Well the final weekend of hockey has arrived, after 21 weeks of games only two teams in each grade are left standing.
The weekend will kick off on Friday afternoon with the Under 18 Girls and conclude on Saturday night with the Division 1 Men, with plenty of action on the turf in between.
The question on everybody’s lips is “who will achieve the ultimate prize?”
The first grand final to be decided will be the Under 18 Girls commencing at 4:30pm Friday, when Park Royal Panther take on Risdon. Panthers finished top and went straight through after defeating St Andrews in the qualifying final have enjoyed the week off. Risdon, however, have come from third spot on the ladder after meeting Crystal Brook in the elimination final and St Andrews in the preliminary final may be suffering after close games.
Panthers will need Talia Phillips, Lana Kay-Bulloch, Grace Tattoli and Ashley Fuchs to play well, whilst Risdon will be asking Jess and Hannah Marwick, Jess Axon and Alana Zubrinich to find something special to help them win the big prize.
Under 18 Boys will be next to take to the turf to do battle. Panthers will take on St Andrews. Panthers finished top and went straight through after defeating St Andrews in the qualifying final have enjoyed the week off. St Andrews played the preliminary final and made their way through after playing Risdon.
This will be a very close game with Panthers hoping that Jay Norton, Deakin McLaughlin, Owen Fuchs and Dion Smith can show the way to victory. St Andrews will be asking big things of Cooper Lane, Ben Burgess, Ryan Monaghan and Hamish Barr to help them get the shield.
Then there will be a change of pace and a strong smell of deep heat will emanate from the turf area, as the Over 40’s Men play in the next game. This will be between Park Royal Panthers and Risdon. Panthers finished the minor rounds in second place and booked a ticket straight into the “big dance” two weeks ago after beating St Andrews in the qualifying final. Risdon on the other hand finished third and have had to get their ticket the hard way, defeating St Andrews in a close preliminary final last week.
This will be a tough and exciting match to watch, however Panthers would be seen as a slight favourite to win. Risdon will need their big guns in John and Mikk Northcott, Marty Pepe, Darren Kay-Bulloch and goal keeper Lech Jagiello to produce some magic on the night to combat the strong Panthers outfit. Players to watch for Panthers would consist of Andy Fuchs, Brett Nimo, Paul Phillips, Marcus Webb, Vinnie Degioia and goal keeper David Tilbury.
The last match of Friday night will be the Division 3 Men, with Park Royal Panthers taking on Strykers. Panthers defeated Strykers in a comeback win during the qualifying final a fortnight ago. After being 2 nil down, they rallied and ended up winning 3-2 to book a spot straight into the grand final. Strykers would have been disappointed that they needed to take the long route to the final. They played a tough game against Crystal Brook in the preliminary final and after 90 minutes of hockey the teams could not be separated and Strykers went though as they finished higher on the ladder.
Strykers will need the likes of Scott Tattoli, Chris McMahon, Scott Smith, and Corey Stephenson to play very well if they are a chance of winning. Panthers will look to Adam Conradi, Charlie Webb, Richard Mummery and Vinne Degioia to help them get over the line. This is a tough one to pick a winner.
Saturday at 9:00 am will see the finals continue, with St Marks taking on Park Royal Panthers in Under 14 Girls. St Marks booked a spot straight into the final 2 weeks ago after defeating Panthers in the qualifying final. Panthers won their way through the preliminary final after defeating Risdon to set up another showdown with the girls from St Marks.
St Marks would be going into this game as a slightly fancied winner, with players like Hannah Longmire, Katelyn Guy and Edyn Manfield tearing it up on the field. Panthers will look to Montana Coe, Sophie Tattoli, Phobie Attkins and Isobel Dick to perform well in order to combat the St Marks team.
Park Royal Panthers face off with Risdon in the Under 14 Boys. Panthers would be a favourite to win this game, they have had an exceptional season. They went straight to the grand final after meeting Risdon in the qualifying final a couple of weeks ago. Risdon regrouped and managed to get past St Marks in the preliminary final last week to enable themselves to have another crack at beating Panthers.
Risdon will need Dylan and Adam Hissey, Fraser Murray Jayden Wauchope and Zac Northcott to play their best games of the year to overcome Brodie Maywald, Jackson Whitaker, Charlie Webb and Ryder Petagna for the Panthers team.
The first of the senior finals for Saturday at 12 noon,will see the highly fancied Risdon take on the ladies from Crystal Brook in the Division 3 Women. Risdon finished the minor rounds on top of the ladder and Crystal Brook found themselves in third spot. Risdon have had the week of leading into the grand final after defeating Panthers in the qualifying final. Crystal Brook have defeated St Andrews (elimination final) and Panthers (preliminary final) to secure a chance to win the premiership.
Crystal Brook will need to subdue Paula Blieschke, Jo-Anne Ferme, Angie Dunstall and Sophie Tattoli to increase their chances of winning. The Brookies will be hoping that Fleur Greatorex, Julia Murrie, Tilly Brock, Angela Harvie and Tiahn Wendes are firing on all cylinders to help them get of the line.
Crystal Brook will feature in the Division 2 Women’s game against Park Royal Panthers. The Brookies will be looking to win their third premiership in as many years.
Panthers finished the season on top of the ladder and have made their way to the final by defeating St Andrews in the qualifying final, giving them a week off. Crystal Brook finished third and have made their way into the final by defeating Risdon (elimination final) and St Andrews (preliminary final). Setting up a showdown against Panthers for the third year in a row. Panthers will need Annette Lane, Chloe Buchanan, Mikayla Colyer, Zoe Barker and Nicole Ferme to play well. Crystal Brook will look to Paula Peterson, Nicole Rafanelli, Ali Gulin, Elyce Malycha and Peta Renshaw to get them over the line. This is going to be a very close match and should provide plenty of excitement.
In the Division 2 Men, Park Royal Panthers will take on St Andrews. St Andrews went straight through to the grand final after defeating Panthers in the qualifying final. Panthers defeated Risdon in the preliminary final to book their place in the grand final. This will be another evenly matched game with both of these teams displaying a high degree of skill.
St Andrews will be relying on Dylan Brooks, Archie Pittaway, Dave Monaghan and Ryan Monaghan to guide them to the ultimate prize. Panthers will need Andy Fuchs, Deakin Mclauglin, Jay Norton, Alex Brock and Brett Nimo to be at their best to enable them to win this game.
Division 1 Women will kick off at 5:15pm with Risdon taking on Park Royal Panthers. Panthers will be looking to go back to back, however the strong Risdon team will be pulling out all the tricks they can to stop this from happening.
Risdon finished the season on top of the ladder after some strong performances throughout the year and would be going into this game as favourites ahead of the Panthers outfit. Risdon defeated Panthers pretty convincingly in the qualifying final which would boot their confidence. Panthers had to go back and play Mid North Cruisers in the preliminary final last week and came away with their spot in the grand final after a close match.
This game is going to be a battle make no doubt about it. Panthers will need goal keeper Deana Spencer, half back Madeline Jordan, full backs Paige Spencer and Kylan Reddaway to play very well to have a chance against the strong attack of Risdon and will also be looking for Talia Philips and Grace Tattoli to score some goals for them. The mid field and attack that Risdon will have through, Sean and Darcy Blieschke, Jess Marwick, Elke Holze, Danielle White and Jamie Glodie will be hard for Panthers to counter.
The last game for Saturday will be the Division 1 Men. This will be between Park Royal Panthers and St Andrews. There has been a fierce rivalry building between these two teams of the past few years. Each of them featuring in the final game of the year and beating each other. Panthers hold bragging rights after last year’s grand final and will be trying their hardest to win back to back.
Panthers finished the minor round in first position and defeated St Andrews to gain automatic entry to the grand final. St Andrews played Risdon in a tough encounter during the preliminary final which saw them win in the last 10 minutes of the game after trailing all night. Setting up a showdown this week.
St Andrews will need Angelo Anastasiou and Sam Ferme to try and work out how to get the ball past John Leske in goals for Panthers. John has been instrumental in keeping Panthers in winning position during games for a few years now. It is not an impossible task, they will just need to find something special to do it, Sam and Angelo have pulled some special goal out of their hat at times.
The St Andrews defence will need to work out how to keep Lee Kirchner quite for Panthers as he can be very damaging in front of goals. Other players to watch in this game for St Andrews will be Dom Keain, Kane Daws, Mitchell Young and Byron Johns in goals. Panther players to watch will include Cavan and Dion Smith, Dylan Adams and Matt Lowe. This promises to be a cracker of a game to watch.
The Board of Management would like to wish all the teams competing in the grand finals the best of luck. We thank everyone who has helped throughout the season and hope to see you all again in 2019