Gemini 20, 2048, 2078
To defend one’s championship title requires one’s defence to be just as good if not better than in the previous year. And balanced defence was a calling card for the Marineris Comets led by Defender of the year Stephen Liu.
Yet Liu will be tasked to take on more as the Comets will return this year losing significant defensive depth as Meghana Singh and Vitor Medina have confirmed their withdrawal from Season 2 MAFL play.
“We’ll miss them [Meg and Vitor] as they were unsung heroes in our championship run. They ate a ton of minutes for us, shut down opponents consistently, and were first class citizens for team chemistry,” said Liu.
And to add to manager Gordan J Pryce’s troubles, forward Ellis Black has also made the decision to return to his career in the space sciences. Black, who is 31 years old, accepted a role with Tyconika Gam, a contractor for Earth space agencies.
“The grind of the season and gruelling demands of being a full-time athlete isn't for everyone,” said Pryce. “Even when you are talented, it doesn't mean it is your calling. We thank all of them for their contributions to not only our championship, but to the 2 years they invested to make MAFL a reality.”
Even with a the loss of 3 players, the Comets will still have one of the largest rosters in the league with 22 members. A bigger issue may be the club's lax off-season approach compared with many other clubs that have had little or no break..
“Truth be told, I haven’t thought about Season 2 a whole lot,” confessed Liu. “I’ve been trying to enjoy some down time out with friends – we caught the Pathfinder sprint rounds in the mobile settlements and made it to a few hockey games."
This raised concerns with Captain Liddell Bradley upon hearing how his teammates have utilized their off season.
“I don’t want any complacency sinking in,” said Bradley. “Look, we earned our fan base at home, and thus more expectations for season 2. We will need to work harder. The road to repeat starts now.”