Tasmania’s Under 15 Boys and Girls teams have both recorded 7th-place finishes in the recently completed Australian Championships in Narellan, NSW, while Maddison Brooks was named both the Player of the Tournament and the Leading Goalscorer.
The Under 15 Girls won their classification match against VIC Development 3-1 with Maddison Brooks again scoring a double (13’, 25’) either side of a Zayna Jackson (17’) goal. The Under 15 Boys drew their final match with QLD Gold 2-2 with Milo Gee (11’) adding another goal to his tally and Luke Palmer (32’) getting his first of the tournament.
It was a good way to bounce back after both sides lost their semi-finals on Saturday, with the Boys losing 0-4 to ACT and the Girls being knocked out in a sudden-death penalty shootout after drawing 1-1 with Queensland Gold. Maeve Bylsma (54’) rescued them in regular time with a PC goal just minutes after conceding, but in the following shootout it was Tasmania who missed first on the third sudden death penalty, with QLD Gold being successful from theirs.
Coach Sofie McLeod said they didn’t take their chances against QLD Gold, but were gutsy in their efforts to fight back late and were unlucky to lose it in the penalty shootout.
“We went into today’s game against Victoria wanting to finish the tournament well. We’ve played a really good team tournament, the girls have learned a lot along the way, and played really great hockey,” she said.
“It’s just unfortunate to win 5 out of 7 matches in a tournament and finish seventh.”
Zayna Jackson, who slammed home her 2nd goal of the Championships today, said that motivation for the win today was easy to find.
“Everybody gave 100%, everyone wanted to win, and we were really aggressive,” she said.
She was proud of the way the team played throughout the Championships despite how unlucky they had been.
“We’re kind of disappointed, but we know we only lost two games, and that would have got us in a medal match at any other tournament, so we’re proud of how we’ve played.”
For the Under 15 Boys it was a positive end to the tournament where they learned a lot and developed as a team.
Coach Nathan Dart was full of praise for how they handled themselves after a difficult start to the tournament, consistently building throughout the competition, save for a lapse against ACT on Saturday. Their seventh-place finish and 2-2 draw in the final game gave the side a good idea of where they are at as a team and where they need to improve.
“I’m content with the draw. A little bit frustrated not to get the win in the end, but this result sums up our tournament pretty well – not being able to finish off teams, but staying competitive,” he said.
“We had already had a win against them earlier, and we were expecting them to come out strong, which they did, but we stuck to game plan.”
“We made some positional changes to see how some of the boys went. I threw Luke [Palmer] up forward, told him to focus on his strengths, which is speed and strength over the ball, and get us a goal – and 60 seconds later he did just that.”
Luke Palmer slotted a goal in 32nd minute that gave Tassie a 2-1 lead until QLD equalised 10 minutes later. He said the match against the ACT the day before, which they lost 0-4, was due to the Boys being a bit flat after finding out they couldn’t make it to a bronze medal match and the fatigue of a hard tournament, but that they were determined to make amends on the final day.
“We were all up and about today. We didn’t want to finish eighth, wanted to leave it all on the pitch, nothing to lose, and put it all out there,” he said.
The eventual winners of the Championships were WA Gold in the Boys and Victoria in the Girls.