The Tassie Tigers women’s team opened their 2022 Hockey One campaign with a shootout win against the Brisbane Blaze, a match in which Maddison Brooks scored twice.
But while the Blaze’s season went from strength to strength, culminating in a shootout loss in the final, the Tigers’ campaign went the other way, failing to register another point in the competition.
A year older, a year wiser, 19-year-old Brooks said the experience the relatively young Tigers squad built last year would hold them in good stead when they open the 2023 JDH Hockey One season on Friday night against HC Melbourne.
“We’ve been training pretty hard the last couple of months and I think we are definitely coming along a lot better the last few weeks,” said Brooks. Really looking forward to the first game.
“We’re definitely building and hopefully from last year we can just step it up a notch. We’ve refined our way of play a lot better than last year, so I think come first game we’ve just prepared a bit more tactically than we were last year and hopefully that pays dividends for the tournament this year.
“Last year we probably just didn’t have the performances that we were looking for and this year I think with a better tactical side and knowing our roles individually and as a team, I think we’ll be definitely more competitive than we were last year.”
If the Tigers development from 2022 to 2023 is to mirror the path Brooks has, they are set to make big strides this season. After last year’s campaign, Brooks featured in the Jillaroos team which won the Junior Oceania Cup, and then was called into the Hockeyroos squad for the FIH Pro League.
She made her senior international debut against Argentina on home turf at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre in February and has been an integral part of the team throughout 2023.
Brooks will be playing alongside twin sister Taylor again this season, while older brother Josh is on the Tassie men’s team. The trio come from strong hockey stock, with mother Susan a former Australian Under 21 player while father Alistair represented Tasmania.
Still just a teenager, Brooks believes she can carry the experience from her time in the Hockeyroos squad back to the Tigers and show the way forward for the team.
“Obviously a bit more experience under my belt now and I can probably play a bit more of a leadership role this year,” she said. “Last year I was one of the new players on the team, so didn’t want to step into anyone’s boundaries, but this year I can definitely play a bit more of a leadership role which would be really good for the younger players coming through.”
The 2023 JDH Hockey One season is also one of the final chances for all players to put their best performances in before Paris 2024, a fact that is not lost on Brooks or the other Olympic aspirants she will come up against.
“It’s one of the main selection pieces for the Paris squad for next year, so I think for me it’s just putting my best shot out there, definitely giving it my all.”
The Tassie Tigers open their 2023 JDH Hockey One campaign on Friday night against HC Melbourne at The Tasmanian Hockey Centre. The women’s match will commence at 6:30pm AEDT followed by the men at 8pm AEDT.