In their opening home game of the season, the Frankston RSL Blues unveiled their new-look side. Unfortunately for Andrew Harms’ side, they ran into a red-hot Nunawading Spectres who held off every challenge thrown at them to steal an 84-91 road win.
Playing in his 100th SEABL game, Captain Jake Macauley led from the front in scoring 23 points. New import Aaron Ross continued his impressive start to the season in posting a team-best 27 points and 12 rebounds but it was not enough to get the Blues their first win of the season.
The Spectres opened the game on fire and quickly established an early lead. Yet behind some good shooting from Macauley and Rhys Carter, the Blues fought back to keep things close. Yet the visitors continued to score at will behind the hot-hand of Tom Wright who piled on 18 first half points as the Spectres drained 7-13 three-pointers to lead by 17 at half time.
Coming out after the break with renewed energy and purpose, the Blues owned the third period. Exhibition greater intensity and cohesion, they turned defensive into offense to get back into the game. Ross, who was a consistent presence all game, stepped up with some big plays, while Macauley was making open jumpers. In a workmanlike quarter, the Blues outscored the Spectres 24-15, closing the margin to just 8 points.
While the Blues’ energy and great team play continued, the experience and depth of the Spectres was evident. Import Sam Muldrow (9 points and 4 rebounds) who relatively quiet offensively came to life late with a big block at one end followed by a triple at the other as the Blues mounted one final charge. However while the Blues looked like they may challenge for the lead, the visitors responded with big plays of their own for a narrow 7 point win.
Tom Wright was exceptional for Nunawading, pouring in a game-high 31 points on 12-19 shooting including 4-5 from long-range. He was one of five players to score in double figures for the Spectres who shot 54.5% from the field and a sizzling 50% from beyond the arc.
The Blues made Nunawading work extremely hard for their road win, matching the visitors in almost every statistical category and on the scoreboard. The performance is sure to provide Harms with some optimism ahead of their big ANZAC Day home clash with rivals Dandenong as they search for their elusive first win of the season.