He uncustomarily didn’t manage to find the back of the net but Ehren Hazell still had a big an influence on Services Workies’ two goal grand final win.
Hazell created countless opportunities for Workies, especially as they tried drag back a 3-1 deficit, and was duly adjudged the Butch Southwell Medal winner as the player of the grand final.
The 17-year old, who was last month named in Hockey Australia’s Futures group for 2016, has played in four of Workies’ eight straight premierships and said Sunday’s was the hardest.
“That was the first we haven’t lead at half-time,” he said.
They scored first but South United were quick to reply, and then scored twice in first 10 minutes of the second half to lead 3-1.
Workies had opportunity on opportunity to peg that back but they were either saved or missed the mark, and for Hazell it was for a while feeling a bit like dejavu.
“We were controlling the game but we couldn’t score,” he said.
“The same thing happened to us in Sydney.”
Us was he and Isaac Farmilo and their Norwest Strikers side in their Sydney Premier League final.
“We lost to Sutherland but had all the play in that,” Hazell said.
It was his second year playing in Sydney.
He played as a striker for the Strikers but pushed back to the midfield for Workies, and felt their fitness was probably where they got over Souths as they forced the game to extra-time and then scored two unanswered goals.
They’ve been virtually running their top 11 the whole game most games.
Coach Andrew Farmilo said they were probably a bit too direct in the first half.
“We seemed to receive the ball and run directly at the goal,” he said.
“We didn’t have that patience on the ball and maintain our width.”
The Souths defence didn’t make life easy for them either.
“They worked really hard to make sure they had numbers around the ball,” Farmilo said.
Particularly around the circle Hazell, for one, was often surrounded by multiple defenders.
He was still able to draw several penalty corners, not that Workies were able to do much with them. They had a rare off day there.
“We’ve been scoring off penalty corners all year and then it comes to the grand final and we couldn’t do it,” he said.
“We probably took some wrong options.”
Son Isaac broke the drought with the second of his hat-trick with just under 10 to go. It renewed the belief.
“Once we got that second one there was still nine minutes on the clock,” Farmilo (Andrew) said.
“When we got the third we were really confident.”
They then had a couple of jitters early in extra-time before Isaac Woodley put them in front with a “cracking goal” on the back stick.