NEW South Wales has emphatically smashed a 10-year under 21s women’s Hockey Australia national championship hoodoo, downing South Australia 3-1 courtesy of a dominant first-half showing in the championship’s decider in Adelaide on Saturday.
The NSW girls, who boasted the services of Orange’s Pete Shea in the role of assistant coach, shot out to a 2-0 lead at half-time.
It was a near perfect 35 minutes of hockey.
But the tide soon turned.
South Australia drew first blood in the second-half, reducing NSW’s advantage to 2-1 before the Blues secured the win late in the final, scoring the defining goal inside the last minute of the clash to claim victory 3-1 and take out the 2012 crown.
Shea said the win was set up with a near faultless first-half effort.
“It really was a game of contrasting halves. We were up by two goals after the first half and South Australia didn’t have a shot at goal. It was a completely dominant performance,” Shea said.
“Then in the second half we only had the one shot and scored in the final 20 seconds. But at that stage of the match South Australia had taken their goalkeeper off looking for another goal. We defended strongly though.”
Shea praised the performance of NSW goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram.
The Wagga Wagga product was forced to fend-off a spirited fight back from the South Australian girls in the second half, with three or four short corner saves in the dying stages of the match proving crucial.
Shea said the NSW girls were deserved winners.
“They’re a very talented group in NSW at the moment,” he said.
“Looking at this result and the make up of the Australian team, NSW has the pool of talent at the moment in Australian hockey.”
NSW progressed through to the final after accounting for the ACT 4-1 in the championship’s semi-final stage.
South Australia progressed to the decider thanks to a 4-3 win over Queensland.
Shea said the NSW side’s efforts in the big games of the tournament were impressively dominant.
“It was the ACT’s first foray in the semis and we were made to work hard but the girls dominated the second half.”