Queensland has been crowned the 2012 Menís Australian
Hockey League Champions after defeating Western Australia 3-2 in the Grand Final
at the National Hockey Centre in Canberra.
The best of Australian menís hockey talent was on display
in the Grand-Final with Queensland outlasting the reigning AHL Champions
Western Australia in an exciting game between two masterful attacking teams.
Queensland was dominant in the first half, and it was no
surprise when in the 10th minute; Dylan Wotherspoon worked the ball along the
backline to give the Blades the early advantage. Queensland surged forward and
only dogged defence from veteran Bevan George and WAIS athlete Aron Zalewski
kept them out.
It took WA fifteen minutes to mount any meaningful attack
but their efforts remained unrewarded as the reliable Jamie Dwyer gave the
Blades a two-goal cushion in the 26th minute.
Undaunted, WA kept pressing and Craig Boyne took
advantage of a hesitant Blades defence to slot the ball home.
WA continued to attack and was stopped only by the clock
as a relieved Queensland took a 2-1 lead into the break.
The second half became an arm wrestle as WA came out with
more purpose. AIS-WAIS scholarship holder Kiel Brown, Chris Bausor and Aron
Zalewski controlled the play for the Thundersticks as a nervous Blades team
took some time to regain their composure.
After 50 minutes, and against the run of play, Queensland
consolidated their lead when a mid-field toss from Rob Hammond found Kane
Posselt in space behind the WA defence. Posselt ran the ball along the back
line and as the WA defence retreated and prepared for a pass back to the centre,
he deftly scooped the ball into the top of the net to give Queensland a
Their renewed confidence was dented as WA went into
attack and after a scrap in the Bladesí circle, WA was awarded a penalty
stroke. Chris Bausor made no mistake and with 14 minutes on the clock, the
outcome of the game was again uncertain.
Neither side could take control and with three minutes
left, a desperate WA took off keeper Tristan Clemons (WAIS) to focus on
attacking with 11 players in the field. The tactic did not bear fruit and an
elated if not relieved Queensland celebrated as the final whistle sounded.
At the post-final presentations, Queenslandís Matthew
Swann was voted Player of the Final, whilst NSW captain Simon Orchard was voted
Player of the Tournament.
In the classification matches, the early morning game saw
Tasmania finish seventh when they responded positively to their indifferent
play-off performance to defeat a gallant South Australia 4-1. Northern
Territory turned the tables on the more fancied ACT to win 2-1 to claim fifth
position and relegate ACT to sixth. In the play-off for bronze, Victoria
overcame New South Wales' relentless pressure to score three late goals to win
3-1, after NSW held a deserved 1-0 half-time lead.
- Hockey Australia