Grand Final rematch for Hockey One women in Brisbane


The final double-header in round four of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League is shaping to be a thriller as HC Melbourne heads to the Queensland State Hockey Centre to face a defiant Brisbane Blaze at home.

The Blaze men made a hot start to their season, but their jets were cooled by Perth Thundersticks last week in a nail-biting 3-2 loss.

Meanwhile, the HC Melbourne men are yet to claim a win – despite boasting the league’s highest goal scorer in Nathan Ephraums (six goals). With the finals just four weeks away, Melbourne can’t afford to drop another game.

Blaze have the second highest scorer in sharp shooter Cale Cramer (five goals). The Bulimba Bulls local came out of retirement to play in the Hockey One League this year and his composure in clutch moments has been a deciding factor in the team’s success.

Blaze welcome back Kookaburras duo Jake Whetton and Tim Howard. Brazilian international Adam Imer will take the pitch for the first time this year alongside debutant Tyler Arundell.

However, the scorching words of Lachlan Anderson, HC Melbourne men’s coach, during last week’s post-match press conference threaten to inject fire into the bellies of the away team.

HC Melbourne will need to dig deep while they’re missing rising stars Cooper Burns and Liam Henderson who are representing the Australian U21s at the Sultan of Johor Cup. Trent Symss is also out.

To replace them, in come Doug Buckley, Kiran Arunasalam and Nathan Copey. Arunasalam has played a strong assisting role in the forward line alongside HC Melbourne’s regular strikers Craig Marais and Ephraums.

In the women’s match, a rematch of the Season One 2019 Grand Final looms between ladder leaders HC Melbourne and defending champions Brisbane Blaze.

HC Melbourne hope to continue their march to Bendigo in poll position. But it will be a tough ask as the Brisbane Blaze women look to have found their stride at a key moment, emphatically taking five points from league favourites the Perth Thundersticks last week.

Criticism for losing two games at the start of the season appears to have fuelled the Blaze women with renewed fire.

This week, the Blaze women welcome back former Hockeyroo Ashlea Fey, as well as Hockeyroo Meg Pearce who has two international caps to her name.

The lively attacking play of their Australian teammate Hannah Cullum-Sanders will be tested against the strength of veteran HC Melbourne goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, Australia’s most-capped female keeper.

HC Melbourne defender Krissy Bates was a ball-winning magnet last week and could be the woman to shut down the speed and creativity of Blaze strikers including Rosie Malone. Bates’ connection with the midfield prowess of Amy Lawton could also be a deciding factor for the away team.

Last time these teams met, the Blaze men won 4-2.

The Blaze women defeated HC Melbourne in a shootout in the inaugural women’s grand final.

Brisbane Blaze v HC Melbourne
Saturday 22 October 2022
Queensland State Hockey Centre
Match Start: Men’s 6:30pm local (7:30pm AEDT), Women’s 8:00pm local (9:00pm AEDT)
Broadcast: LIVE and exclusive on Kayo #BBZvHCM #HockeyOne
Umpires: Ben de Young & Steve Rogers (Men’s), Aleisha Neumann & Deb O’Connell (Women’s)

Brisbane Blaze Men’s team: 2.Shane Kenny, 3.Corey Weyer, 5.Lucas Brown, 6. Joshua Mynott, 7.Joel Rintala, 8.Adam Imer, 9.Jacob Anderson, 11.Michael Francis, 12. Jake Whetton, 15.Cale Cramer, 16.Tim Howard (c), 17.Scott Boyde, 19. Tyler Arundell, 27.Jared Taylor, 32.Mitchell Nicholson (gk)
In: 8. Adam Imer, 12. Jake Whetton, 16. Tim Howard, 19. Tyler Arundell
Out: 10. Jayden Atkinson, 13. Ethan White, 14. Isaac Layton,  18. Aaron Weiss

HC Melbourne Men’s team: 1.Craig Marais, 2.Max Hendry, 3.Jonathan Bretherton, 5. Douglas Buckley, 6.Damon Steffens, 7.Nathan Ephraums, 8.Lachlan Steinfort, 10.Russell Ford, 13.Jayshaan Randhawa, 15.Josh Simmonds (c), 17. Kiran Arunasalam, 18.Johan Durst (gk), 20.Josh Bretherton, 21.Jake Sherren, 22. Nathan Copey
In: 5. Doug Buckley, 17. Kiran Arunasalam, 22. Nathan Copey
Out: 4.Liam Henderson, 9.Trent Symss, 11.Cooper Burns

Brisbane Blaze Women’s team: 1.Savannah Fitzpatrick, 2.Ambrosia Malone, 3.Casey Dolkens, 4.Ashley Fey, 5.Morgan Gallagher (c), 7.Hannah Cullum-Sanders, 12.Tatum Stewart, 13.Rebecca Greiner, 14. Meg Pearce, 19.Morgan Mathison, 22.Britt Wilkinson, 24.Claire Colwill, 25. Kyra Livermore, 30.Georgina West, 88. Jordan Bliss
In: 4. Ashlea Fey, 14. Meg Pearce
Out: 6. Dayle Dolkens, 23. Ruby Harris

HC Melbourne Women’s team: 2.Aisling Utri, 3.Nicola Hammond, 4.Amy Lawton, 5.Krissy Bates, 6.Josie Lawton, 8.Hannah Cotter, 9.Carly James, 10.Rosario Villagra, 11.Joanne Peeters, 12.Emily Hamilton-Smith, 13.Megan Alakus, 14.Anna Moore, 15.Olivia Downes, 25.Hannah Gravenall (c), 27.Rachael Lynch (gk)