team play and a lack of offensive and defensive cohesion.
The Lions will look to rebound in next year’s campaign and show the rest of the competition how Lions fight!