Rocky Royals reign hockey challenge at CQUniversity
ROCKY hockey's depth and strength was again on display at the under 13 State Team Challenge at CQUniversity on the weekend.
In the girls competition, the Rocky Royals reigned supreme, defeating the Brisbane Blues in an all-action final 4-2.
This effectively makes the Royals the best under 13 girls' indoor hockey side in the state. And this was reflected in the Queensland team selections from the tournament, with six Rocky girls and five boys making the state teams.
The Royals were undefeated, coasting comfortably through their three pool games to reach the final, where they met the number one Brisbane outfit.
Their performance in the pool games lifted their confidence. And it showed in the final.
"We were pretty confident going into the final," Royals coach Robert Sweeney said.
"Our style of play to get us there was working well."
At half-time, it was clear the Royals were the superior team, leading two goals to the good.
And they kept up the pressure immediately following the re-start.
Their team work and ball control was excellent and sustained pressure led to their third goal to take a 3-0 lead.
Shortly after, Brisbane won a penalty goal and they converted to get one back and hit the scoreboard for the first time.
But the Royals kept coming and Rowlande Williams' (bottom left) shot on goal was just blocked, but in the ensuing goal mouth scramble they won a penalty corner.
As they had done all tournament, their set piece work was exceptional. A fine trap and strong shot gave Brisbane no chance and the ball went waist high and fast into the net.
"Our corner battery was good all tournament," Sweeney said.
"Our scoring percentage was very high."
Brisbane rallied and a good shot on goal ricocheted off Rocky's post and it was now time for the Royals to scramble in defence.
They did so well to just keep it out.
Rocky's Storm Duke (top right) was playing bravely against bigger and older opponents.
And at the back Nikyta Campbell was strong in defence at right back, defusing numerous Brisbane attacking raids and using the sideboards wisely to send the ball up court.
Up front the Moffat girls were a handful, Ebonee (top left) and Jessica constantly causing headaches for the Brisbane defence, particularly down the right wing.
And Renee Sweeny was able to create space to work the ball up court.
In the dying seconds Brisbane won a penalty corner and they scored.
But it didn't matter, the Royals had won 4-2.
"That was a bit of a coup," Sweeney said.
"Beating the best Brisbane team to win the State Team Challenge. We were outstanding. All the girls played so well."
The two Rocky boys' sides finished fifth and sixth.
Riley O'Hanlon - shadow.
Cassidy Knuth -shadow (bottom right).