Agree with your observations LV.
Much better synchronised offense. XRM said in post game interview that Dean challenged them to move the ball more.
The benefit was obvious - bigger gaps, better looks, more involvement....and on the other end, tighter defense.
Illi's presence is invaluable.
If they can build on last night's performance by maintaining that style and intensity, and consolidate the 4 (whether by getting Caroline going, or getting someone else), there's no reason why they can't contend.
In Perth's case, their lack of communication was so apparent that (I know it's hypothetical) they'd really benefit from a Damien Martin type on the floor in terms of leadership etc.
At present, they appear slow and out of rhythm.
Is it the coaching, player personnel or both?
What I don't understand is, how have they not developed young Australian talent to fill the hole of their aging roster? Or do they have some, but haven't had the opportunity or circumstances to transition them into games?