It was only at 10pm on Friday night India Draper was locked into Confederates' side for their women's Premier League Hockey derby against Ex-Services on Saturday after battling illness.
In a two-goal, match-winning performance, Draper showed why any side would wait until the final minute before ruling her out as she proved the difference in a scintillating and hard-fought clash.
Both sides were on the board in the first 10 minutes of the game, with Ex-Services scoring through stand-in skipper Shian Duboc before Draper found the back of the net after dancing around a defender to equalise minutes later.
The next 40 minutes of the contest proved a deadlocked arm wrestle as the unstoppable force of the Feds' midfield and strikers came up against the immovable objects of the Ex-Services' defence.
Leanne Kennewell and Alison Baker were both phenomenal as the whole defensive unit for Ex-Services stayed strong in the face of Draper, Eva Reith-Snare, Millah Allcorn and more, who kept pounding on the gate for three quarters.
Ex-Services threw plenty of players behind the ball, which meant moving forward - outside of a brilliant spell from Chloe Barrett where she cut the lines with long passing - was difficult, but when they did they looked dangerous.
But with three minutes to go in the game, the ball fell into the lap of Reith-Snare and the Ex-Services defence parted like the Red Sea and allowed the midfielder to cut her own path and flick the ball in to Draper, who duly converted from directly in front.
Skipper Ellen Warner said it was "amazing" watching that final goal hit the back of the net to break the deadlock.
"The last goal was wonderful. It was beautiful to see how we were playing as a team and playing together," she said.
"It was a very hard-fought win because Ex-Services don't give up and we were really happy to get away with a win."
The derby rivalry played a factor, according to Warner, who said their side had to lift.
"They're really hard players, don't give up and will give it to you which is awesome and really lifted us up," she said.
They're really hard players, don't give up and will give it to you which is awesome and really lifted us up.Confederates skipper Ellen Warner, speaking about Ex-Services
Ex-Services coach Michelle Barrett said her girls were "reasonably happy" with their performance, but it hurt to see that last goal sink the side's hopes for a draw.
"Especially without a lot of time on the scoreboard to capitalise on drawing that game, it's tough for the girls to keep their heads up and hockey's a mental game and it's easy to drop your heads," she said.
"I felt we got off to a really good start, the girls kept to their structure really well. We seemed to be a little bit off the ball the whole game so a little bit behind the play.
"We wanted to take a lot of energy to that last quarter and unfortunately I don't think we brought enough energy and that's where the other team capitalised."
She praised the work of her defenders in tackling one of the best young attacking groups in the competition head-on.
"I felt the tackling at the back today was a feature and on the back of that we were able to get into the attacking positions so I have to compliment our defence," Barrett said.
I felt the tackling at the back today was a feature and on the back of that we were able to get into the attacking positions so I have to compliment our defence.Ex-Services' coach Michelle Barrett
"They have a couple of handy strikers and tackling those you have to be quite brave if that ball is coming at you pretty hard.
"We need to capitalise on a few more attacking opportunities. We're getting a few attacks together but we need to put those phases together in the coming weeks."
- CONFEDERATES 2 (India Draper 2) def EX-SERVICES Ex-Services 1 (Shian Duboc)
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