Hockey, Souths, Mike Elton and Wanderers Clinton McKay
Hockey, Souths, Mike Elton and Wanderers Clinton McKay Meg Bolton

Southern Suburbs bring 14 year dynasty to an end

HOCKEY: Calling in from a hospital bed, Southern Suburbs coach and player Nathan Christensen was not feeling the best but it was not Saturday night's celebration that had him in that state.

In his 11th year as an A1 player, Christensen can now call himself a grand final winner after stopping Wanderers short of their 15th consecutive championship with a 4-3 win in a nail-biting grand final.

Hockey, Souths, Mike Elton and Wanderers Clinton McKay
Hockey, Souths, Mike Elton and Wanderers Clinton McKay Meg Bolton

He spoke of the match that was, one that tested the will of both sides and left him with a broken hand.

"We did everything we spoke about heading into the match,” he said.

"We really wanted to work on how we started the first quarter, which we didn't do too well a couple of weeks ago against (the Wanderers).”

CHAMPIONS: Souths player Mike Elton in possession during Saturday's thrilling A1 men's grand final.
CHAMPIONS: Souths player Mike Elton in possession during Saturday's thrilling A1 men's grand final. Meg Bolton

He said pushing the lead out to two goals early in the match was monumental in the team's victory.

"Putting them on the back foot straight away was definitely a bit of a kick along for us,” he said.

He commended the Wanderers side who hit back hard at the start of the second half.

Hockey, Wanderers Brayden McKay shoots at Souths goalie Matt Olive
Hockey, Wanderers Brayden McKay shoots at Souths goalie Matt Olive Meg Bolton

"We were under the pump; they definitely had it over us for a while there,” he said.

"They were defending a bit of a loss and just put everything in attack, so it was pretty intense.”

"Credit to them, they gave us everything and we were just able to hold them off.”

Hockey, Wanderers Brayden McKay shoots at Souths goalie Matt Olive
Hockey, Wanderers Brayden McKay shoots at Souths goalie Matt Olive Meg Bolton

He praised the efforts of youngsters Kaleb Christensen and Darcy Milner who stepped up from juniors earlier in the season, as well as Robert Bell and goalkeeper Matt Olive.

Souths' brand of play stayed consistent over the season and there were only "minor tweaks” needed going into the finals campaign, according to Christensen.

The scoring flowed early for Souths with Steven Snell bagging two goals in the opening five minutes as the makeshift scaffolding grandstands erupted.

Hockey, Wanderers Brayden McKay shoots at Souths goalie Matt Olive
Hockey, Wanderers Brayden McKay shoots at Souths goalie Matt Olive Meg Bolton

Wanderers' frustration was made apparent with one player being carded and sent off for a trip on a Souths player.

Wanderers kept possession in their scoring half for much of the second quarter, however, their efforts were not rewarded on the scoreboard.

Souths made the most of their opportunities and bagged another goal before the half-time break.

Hockey, Wanderers, Dylan Plummer.
Hockey, Wanderers, Dylan Plummer. Meg Bolton

A fire was started under the Wanderers who were demanding in the second half.

Andrew Landsberg was on target, scoring Wanderers' first in the opening minutes of the half.

The goal was soon backed up by young-gun Clayton Evans, who found himself in prime scoring position halfway through the third quarter.

Hockey, Wanderers, Dylan Plummer
Hockey, Wanderers, Dylan Plummer Meg Bolton

Wanderers showed true grit as play resumed, punching hard into Souths' defence and keeping them scoreless in the fourth quarter.

With just over a minute left, Wanderers found a goal and increased the intensity in hopes to even the score in the dying seconds.

Hockey, Souths, Mike Elton and Wanderers Clinton McKay
Hockey, Souths, Mike Elton and Wanderers Clinton McKay Meg Bolton

Souths gave away a penalty corner in the dwindling seconds and Wanderers had their eyes fixed on levelling the score.

They found the goal but the score was not awarded and with that, an elated Souths team walked away as 2019 champions.

Christensen said Souths were now looking forward to the end-of-season fishing trip and resting injuries - his own included.



Election candidate pledges $15M for motorsports precinct

Premium Content Election candidate pledges $15M for motorsports precinct

‘The development of this precinct will provide a wide array of high value economic...

Watch Rocky secondary schools league games live

Premium Content Watch Rocky secondary schools league games live

No spectators allowed but you can get your fix with two games livestreamed each...