With the 2023 Hockey One season just a week away, we’re casting our minds back to 2022 and looking at how the Perth Thundersticks are shaping up before round 1.
After that heartbreaking 2-0 loss to NSW Pride left us with a silver medal last year, you can imagine how motivated the Perth Thundersticks men’s squad is going into the new season.
Last year, the Thundersticks boasted red-hot form by kicking off their 2022 campaign with a 5-2 win over Adelaide Fire, where Zalewski scored a second-half hat-trick.
The Thundersticks rode that strong form into the next two rounds, with an 8-5 win over Hockey Club Melbourne – where Tom Wickham racked up four goals for the match, and a 3-2 victory over Brisbane Blaze in round three.
The Thundersticks strong start hit the skids when they were handed their first loss of the season, falling just short 4-3 against NSW Pride.
Despite suffering a tough penalty shootout loss to Tassie Tigers and a 4-2 loss to Canberra Chill in the rounds that followed, the Thundersticks held on to finish third on the ladder and advance to the semi-finals.
After enacting revenge on Canberra Chill with a 6-3 victory to progress to the grand final, the Thundersticks found themselves dismantled by NSW Pride, going on to finish the season taking home the silver medal.
Embarking on the quest to bring home the gold will be Will Battistessa, James Collins, Bryn De Bes, Liam Flynn, Brodee Foster, Cambell Geddes, Tim Geers, Jake Harvie, Tom Harvie, Tyler Lovell, Alistair Murray, Ben Rennie, Tom Wickham and Aran Zalewski.
While there are plenty of familiar faces returning to the PTX squad for 2023, the Thundersticks have also welcomed some fresh talent and returning players into the ranks.
New additions to the squad include Matt Bird (Fremantle Cockburn Hockey Club), Josh Bowen (Hale Hockey Club), Frank Main (UWA Hockey Club), Marshall Puzey (YMCC Hockey Club), and James Day, who moved west from Canberra Chill following last season.
Returning to the Thunderdome this year are Brayden King and former Kookaburra Trent Mitton, both of whom make their comeback after missing the 2022 season.
King ran out for Hale Hockey Club during the 2023 Premier League season, featuring in 16 games and forming part of the 2023 premiership team, while Mitton featured in 20 Premier League matches for WASPS Hockey Club and scored 14 goals.
After claiming the bronze medal with a convincing 3-0 win over Hockey Club Melbourne last year, the Perth Thundersticks women’s squad will look to continue improving in its third Hockey One season.
While the Thundersticks started strong with a 3-1 win over Adelaide Fire, followed by a 2-0 clean sheet victory over Hockey Club Melbourne, the squad hit a slump in form when they suffered consecutive losses to Brisbane Blaze and NSW Pride.
However, the Thundersticks got themselves on track with two quick goals via Georgia Wilson helping them notch their second clean sheet win of the season, defeating Tassie Tigers 3-0.
That form was backed up the following week by holding off Canberra Chill 3-1 to finish in third place on the ladder with a 4-2 record.
Despite falling short against NSW Pride 1-0 in the semi-finals, the Thundersticks bounced back in the third-place playoff against Hockey Club Melbourne, with two early goals via Penny Squibb and Georgina Dowd helping them on their way to claim the bronze medal.
Lining up for another season with the Thundersticks this year are Sarah Byrnes, Britney Desilva, Georgina Dowd, Elizaberth Duguid, Neasa Flynn, Rachel Frusher, Annie Gibbs, Liné Malan, Aleisha Power, Anna Roberts, Renee Rockliff, Karri Somerville, Penny Squibb, Shanea Tonkin and Georgia Wilson.
Along with the many players returning for another season with the Thundersticks, a few new faces have emerged within the squad.
Hoping to make their debut with the Thundersticks this year are Elyssa Melville (Whitford Hockey Club), Kayla O’Sullivan (Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club), Saysha Pillay (UWA Hockey Club) and Belle Ramshaw (UWA Hockey Club), while Lexie Pickering and Jessie Reid join the squad after moving to WA from NSW Pride and Brisbane Blaze in 2019 respectively.
Making her return to the Thundersticks after missing the 2022 season is Pippa Morgan, who comes into the squad fresh off a stellar Premier League season with UWA Hockey Club featuring in 14 caps and scoring 5 goals for the season.
Round 1 – Perth Thundersticks vs Canberra Chill
Saturday 7 October 3:30pm @ Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University
Round 2 – BYE
Round 3 – Tassie Tigers vs Perth Thundersticks
Friday October 20 3:30pm @ The Tasmanian Hockey Centre
Round 4 – Perth Thundersticks vs Hockey Club Melbourne
Sunday October 29 1:30pm @ Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University
Round 5 – Adelaide Fire vs Perth Thundersticks
Sunday November 5 10:30am @ MATE Stadium
Round 6 – Perth Thundersticks vs NSW Pride
Sunday November 12 1:30pm @ Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University
Round 7 – Brisbane Blaze vs Perth Thundersticks
Sunday November 19 12pm @ Queensland State Hockey Centre