The Brisbane Blaze Women and Men have scorched the Adelaide Fire to open their JDH Hockey One League title campaigns, forcing the rest of the competition to sit up and take notice.
Four unanswered second half goals saw Brisbane Blaze Women emerge victorious 4-0 in their opening clash against a courageous Adelaide Fire women’s side.
The two sides traded penalty corner opportunities but goalkeepers Zoe Newman (Fire) and Jordan Bliss (Blaze) both saw off three chances each to half-time in an end-to-end affair.
After 2019 Hockey One League leading scorer Britt Wilkinson fired an early warning shot in the third term, it was through best afield Tatum Stewart that the Blaze eventually broke the deadlock from their fifth set piece.
The Fire thought they’d almost found an equaliser when Miki Spano drew a fine save from Bliss shortly before three quarter time.
But the final ten minutes would belong to the experienced Blaze side, with Maddy Fitzpatrick slamming home a penalty corner flick after 51 minutes to make it 2-0.
Undeterred, Brittany Wang forced Bliss into two more sharp saves, but the Blaze would flatter the scoring late with Wilkinson getting her goal and Jodie Kenny smashing a penalty corner home to round out a 4-0 win.
“Our first half we weren’t as clinical as we wanted to be just with holding the ball and executing up front, so it was good in the second half that we worked on those things and were able to put it away in the fourth quarter,” Blaze captain Morgan Gallagher said.
“We spoke about not just throwing the ball away for the sake of it in the first quarter, but first game everyone was high energy, and we just need to have that composure.”
In the men’s match, the Blaze equalled two records en route to a 10-2 thumping of Adelaide Fire as Jacob Anderson scored four goals to go with Cale Cramer and Diarmid Chappell’s hat-tricks, the latter on debut.
Brisbane joined HC Melbourne to become just the second franchise to score ten goals in a single match, and the Blaze’s eight goal win equalled the largest winning margin also with the Victorian-based side.
It took just three minutes for Cramer to remind JDH Hockey One League fans of his remarkable scoring prowess, with a deft touch from an outstretched dive deceiving Fire goalkeeper Jed Snowden.
Cramer duly stepped up to convert his conversion opportunity, before a frantic match saw Fire recruit Peter Scott thrash home a slap shot against the crossbar.
The Fire found a response shortly after when Scott and Jack Holland teamed up to earn a penalty stroke that was converted by Scottish import Fraser Heigh, but Blaze keeper Mitch Nicholson was able to protect their advantage by denying Holland.
As the quarter ticked down, Heigh returned to bury a powerful penalty corner flick and levelled the scores at 2-2.
But not even a fire extinguisher could have doused the Blaze in a red-hot second quarter that buried the result, with Cramer completing his hat-trick before Anderson converted two field goal opportunities to demonstrate his class.
After the main break, Cramer turned provider to set up debutant Chappell for a simple tap in finish and the Burras hopeful knocked home his conversion for good measure to extend the lead to 9-2.
After squandering their first eight penalty corner opportunities, Chappell slammed home to complete a dream first up performance to round out the scoring.
Adelaide Fire recovered to keep the Blaze scoreless, with the likes of Scott, Heigh, Snowden, Charl Ulrich and skipper Fred Gray showing signs of gelling, with the former almost bridging the deficit with a blistering tomahawk attempt late on.
“We’ve obviously gone close the last couple of seasons, and we wanted to put our best foot forward to start,” Blaze captain Jake Whetton said.
“You get behind the eight ball early in the season and it’s hard to catch up against some pretty tough opposition throughout this competition, and 7-2 at half-time we knew that two goals and they are right back in it.”
“We probably played a better second half, even though our goals were mostly in the first half, but it was a really good start for our season.”
Every match of the JDH Hockey One League 2023 Season is LIVE and free on 7plus.
Match report courtesy of Adam Clifford.
Match Details – Women’s Match
Adelaide Fire 0
Brisbane Blaze 4 (Stewart 41’, M.Fitzpatrick 51’, Wilkinson 60’, Kenny 60+’)
Sunday 8 October 2023
Adelaide Fire Women’s team: 2.Brittany Wang, 4.Hattie Shand, 5.Holly Evans-Gill, 6.Euleena Maclachlan (c), 8.Miki Spano, 10.Carly Hoffmann, 11.Lucy Sharman, 15.Brooke Peris, 17.Katie Sharkey, 18.Anna Crowley, 22.Zoe Newman (gk), 25.Jane Claxton, 27.Sherilyn Cass
Brisbane Blaze Women’s team: 1.Savannah Fitzpatrick, 2.Rosie Malone, 3.Kendra Fitzpatrick, 4.Claire Colwill, 5.Morgan Gallagher (c), 6.Hannah Cullum-Sanders, 7.Jodie Kenny, 8.Dayle Dolkens, 9.Casey Dolkens, 10.Madison Fitzpatrick, 11.Morgan Mathison, 12.Tatum Stewart, 22.Britt Wilkinson, 23.Ruby Harris, 88.Jordan Bliss (gk)
Match Details – Men’s Match
Adelaide Fire 2 (Heigh 6’/14’)
Brisbane Blaze 10 (Cramer 3’/3’/19’, Anderson 20’/20’/28’/28’, Chappell 32’/32’/45’)
Sunday 8 October 2023
Adelaide Fire Men’s team: 1.Kieran Govers, 2.Connor Richmond-Spouse, 4.Jack Holland, 6.Matthew Magann, 7.Peter Scott, 8.Brodie Gleeson, 9.Fred Gray, 10.Lachlan Arneil, 13.Alastair Oliver, 14.Fraser Heigh, 16.Hugh Snowden, 17.Charl Ulrich, 20.Chris Wells, 21.Jed Snowden (gk), 25.Jethro Eustice (c)
Brisbane Blaze Men’s team: 1.Will Mathison, 2.Shane Kenny, 3.Corey Weyer, 5.Lucas Brown, 9.Jacob Anderson, 10.Cale Cramer, 11.Michael Francis, 12.Jake Whetton (c), 13.David Hubbard, 15.Jayden Atkinson, 16.Tim Howard, 17.Scott Boyde, 19.Luke Randle, 24.Diarmid Chappell, 32.Mitchell Nicholson (gk)