By Adam Clifford
Well executed set plays were the order of the night as Adelaide Fire’s Women’s Team secured a classy 2-0 win before a clinical Tassie Tigers Men’s Team ran out 5-0 victors at MATE Stadium.
A Gabi Nance masterclass has helped guide Adelaide Fire to a crucial 2-0 victory at home against a plucky Tassie Tigers women’s side in round two action of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League.
A brilliantly scripted penalty corner routine enabled the Adelaide Fire to catch the Tigers napping in the opening minute, with Hockeyroo Jane Claxton assisting teammate Chloe Carter for a tap in.
Having taken the ball outside the dotted circle, the Fire took full advantage of the conversion rule with Carter duly stepping forward to take the score to 2-0.
It was a comprehensive performance from the hosts in the first quarter, with an under-siege Tigers goalkeeper Evie Dalton forced to make six important saves and negate five penalty corners.
The Tigers looked to have pulled a goal back in the 23rd minute when Jillian Wolgemuth threaded a pass to skipper Maddy Murphy to deflect home on her reverse.
But ecstasy quickly turned to agony for the visiting side, with the goal ultimately ruled out after the umpires conferred.
The match then became a war of attrition as both teams applied intense pressure in the front half of the ground and when intercepting, looked to get possession going forward quickly.
As the Tigers threw the kitchen sink at finding a way back into the clash, the Adelaide Fire midfield trio of Miki Spano, Nance and Claxton were able to manage the game.
For the second consecutive week, Nance stood head and shoulders above her rivals on an individual level to remind Hockeyroos selectors of her immense ability.
Speaking post-match, Nance was delighted to earn their first win in this year’s competition.
“It’s pretty amazing. The turnout tonight has been incredible and while it’s so nice to win, it’s even better to win at home,” a jubilant Nance said.
“I’m really proud of the girls’ performance, but of course it’s always nice to have a good game too.”
In regards to the match-winning penalty corner variation, Nance’s response suggested there could be more surprises in store for Fire fans in the matches ahead.
“We just wanted to utilise the outside the five so we could use the conversion rule and our coach Jason Butcher has got some pretty unique skills and we just adapt to them.”
Adelaide will return to action with a back-to-back home match against NSW Pride, who will be fresh off a bye, on Friday October 14 at 6pm local time.
Meanwhile, the Tassie Tigers have plenty of time to lick their wounds with their next contest at home against the Canberra Chill on Thursday October 20 from 6:30pm local time.
Adelaide Fire 2 (Carter 2’/3’)
Tassie Tigers 0
Saturday 8 October 2022
Umpires: Cassidy Gallagher & Kristy Robertson
Adelaide Fire Women’s team: 4.Chloe Carter, 5.Kelsey Bing (gk), 8.Holly Evans-Gill, 10.Carly Hoffmann, 11.Lucy Sharman, 13.Sarah Harrison, 15.Jane Claxton, 16.Jet Mallinson, 17.Siennah Cowles, 18.Erin Cameron, 19.Gabi Nance, 20.Hattie Shand, 21.Miki Spano, 23.Izzy Gill, 30.Julia King
Tassie Tigers Women’s team: 1.Sarah McCambridge, 2.Jillian Wolgemuth, 4.Maddi Brooks, 5.Taylor Brooks, 6.Raeleigh Phillips, 7.Maddy Murphy (c), 8.Cassie Sumfest, 9.Emily Donovan, 11.Eliza Westland, 12.Lou Maddock, 14.Brooke DeBerdine, 17.Grace Calvert, 20.Beth Dobbie, 21.Lauren Canning, 25.Evie Dalton (gk)
It was a case of no Jeremy Hayward, no worries for the Tassie Tigers men as they converted five penalty corners to defeat a brave Adelaide Fire in their own backyard in Round 2 of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League.
With Kookaburras set piece specialist Hayward absent, the Tigers clearly demonstrated the depth of world class flicking options at the disposal, while captain Josh Beltz produced an eye-catching performance in defensive midfield.
The Tigers suffocated the Fire defensive group throughout the match, earning thirteen penalty corner opportunities, whilst at the other end Tigers goalkeeper Henry Chambers was only called upon to make one save.
Australian Burras representative Josh Brooks had a coming-of-age performance with two goals, whilst also earning four set piece opportunities for the winners to push his case for higher honours.
Returnee Sam McCulloch and Kieron Arthur also converted flicks, with the latter striking the woodwork late on, while Kookaburras superstar Eddie Ockenden deflected home a set piece routine on three-quarter time.
The Fire were well served by defensive penalty corner runner Alistair Oliver, who ran down several opportunities, Tom Cleghorn and goalkeeper Christian Starkie.
Player of the Match Josh Beltz was stoked to see his side clean up their attacking play, with a number of players contributing on a higher return from their circle entries.
“Yeah, last week against Brisbane we had a fair few (penalty corners) and couldn’t convert, so it was good to turn that around and score some corners tonight. Our flickers are finding form which is nice,” Beltz said post-game.
“Field goals are good as well though, so we need to focus on that for next game,” Beltz added.
The Tigers will return home sitting in fourth position and will host the Canberra Chill after the bye, on Thursday October 20.
Beltz indicated Canberra have several personnel that mean they will be a difficult proposition, after pushing the Brisbane Blaze in Queensland last Thursday night.
“James Day at the back has a really good overhead. He’s got a really good connection with Ben and Jake Staines.”
“I think they’re a really dangerous team but if we play like we did tonight, we’re every chance of winning.”
The Adelaide Fire will go in search of their first points for the season when they host NSW Pride on Thursday night from 6pm local time.
Adelaide Fire 0
Tassie Tigers 5 (Brooks 17’/35’, McCulloch 24’, Arthur 38’, Ockenden 45+’)
Saturday 8 October 2022
Umpires: Jayden Pearson & Zeke Newman
Adelaide Fire Men’s team: 1.Tom Cleghorn, 2.Connor Richmond-Spouse, 5.Jack Holland, 6.Angus Fry, 7.Geoff Abbott, 8.Brodie Gleeson, 9.Fred Gray, 11.Cameron Joyce, 12.Mitchell Dell, 17.Zach Rakkas, 18.Alastair Oliver, 19.Glyn Tamlin (c), 20.Matthew Magann, 22.Christian Starkie (gk), 23.Cameron White
Tassie Tigers Men’s team: 4.Hayden Beltz, 5.Benjamin Austin, 6.Josh Brooks, 7.Josh Mardell, 8.Joseph Murphy, 9.Jeremy Edwards, 11.Eddie Ockenden, 12.Sam McCulloch, 13.Joshua Beltz (c), 15.Kieron Arthur, 19.Tim Deavin, 20.James Bourke, 23.Henry Chambers (gk), 26.Oliver Smith, 27.Gobindraj Gill