The Brisbane Blaze are pleased to announce our Head Coaches for Season Two of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League.
NIKKI TAYLOR returns to her role from 2019 and will take the reins of the Women’s team.
DARREN ‘CHOOK’ FOWLER will lead the Men’s team that will be looking to bring home the trophy after finishing with Silver in the inaugural season.
The 2019 inaugural season of Australia’s elite domestic competition – The Sultana Bran Hockey League – was highly successful for the Brisbane Blaze, but due to COVID the League was forced into a two-year hiatus.
Both coaches come with a wealth of experience and knowledge, and sat down to give their thoughts on the upcoming season.
What are you looking forward to in this coaching role?
Nikki – I am very much looking forward to working with the players and seeing the combination of our experienced players and our talented younger group develop to produce quality and exciting hockey. I am also looking forward to travelling again to different parts of the country and having the team play in front of big crowds.
Chook – I’m looking forward to the competition within the group as we have a few stalwarts for Queensland retiring or playing overseas. This creates an opportunity for the next generation to vie for a spot in the Blaze line-up.
How do you cope with the away games & travel?
Nikki – I believe being well planned is the key. Proper planning not only makes the trip go smoothly, but it can also lead to the team performing better on the day. The other important key is being flexible if things change from your original plan or challenges are thrown our way, the whole team both players and off field staff will be flexible enough to work through and solve the challenges calmly and quickly.
Chook – As a coaching group we are confident the team is professional enough to deal with any travel requirements.
Do you have any superstitions?
Chook – No not at all, it’s all based on hard work & preparation.
Nikki – I prefer to look at things as routines rather than superstitions. But my game day routine of a coffee right before the game is a must.
What team are you excited to match up against?
Chook – I don’t want to single out any one team, just looking forward to playing all the teams since we’ve had no competition for 2 years.
Nikki – It will be exciting to play against all teams, as teams from the last Hockey One back in 2019 will look different this year to what they did back then. But if I had to name one it would be Hockey Club Melbourne who were the team we played in the final back in the last Hockey One.
Players to watch in Blaze team?
Nikki – We will have an enormous amount of depth in our squad and the combination of our experienced players with our talented younger players will be exciting to watch.
Chook – We haven’t picked our team yet so I’m looking forward to seeing the players that perform at the Big Hockey Hit Out.
DARREN FOWLER is a Brisbane Hockey League Division 1 Premiership-winning coach, including coaching Labrador to back-to-back grand final victories in 2019 and 2020 before moving to Northern Suburbs Hockey Club (Norths) this season, and has been a Queensland selector and coach over many years. He has also represented the Brisbane Blades and North Queensland Barras in the Australian Hockey League.
NIKKI TAYLOR played for Queensland for more than 13 years and was then involved in State Coaching for more than 15 years. She is a long-time Brisbane Women’s Hockey Association Division 1 coach with Commercial Hockey Club and Easts Hockey Club and currently coaches Kedron Wavell Services Hockey Club. Formerly an assistant coach of the Queensland Scorchers side in the Australian Hockey League, Nikki has coached numerous Queensland age teams to national championship victories and guided hundreds of players in Brisbane junior girl’s and senior women’s teams for more than 25 years. In 2019, Nikki hit the trifecta when she coached the Queensland U21 Women’s Team to a National Championship in July, Kedron Wavell to a Brisbane Premiership in September, then the Brisbane Blaze to a National Championship in November.
The Brisbane Blaze Squads will be selected at the upcoming Big Hockey Hit Out from 5-7th August at the State Hockey Centre. The Big Hockey Hit Out is Queensland’s most elite competition boasting the best and brightest, competing for a spot in the Blaze Squads.
The Brisbane Blaze will kick off their season in late September. Memberships are on sale now, with tickets on sale in August. Follow all the action on socials!