Wallaroos hop to premiership win
IT MIGHT not have been the best spectacle of hockey, but it was still a memorable day for the Wallaroos who ended their four-year premiership drought on Saturday.
After a closely fought season where all teams were capable of winning the Maryborough and District Division 1 women's competition, on the day it was a grinding win for the Wallaroos, prevailing 1-0 over Granville Rovers.
A grand final of missed chances was settled with an early goal from Melissa Wareing, who was clever enough to find the back of the net in front of a congested goal.
Both teams looked nervous and afraid to take on the game, while lacking a little finesse at vital stages.
Mind you, the Wallaroos have not won a Maryborough and District grand final since 2010, while the Rovers will have to wait another 12 months before getting a crack at their first title since 2009.
Having lost to Tinana and Uniteds in 2011 and 2012 before missing out on last year's grand final, Wallaroos coach Vicki Dove said there was a sense of relief and elation on the players' faces after the match.
"They've worked hard to get to where they are," she said.
Dove was the first to admit it wasn't the most pleasing game on the eye, but was all praise for her team who had to overcome a heavy injury toll to realise their dream.
"We've had a terrible year with injuries and sickness and we've used 28 players in the squad this season including lots of young ones," she said.
Dove said Sarah Kruger did a great job shutting down Rovers danger player Erin Crick, while Cassie and Trudi Pedersen worked in tandem to limit the influence of gun player Sarah Hawker.
Granville Tigers, meanwhile, made it an astonishing 16 consecutive Maryborough and District premiership after holding off a fast-finishing Wallaroos to win the men's grand final 4-3.
A double from man of the match Nathan Bristow proved the difference as the Tigers took their chances when it mattered most.
In highly-entertaining battle, the Wallaroos, led by Cody Goldenstein who also had a brace, opened the scoring before the Tigers clawed their way back to take a 2-1 lead into half-time.
The Tigers continued to push after the break, twice extending the margin to two goals in the second half before some steadfast defence in the final 10 minutes ensured the win.
Although the Wallaroos refused to wilt, Tigers coach Aaron Kenny felt the experience and composure of his men proved beneficial.
"It was a close game and we knew it would be, but I think some of our key guys stepped up and scored when it was crucial," he said. "It's very rewarding to win because you put a lot of work into it through the year."
MARYBOROUGH AND DISTRICT GRAND FINALS
Men's: Granville Tigers 4 (N Bristow 2, A Grevell, C Baker) def Wallaroos 3 (C Goldenstein 2, J Pedersen)
Women's: Wallaroos 1 (M Wareing) def Granville Rovers 0