Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association finalises grand final opponents in Premier League

TACKING Point Thunder Blue Tongues and the Wauchope Warriors progressed to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association grand final on Saturday.

The Warriors will face the youthful Tacking Point Thunder Omni in the women’s Premier League decider.

Emily Brazel played an integral role as Wauchope Warriors progressed to the grand final on Saturday.

In a see-sawing contest that saw five goals scored, Wauchope defeated Port City Piranhas 3-2 to earn another shot at Tacking Point Thunder Omni.

Warriors captain, Michelle Smith, who couldn’t be there, said the team did really well.

“It was a great match with Port City, very close.  The Warriors did really well,” she said.

“It will be a very tough game on Saturday.  We are prepared for a hard battle.  The girls are very excited.  They are really pumped up and ready to go, and it will be a good grand final.”

Piranhas coach Angela van Zeeland was proud of her team’s performance although disappointed they fell just short of the big dance.

“The game to and froed; it wasn’t like a 3-0 loss and we came back, it was 2-all until they got a penalty stroke, but they were the better team across the game,” she said.

“The scores alternated and there were opportunities until the last 10 or 15 minutes.”

Warriors duo Brazel and Jessie Galloway were constant threats for the Piranhas defence.

“They were definitely players that caused us a little bit of havoc for us,” van Zeeland said.

Sarah Storrier and Danielle Blenkhorn tried to provide the x-factor for Port City, but ultimately it was the Warriors class and experience that shone through.

“(Those two) stood out in their areas, because Sarah is a striker and Danielle is a midfielder or defender,” van Zeeland said.

“We probably need a little bit more experience at that high level across more players because (Wauchope) have more experience across the park.”

Van Zeeland said her team’s third-place finish exceeded the expectations they had set at the start of the year.

She admitted the two best teams in the competition would play in the grand final.

“My expectations weren’t to go through any further than (Saturday),” she said.

“We were probably pleased to be in the top three given the two top teams are the two best teams in the competition and should be in the grand final.”

The Blue Tongues overcame Tacking Point Thunder Cougars 1-0 in their semi-final while it was also a one-goal difference in the Warriors’ 3-2 win over Port City Piranhas.

It means the Blue Tongues will clash with the Bull Sharks in Saturday’s men’s Premier League grand final.