A solitary goal from HC Melbourne striker Laura Desmet decided the result in the teams’ previous encounter back in Round 2, and with both teams boasting the best attacks and stingiest defences in the competition, one mistake or moment of brilliance could again be the difference.
HC Melbourne needed a nail biting shootout win against Canberra Chill to progress to the decider. It was the second week running HC Melbourne have endured a shootout after being on the wrong side of the ledger against Adelaide Fire a week earlier in what was their only loss of the season.
This experience in the crunch could hold them in good stead if it becomes cutthroat again tomorrow, however they will be determined to utilise the home ground advantage and win it in regulation time.
Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch was in stellar form for HC Melbourne in the victory over the Chill, and together with talented youngster Amy Lawton and fellow Hockeyroo Sophie Taylor, the Victorians have a great balance of experience and youth.
Including her winning goal in the penalty shootout against Canberra Chill, Madi Ratcliffe has scored in all bar two of HC Melbourne’s matches this season and if she can hit the scoreboard again tomorrow it will likely go a long way to putting Hockey Club Melbourne on the trophy.
But to claim the title the home side faces a momentous challenge in the form of a Brisbane Blaze outfit that has improved the longer the season has gone.
Despite an early splutter which saw them lose their opening two matches, the Queenslanders have won five in a row, scoring 17 goals and recording four clean sheets in the process.
Led by veteran and current Hockeyroos captain Jodie Kenny, it has been 246 minutes since the Blaze have conceded a goal. This defensive resilience has allowed the Blaze’s attacking brigade to go to work at the other end and they have proven to be deadly at penalty corners.
Ash Fey and Britt Wilkinson have combined for nine goals for the Blaze this season, and with the three Fitzpatrick sisters set to line up alongside each other for a second straight week, the Blaze will be hoping it all comes together when the first push back happens just after 4pm AEDT.
Women’s Grand Final
HC Melbourne v Brisbane Blaze
Saturday 16 November 2019
State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne
Match Start: 4:00pm AEDT
Tickets: Click here for ticketing details
Broadcast: LIVE on Fox Sports Channel 503 and Kayo
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #HCMvBBZ #HockeyOne #H1Finals
HC Melbourne Women’s team: 1.Sophie Taylor, 2.Aisling Utri, 3.Nicola Hammond, 5.Kristina Bates, 7.Kary Chau, 12.Carly James, 14.Laura Barden, 20.Hayley Padget, 21.Florine van Grimbergen, 22.Madi Ratcliffe, 23.Samantha Snow (c), 25.Hannah Gravenall, 27.Rachael Lynch (GK), 33.Amy Lawton
Brisbane Blaze Women’s team: 1.Savannah Fitzpatrick, 2.Madison Fitzpatrick, 3.Layla Eleison, 4.Ashlea Fey, 5.Rosie Malone, 6.Morgan Gallagher, 7.Jodie Kenny (c), 8.Jordyn Holzberger, 9.Jesse Reid, 12.Kendra Fitzpatrick, 14.Meg Pearce, 15.Hannah Astbury (GK), 19.Morgan Mathison, 22.Britt Wilkinson
In: 9.Jesse Reid
Out: 13.Rebecca Greiner
How they got there…
HC Melbourne (Finished 1st)
Rd 1 v Perth Thundersticks (A) W 3-1 (Messent 5’, Ratcliffe 60’/60’)
Rd 2 v Brisbane Blaze (H) W 1-0 (Desmet 23’)
Rd 3 BYE
Rd 4 v Canberra Chill (H) W 2-0 (Ratcliffe 30’, Gravenall 35’)
Rd 5 v NSW Pride (A) W 7-2 (Lawton 7’, Utri 28’/28’, Messent 30’/49’, Hammond 42’, Ratcliffe 56’)
Rd 6 v Tassie Tigers (A) W 5-2 (Gravenall 7’/7’, Desmet 33’, Ratcliffe 55’/60’)
Rd 7 v Adelaide Fire (H) L 1-1 (3-4 on penalties) (Bates 60’)
Semi v Canberra Chill (H) W 0-0 (1-0 on penalties)
Brisbane Blaze (Finished 2nd)
Rd 1 v Canberra Chill (A) L 2 (2)-2 (3) (Malone 43’/43’)
Rd 2 v HC Melbourne (A) L 0-1
Rd 3 v Adelaide Fire (A) W 4-2 (Harris 5’, Fey 21’, Wilkinson 44’, Eleison 50’)
Rd 4 v Tassie Tigers (H) W 5-0 (Harris 8’, Wilkinson 15’/15’/42’, Fey 38’)
Rd 5 v Perth Thundersticks (H) W 3-0 (Fey 15’/35’, Harris 43’)
Rd 6 BYE
Rd 7 v NSW Pride (H) W 2-0 (Kenny 26’, M.Fitzpatrick 41’)
Semi v Adelaide Fire (H) W 3-0 (K.Fitzpatrick 32’, Wilkinson 34’, M.Fitzpatrick 48’)