The Brisbane Blaze will be hoping some insider knowledge could give them an edge over HC Melbourne in the inaugural Sultana Bran Hockey One Women’s Grand Final on Saturday.
When it comes to knowing your opponent, the Queenslanders have an ace in the form of Meg Pearce.
Before joining the Blaze this year, the 25-year-old played for Victoria in the Australian Hockey League for the previous seven seasons, winning a national title for her home state in 2017.
Pearce relocated to Brisbane with her rugby-playing fiancé last year and helped University of Queensland Hockey Club win its maiden Brisbane Division 1 premiership.
While she’s focused on helping Brisbane Blaze win the Sultana Bran Hockey One grand final, Pearce insists there’s no ill feeling between her and ex-teammates in the HC Melbourne squad.
“I didn’t play for Queensland last year, as I was a scholarship holder at the Victorian Institute of Sport,” Pearce says.
“(Training for Victoria) last year was challenging from a logistical perspective due to all of the plane trips, balancing work and uni.
“As a result, the Vic players and team were very understandable of me playing for Brisbane Blaze this year.”
A former Australian Under 21 representative, Pearce has “thoroughly enjoyed” playing for Brisbane Blaze in the Sultana Bran Hockey One competition.
“Playing with them has definitely helped me to develop deeper friendships within the team and broaden my network,” Pearce says.
HC Melbourne narrowly defeated Brisbane Blaze in the last meeting of the teams in Round 2, prevailing 1-0.
“Playing against them, initially I was very nervous until the game started. However, when I started playing it felt the same as every other game and I just concentrated on having fun and my performance on the field,” Pearce says.
Pearce is predicting another “very intense and very good game” in Brisbane Blaze’s return visit to Melbourne this weekend for the grand final.
“I think both teams’ strengths is the unity and cohesion within the team. I believe the winner will be able to utilise this for the full 60 minutes of the game,” Pearce says.
Story by Lee Oliver