Australian Hockey League Champions crowned
29 October 2012
HOCKEY: The Victorian women defeated NSW and the Queensland men overcame West Australia to take home the Australian Hockey League titles over the weekend.
Women's AHL Final:
Victoria’s last Championship title was won back in 2003, and it was a new crop of youth that set the tone throughout the 2012 tournament with high intensity hockey in Perth.
Victoria and NSW played an open first 20 minutes with NSW hitting the scoreboard early, only to be followed by an own goal of their own for the equaliser.
Victoria then shocked the NSW team with three unanswered goals late in the first half to take an unassailable 4-1 lead at the half time break. The shell-shocked NSW team took the half time break to re-group and devise a strategy to beat the Victorian press.
However, it only took two minute into the second half for the Victorians to hand further pain to the already flat NSW outfit, with a clean shot on goal from Danielle Schubach. The 5-1 lead to the Victorians was always going to be a Mount Everest achievement to come back from such a deficit in one half of hockey.
Victoria would subsequently hold on their 5-1 lead and take out the 2012 Championship in front of a large crowd at Perth Hockey Stadium.
In the other finals matches, Queensland claimed the bronze medal by defeating the talented Western Australian outfit 3-0. To rub salt in the WA wounds, two time WA Olympian Kobie McGurk left the field with a serious knee injury. ACT finished a respectable fifth after knocking off 2011 Champions South Australia in their play-off match. Northern Territory claimed seventh place with a 3-2 victory over Tasmania.
The Player of the Tournament was awarded to ACT player Anna Flanagan who excelled throughout the tournament in a leadership role, drag-flick specialist and reliable defender. Claire Messent picked up the MVP Award for Player of the Grand Final. Messent scored one goal in the Grand Final and dominated the midfield with explosive pace.
Men's AHL Final:
Queensland has been crowned the 2012 Men’s Australian Hockey League Champions after defeating Western Australia 3-2 in the Grand Final at the National Hockey Centre in Canberra.
The best of Australian men’s hockey talent was on display in the Grand Final of the Australian Hockey League when Queensland outlasted 2011 AHL Champions, Western Australia.
In an exciting game between two masterful attacking teams, Queensland was dominant in the first half and led 2-1 at half time.
At the post-final presentations, Queensland’s Matthew Swann was voted Player of the Final. London Olympic goalkeeper Nathan Burgers (Queensland) also announced his retirement from international competition after the game. NSW’s Captain Simon Orchard was voted Player of the Tournament.
In the classification matches, the early morning game saw Tasmania finish seventh when they responded positively to their indifferent play-off performance to defeat a gallant South Australia 4-1. Northern Territory turned the tables on the more fancied ACT to win 2-1 to claim fifth position and relegate ACT to sixth. In the play-off for bronze, Victoria overcame New South Wales' relentless pressure to score three late goals to win 3-1, after NSW had a deserved 1-0 lead at half time.