Road to Canberra | Perth Thundersticks women’s coach Phil Hulbert

There may be a sense of deja vu as the Perth Thundersticks women’s squad takes on their second finals berth in as many years but head coach Phil Hulbert is hopeful the team will be ready to have a crack at bringing gold to the West.

The Perth Thundersticks have made the long trip to Canberra ahead of the 2023 JDH Hockey One Finals Main Event at the National Hockey Centre, where they will kick off their finals campaign going head to head with the very team they fell short to in round 7: Brisbane Blaze.

The Thundersticks quickly emerged as a strong contender for the finals early in the season with convincing wins over Canberra Chill and Tassie Tigers, holding off Hockey Club Melbourne to remain undefeated, and pulling off a clean-sheet victory over Adelaide Fire to become the first team to secure a finals berth.

But that strong form hit a slump when the team fell behind the eight-ball against NSW Pride and struggled to sneak past Brisbane Blaze’s defence in the last two rounds of the regular season.

However, coach Hulbert said the team has been faring very well throughout the season and plans to make sure the squad is in the best condition they can be to have a crack at defeating the Blaze on Saturday.

“I think the girls, apart from last weekend, have been in very good nick,” he said.

“Hopefully we can rekindle that formula in the semi-final.

“The girls have gelled together extremely well and that’s been a big part of why we’re playing well.”

Hulbert also said the depth of the team has been on full display throughout the team, with selectors constantly having headaches over who to choose to run out for each match.

“A lot of them have been in really good form,” he said.

“Sometimes the people missing have been playing very good hockey but can’t get them in because of the depth of the squad.”

Ahead of Saturday’s Semi Final against the Blaze, Hulbert said the team will focus on limiting turnovers and ensuring they don’t allow the Blaze’s stronger players to run away with the contest.

“We’ve got to be a bit tighter in our defensive work and we’ve got to be cleaner with our outletting,” he said.

“We’ve been pretty good with our press for most of the year but we need to improve a couple of areas on that as well.”

While the focus remains on Saturday’s Semi Final, Hulbert also said they will be using playing first to their advantage to keep an eye on how the Second Semi Final between NSW Pride and Canberra Chill fares and rest up for their next match on Sunday 26 November.


Semi Final 1: Perth Thundersticks vs Brisbane Blaze

Saturday 25 November 8.00am AWST (11.00am AEDT)

National Hockey Centre, Canberra


Women’s 3rd vs 4th Playoff

Sunday 26 November 8.30am AWST (11.30am AEDT)

National Hockey Centre, Canberra


Women’s Grand Final

Sunday 26 November 12.30pm AWST (3.30pm AEDT)

National Hockey Centre, Canberra

Watch all the JDH Hockey One Finals action LIVE and FREE on 7Plus.