Grand final rematch to light up Friday night Hockey One

By Kate Allman

Sydney Olympic Park is set to roar as Kookaburras star Daniel Beale takes the pitch for the Brisbane Blaze for the first time this season, hoping to halt the record winning streak of the NSW Pride.

Friday’s double-header is the match-up of Round 5 in the Sultana Bran Hockey One League, as the Brisbane Blaze Men hope to topple the Season One Champions. In doing so, they would put a halt to an extraordinary winning streak that has continued through the entire existence of Hockey One.

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The women play first. With just three points separating fifth-placed Brisbane Blaze (7 points) and second-placed NSW (10 points) on the ladder, goal difference becomes as crucial as winning.

The Pride have shown they can hit the scoreboard with big numbers – their Hockeyroo forward Grace Stewart leads the league goal tally with five to her stats card. She put three in the net with apparent ease against the Adelaide Fire in a 5-2 win in Round 3.

She’s backed by a roaring midfield in fellow Birmingham Commonwealth Games silver medallists Mariah Williams and Greta Hayes and flanked by a strike weapon in rising Sydney star Abby Wilson (highest scorer in the Sydney Women’s Metro League this year).

Elusive and swift midfielder Grace Young has created chaos for defenders and her impact – or Brisbane’s ability to shut her down – could dictate the result.

But the Blaze have their own firepower in quick-footed young forward Hannah Cullum-Sanders, who made her debut for the Hockeyroos this year and creates opportunities with her ferocious attacking skills into the D.

More experienced national players including Savannah Fitzpatrick and Rosie Malone have also stepped up to lead the team in recent weeks, clocking a win against league favourites Perth Thundersticks two weeks ago, despite calls that the team was suffering a ‘hockey malaise’.

The Blaze’s 2-1 loss against HC Melbourne last week was not indicative of the form the team has found in the lead-up to finals. NSW Pride have a daunting task to absorb the fire. Beware the scorned Queenslanders.

The men’s match could be the most highly anticipated game of the season so far.

Teams have waited three long years to replay the Grand Final from 2019, which ended up in an 11 goal thriller with the biscuits going to NSW Pride 8-3.

The Brisbane Blaze is bolstered by the inclusion of Kookaburras midfielder Daniel Beale. Beale brings a wealth of talent and experience to the game, having represented Australia on 191 occasions since 2013 and has two Commonwealth Games golds, a gold in the FIH Pro League, and silver in the Tokyo Olympics in his trophy cabinet.

Striker Cale Cramer has put Blaze on the board five times this year, alongside drag flicker Joel Rintala. The effectiveness of their captain Tim Howard in pulling strings of the attack will be key to the team’s performance.

NSW presents danger through multiple avenues of attack – Ehren Hazell, Daine Richards and Ky WIllot all have four goals to their names this season.

They also boast Kookaburras defender Dylan Martin, who has been dubbed the best penalty corner defender in the league. He shut down a pepper spray of shots in the dying seconds of the team’s crucial 4-3 win against the Perth Thundersticks last week.

A Pride win will almost guarantee a finals place for NSW, while a loss for the Blaze puts Brisbane in a precarious position outside the four.

Blaze have only dropped one game – narrowly – to the Perth Thundersticks in Round 2. Could Beale be the spark that ignites a new order in the Hockey One League?

NSW Pride v Brisbane Blaze
Friday 28 October 2022
Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre, NSW
Match Start: Women’s 6:30pm local (6:30pm AEDT), Men’s 8:00pm local (8:00pm AEDT)
Broadcast: LIVE and exclusive on Kayo #NSWvBBZ #HockeyOne
Umpires: Michelle Farnill & Kerryl Brown (Women’s), Zeke Newman & Aaron Gotting (Men’s)

NSW Pride Women’s team: 3.Hannah Kable, 4.Kendalle Tait, 6.Estelle Hughes, 7.Grace Stewart, 8.Alana Kavanagh, 9.Zoe Newman (gk), 10.Greta Hayes, 11.Emma Scriven, 13.Tamsin Bunt, 18.Julia Bradley, 19.Morgan Blamey, 20.Maddi Smith (c), 23.Abigail Wilson, 24.Mariah Williams, 32.Grace Young
In: 6.Estelle Hughes, 11.Emma Scriven
Out: 2.Sarah Johnston, 30.Makayla Jones

Brisbane Blaze Women’s team: 1.Savannah Fitzpatrick, 2.Ambrosia Malone, 3.Casey Dolkens, 4.Ashlea 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 (gk)
In: Nil
Out: Nil

NSW Pride Men’s team: 5.Ash Thomas (gk), 7.Daine Richards, 8.Nathaniel Stewart, 14.Dylan Martin, 15.Miles Davis, 19.Tom Brown, 20.Ky Willott, 22.Flynn Ogilvie, 23.Ryan Proctor, 25.Jack Hayes (c), 26.Ehren Hazell, 28.Sam Gray, 32.Callum Mackay, 33.Sam Mudford, 35.Rory Walker
In: 8.Nathaniel Stewart
Out: 18.Charlie Dorman

Brisbane Blaze Men’s team: 2.Shane Kenny, 3.Corey Weyer, 5.Lucas Brown, 7.Joel Rintala, 8.Adam Imer, 9.Jacob Anderson, 11.Michael Francis, 12.Jake Whetton (c), 13.Ethan White, 15.Cale Cramer, 16.Tim Howard, 17.Scott Boyde, 23.Daniel Beale, 27.Jared Taylor, 32.Mitchell Nicholson (gk)
In: 13.Ethan White, 23.Daniel Beale
Out: 6.Josh Mynott, 19.Tyler Arundell