By KATE ALLMAN
The penultimate round of the Sultana Bran Hockey One League 2022 Season hits off at Adelaide’s MATE Stadium on Thursday night with a spicy grudge match between two beleaguered men’s teams and a must-win women’s clash.
Tickets are available through Ticketek.
Catch all the action LIVE on Kayo and FOX Sports.
The women play first. All eyes will be on Hockeyroo and league superstar Amy Lawton as she returns to the pitch after a week off during HC Melbourne’s bye round. Lawton’s speed and creative ball distribution has not only been exciting to watch – she has helped set her team up for an almost-guaranteed place in the finals.
The midfielder’s combination with fierce striker Hannah Cotter up front, and staunch captain Hannah Gravenall plus goalkeeper Rach Lynch at the back, have catapulted HC Melbourne to second place on the ladder.
With just two weeks to go, HC Melbourne Women will be hoping to extend their goal difference to secure a first-place finish.
However, they will be missing key striker Ash Utri as well as defensive playmaker Josie Lawton (younger sister of Amy). The loss spells opportunity for the home team who have not won since Round 2.
The Fire Women flashed with brilliance in speedy striker Miki Spano as well as defender Carly Hoffman last week. Meanwhile, US import and FIH Pro League goalkeeper Kelsey Bing held Canberra to just one goal last week.
Expect the Fire to play with passion after that tight-fought loss.
On the men’s side of the draw, neither the Adelaide Fire or HC Melbourne men have been able to register a win so far this season.
The Fire’s losing streak goes back the furthest – the team has not clocked five points since the existence of the Hockey One League since 2019.
However, this year the Fire has flashed moments of potential. The team came close to a win against the NSW Pride in Round 3 when young striker Jack “Hollywood” Holland leapt onto the scoreboard with a penalty stroke, conversion, and a field goal that he was unable to convert.
Holland has missed the past two weeks while representing the Under 21 Burras in Malaysia but his return on Thursday night for the home crowd should inject the Fire with fresh spark.
Holland’s former Under 21 teammate, Angus Fry, has also excited fans with two goals this year. He threatens to rip the game open if busy midfielder Fred Gray can feed him opportune balls.
At the back, Adelaide has one of the league’s best goalkeepers in Christian Starkie. His combination with skipper Glyn Tamlin denied multiple goals off the stick of drag flicker James Day from the Canberra Chill last week.
Starkie will have his work cut out he faces one of the most efficient strikers in Kookaburra Nathan Ephraums.
Ephraums has six goals this season and was the league’s leading scorer before his team took a rest for their bye round last week.
The lightning-quick movement of Craig Marais and Max Hendry through the midfield and forward lines also threatens to cause chaos for the Fire.
HC Melbourne’s unchanged lineup might be an early indication of confidence.
Last time these teams met, the Fire women came up trumps after a 1-1 draw ended in a 4-3 shootout. The HC Melbourne men got the win narrowly in a 6-5 result.
Adelaide Fire v HC Melbourne
Thursday 3 November 2022
MATE Stadium, SA
Match Start: Women’s 6:00pm local (6:30pm AEDT), Men’s 7:30pm local (8:00pm AEDT)
Broadcast: LIVE and exclusive on Kayo and FOX Sports #ADLvHCM #HockeyOne
Umpires: Kerryl Brown & Deb O’Connell (Women’s), Ben De Young & Zeke Newman (Men’s)
Adelaide Fire Women’s team: 1.Linzi Appleyard, 5.Kelsey Bing (gk), 7.Kate Holland-Smith, 8.Holly Evans-Gill, 10.Carly Hoffmann, 11.Lucy Sharman, 13.Sarah Harrison (c), 16.Jet Mallinson, 17.Siennah Cowles, 18.Erin Cameron, 19.Gabi Nance, 20.Hattie Shand, 21.Miki Spano, 23.Izzy Gill, 30.Julia King
In: 7.Kate Holland-Smith
Out: 4.Chloe Carter
HC Melbourne Women’s team: 3.Nicola Hammond, 4.Amy Lawton, 5.Krissy Bates, 7.Ciara Utri, 8.Hannah Cotter, 9.Carly James, 10.Rosario Villagra, 11.Joanne Peeters, 12.Emily Hamilton-Smith, 13.Megan Alakus, 14.Anna Moore, 15.Olivia Downes, 20.Zali Ward, 25.Hannah Gravenall (c), 27.Rachael Lynch (gk)
In: 7.Ciara Utri, 20.Zali Ward
Out: 2.Aisling Utri, 6.Josie Lawton
Adelaide Fire Men’s team: 2.Connor Richmond-Spouse, 3.Isaac Whittaker, 5.Jack Holland, 6.Angus Fry, 7.Geoff Abbott, 8.Brodie Gleeson, 9.Fred Gray, 12.Mitchell Dell, 15.William Abbott, 17.Zach Rakkas, 18.Alastair Oliver, 19.Glyn Tamlin (c), 20.Matthew Magann, 22.Christian Starkie (gk), 23.Cameron White
In: 5.Jack Holland, 17.Zach Rakkas
Out: 1.Tom Cleghorn, 14.Nathan Hochman
HC Melbourne Men’s team: 1.Craig Marais, 2.Max Hendry, 3.Jonathan Bretherton, 5.Doug Buckley, 6.Damon Steffens, 7.Nathan Ephraums, 8.Lachlan Steinfort, 10.Russell Ford, 13.Jayshaan Randhawa, 15.Josh Simmonds (c), 17.Kiran Arunasalam, 18.Johan Durst (gk), 20.Josh Bretherton, 21.Jake Sherren, 22.Nathan Copey