Canberra, Brisbane set for women’s Hockey One decider
Alex Mitchell |
Canberra will play for the Hockey One women’s crown in front of their home crowd after a 4-1 win against the NSW Pride in their semi-final.
The Chill will play Brisbane in Sunday’s grand final after the Blaze scraped past Perth in a thrilling penalty shootout, courtesy of two brilliant saves from goalkeeper Emily Kingston.
At Canberra’s National Hockey Centre, Canberra trailed early but gradually took over, a clever effort from Naomi Evans and her penalty conversion taking them 4-1 clear in the third term.
NSW poacher Meike Van Haeringen opened the scoring on 12 minutes after ghosting in at the back post but the Chill steadied the ship through Kaitlin Cotter and a Roisin Upton penalty stroke for their 2-1 lead.
The Canberra crowd was buzzing after Evans’s decisive goal, the former Hockeyroos midfielder admitting the atmosphere gave the team a big lift.
“It’s pretty sweet … I’ve been playing for 12 years and I’ve never made a final before, so we’re pretty happy,” she said.
“”We’re excited by the opportunity, the home support has been awesome, we’re really thriving off it.
“Canberra just gets around everything … this is more than just about us on the field, it’s about everyone that’s supporting the Canberra Chill.”
Evans said her side holds no fear for their grand final opponents Brisbane, suggesting their best hockey would be enough to get the job done.
The Blaze had earlier needed a clinical shootout display where they converted all four of their attempts to get past Perth.
The teams were tied at 2-2 in regular time, with Blaze keeper Kingston’s heroics in denying two Thunderstick penalties proving the difference between the teams.
“(She) had such a good game and it makes such a huge difference,” Blaze midfielder Rebecca Greiner said after scoring the winning penalty.
“It gives us a lot of confidence we can grind out those tough games … it’s a matter of switching off from this game and going, ‘OK what’s the next job’.
“Everyone in our team is competitive … ultimately it will be a matter of who wants it more.”
Greiner looked to have put the Blaze through eight minutes from time with a long-range effort for a 2-1 lead, only for Perth’s Penny Squibb to equalise with a similar strike just three minutes later.
Hockeyroo Rosie Malone copped a ball to the face on the stroke of half-time with blood pouring from her nose but returned to action for the Blaze late in the third term.AAP