The 36-degree weather wasn’t the only thing that scorched the Perth Thundersticks fans during round one of the JDH Hockey One season, the Thundersticks dazzled at Perth Hockey Stadium, with both the men and women emerging with a 4-1 victory over Canberra Chill.
The season-opening win was made all the more exciting by the addition of three new Thunderstick recruits – Jesse Reid, Lexie Pickering and James Day.
Formerly from Brisbane Blaze and now a UWA local, 22-year-old Jesse Reid had a stellar debut into the Thundersticks team, which she humbly credited to excellent preparation and teamwork from the squad in the lead up to the season.
“I’m excited to be playing great hockey with some great girls,” she said.
“I know that we’ll have a really good crack and hoepfully come out on top.”
Reid shone from the outset of her debut with a measured and impenetrable disposition, and her tireless work ethic was rewarded when she was named Player of the Match for round one.
“It was quite shocking, but really nice,” she said.
“I just tried to play my role and do my best for the team and [winning it] was really nice.”
Reid was selected into the Brisbane Blaze team at just 18-years-old and has played for the team in all Hockey One tournaments since then.
Despite living in Queensland for the majority of her lifer, Reid has always had ties to WA.
Her mother was originally from Busselton, and parts of her family still live in Perth, which played a large role in the young star’s decision to move across the country with her partner in March of this year.
The Thundersticks will face off against the Blaze at the Queensland State Hockey Centre on Sunday 19 November, the final round of the 2023 home and away season, which Reid says she is eager to play in.
“I’m not nervous yet, but I probably will be when it gets closer [to the game],” she said.
“I’m excited to play some good hockey and see my friends again.”
Lexie Pickering was another Thundersticks debutant for the women’s side.
The 22-year-old’s first game for WA was full of zeal, and her offensive efforts worked wonders to break down the Chill’s defence.
Originally from Manly, New South Wales, Pickering started her Hockey One career with NSW Pride in 2019, also at 18-years-old.
Since their selections, Pickering and Reid have met on the field multiple times. The pair played against one another in the Jillaroos Pink and Gold teams during the 2022 Domestic Series.
More recently, the girls became teammates at UWA, playing an oustanding season together and only narrowly missing out on the Premier Division 1 Premiership.
Lexie Pickering will hope to line up against her old side on Sunday 12 November, when the Perth Thundersticks take on NSW Pride at Perth Hockey Stadium.
The third Thundersticks recruit to debut during round one was James Day, who scored a magnificent hat-trick from three penalty corners against his old team Canberra Chill.
Day moved to the west from ACT five years ago, but only made his move from the Chill to the Thundersticks this season.
Before the move, he was a weapon for the side, totalling eight goals last season, all of which were scored from penalty corners.
The star forward admitted it was strange to play against his old teammates, but there was still a lot of respect exhibited between himself and the Canberra side.
“It was a bit odd, but it was a new challenge to look forward to, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season,” he said.
Day has also played a key role for Melville City Hockey Club over the past few years, winning the Eric Pearce top goal-scorer award for the Premier League in 2021, and guiding his team to back-to-back premierships in 2021 and 2022.
Reid, Pickering and Day all dazzled in their debut matches, seamlessly fitting into the Perth Thundersticks squads, and are all ready and raring to go for gold again this JDH Hockey One season.