Written by Adam Clifford, story courtesy of The Mercury
A cannon is defined as a large-calibre type of artillery that launches a projectile forward and the Tassie Tigers will have their own man-made cannon raining terror on opposition defences when the JDH Hockey One League returns to Hobart on Friday night.
Kookaburras star Jeremy Hayward propels the penalty corner drag flick at over 120km/hr and is in the form of his career, heading into Friday night’s opener against HC Melbourne.
Earlier this year, Hayward was a one-man wrecking ball from the set piece as he achieved the remarkable feat of scoring in every single World Cup match.
The Kookaburras may have finished fourth after conceding in the final six seconds of their semi-final, but Hayward scored nine goals in six matches and scooped the top scorer and best defender awards.
Just over 300 days until the Paris Olympics, Hayward will wind up his preparation by firing missiles to propel the Tigers back into the top four after a narrow miss in 2022.
“We were obviously disappointed from last year, when we just needed to beat HC Melbourne to finish in the top three,” Hayward said.
“It was a tough way to go out, losing the last game of the round, but it most definitely is motivating the boys to put in the work now.”
“We have a pre-round one training camp for a week here in Hobart now to learn how to play together as a group and ensure that we are on the same page from the first whistle on Friday night.”
The Tigers open the League with HC Melbourne before travelling to the nation’s capital to face the Canberra Chill and Hayward believes both games are vital to set up their campaign.
“The Hockey One League is reasonably quick with six rounds and last year showed us how important every single match is, so pretty much from round one we have to be ready and sharp to play HC Melbourne.”
“Plus, we really owe them after faltering at the final hurdle last year, so hopefully the home crowd can give us an extra lift and we can make it a great night.”
After some experience captaining the national side in recent months, Hayward admits he’s in a good place with his skills and fitness as he chases team success.
“I’m feeling really confident at the moment, but I don’t have ambitions to win player of or highest goal scorer to be honest.”
“I am really determined to help my team be the best they can be and that will make the Hockey One League really enjoyable, and hopefully successful.”
The Tigers start their double-header against HC Melbourne from 6:30pm (women) and 8pm (men) on Friday October 6 at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre.
Tickets & Memberships for the JDH Hockey One League are now on sale at INTIX.
All JDH Hockey One League matches will be streamed LIVE and free on 7plus.