Brisbane Blaze ended the NSW Pride’s bid for a title hat-trick with a thrilling upset shoot-out win in the Hockey One League grand final.
The Blaze won the shoot-out 5-3 and deny NSW Pride a third straight title, after letting slip a 3-1 lead deep into normal time of Sunday’s decider.
Victory ushered in double delight for the Blaze, with the women’s side claiming the title with a 4-1 win against Canberra.
Two penalty corner stunners from NSW star Blake Govers, which included one with the final play of the game, forced a 3-3 draw and a shoot-out. Govers was left in tears during his pitchside interview after the game.
Brisbane midfielder Jake Whetton, who missed his attempt in the gold medal shoot-out at the Tokyo Olympics, slotted the winning strike after Flynn Ogilvie missed for NSW.
“I’ve been on the other end of that,” Whetton said. “You go back to the drawing board and keep working hard at it and it pays off.
“You put yourself in that situation all year really. It’s a specialist skill and I put myself in a position to do something for the group.”
Cale Cramer’s double and Corey Weyer had given NSW breathing space in the final. But Govers, who hit four in the semi-final, dragged Blaze back with three PCs.
“It’s difficult, you’ve got such a high and then in a matter of seconds, you’ve got to sort yourself out,” Whetton said.
“You have to dump all that stuff, it’s essentially a new game, it’s five-on-five and the best execution of that skill comes out in those moments.
Brisbane Blaze Women produced a blistering final quarter performance lifted them to a 4-1 grand final win against a gallant Canberra Chill side – after Ireland’s Katie Mullan had given the Chill the lead.
Brisbane’s Savannah Fitzpatrick completed a sweeping counter attacking move to cue celebrations and give the Queenslanders a second Hockey One League women’s title in three seasons.
“We knew it was going to be a really tough and physical match but we knew if we stuck to our game plan, believed in each other and backed each other up, we knew could get across the line and I think that showed in the second half,” said Kershaw.
“We just had to keep persisting and knew eventually they would break, so we kept to the game plan and eventually it paid off.”