NSW and its Tamworth connections are celebrating double national title success after both the men’s and women’s sides won their respective hockey tournaments.
On Saturday in Perth the women’s side containing Tamworth’s Ashley Ninness and Armidale’s Georgie Morgan and coached (assistant) by Tamworth’s Greg Doolan beat Queensland 3-1 to win the gold.
The day before on home soil the NSW men hammered Victoria 7-2 in their final.
Brandan Horner and Sam Liles were part of the Blues’ success with Horner playing an integral role on the scoreboard.
He scored twice in the five-goal win, striking in the 41st minute and then slotting their final goal in the 65th minute.
The next day the the women turned around a 5-nil defeat to Queensland in the round games in emphatic fashion.
Doolan said that game was the worst they played all tournament.
“We lost Mathilda (Carmichael) in the first three minutes of that match,” he said.
The Hockeyroos squad member was one of their key defenders and further injured their defensive stocks after they’d lost another defender in the last two minutes of the game before.
“We had to shuffle things around a bit and two of our younger ones had to step up,” Doolan said.
It also meant Morgan and Ninness had to play bigger roles and bigger minutes.
Morgan actually got to captain them in the final and had an outstanding tournament.
“It was her last year in the 21s.
“She went out with a bang,” Doolan said.
Ninness was also outstanding.
He said heading into the final everyone knew they could play a lot better than they played in the round games, and they delivered on that.
“That was the best game we played,” he said.
“We moved the ball really early and used our midfield really well and that just created opportunities and had Queensland on the backfoot.”
“Particularly in the second half we had a lot of play.”
They went into half-time at 1-all but were “probably lucky” to be level with Queensland scoring just after the buzzer.
It would have made it 2-1 but was disallowed.
But the second half belonged to NSW and after going ahead in the 43rd minute they sealed the win with a 70th minute penalty corner to Tegan Richards.