Some of the photos available from the 2019 Inline Hockey National Championship held at the Starplex near Gawler, South Australia. This is the U9 South Australian team’s journey with a few other ring-in SA team photos thrown in. After many of the all conquering 2018 SA team’s members have moved up to the SA U11 team it would be interesting to see how the players of the 2018 SA Development team would go now as the sole SA team. The rules of the championship allow for teams to use female players playing down from older age groups*.
Game 1 against Queensland was at the ungodly time of 6:50 which would be difficult for all concerned. Rumour had it the starting goalie for the Queensland team was having helmet issues at the team photo session so the backup goalie would be needed. The SA team pounced and captain Hudson Elze fired some long shots which bounced and bobbled their way to the back of the net setting up a 4 goal lead early and giving SA a lot of confidence. At the half break Queensland reinstated their goalie, a much ‘bigger’ proposition, as they utilised the older female goalie rule*. Queensland started to get their game working too and SA goalie Riley Knapp was desperate for some more defensive help as a couple of high shots beat him and Qld would claw their way back, adding the next 4 goals , while SA struggled to find their way past the big goalie and could only watch their massive lead evaporate! Queensland would take the lead, but the plucky SA team fought their way back and levelled at 5 a piece, and then miraculously after Hudson Elze and Phoenix Hansen teamed up, Hansen would score with a mere 0.12secs left on the clock to take the points in Game 1.
Following on from the U9’s win, the SA U15 team posted a 7-2 win against Tasmania.
Game 2 for the SA U9 team was against Victoria which was expected to be difficult after the team found out the Victorian team had paid coaches and sponsors so they arrived with matched hockey bags! The pre-game drills out in the car park were impressive too. This would be the Victorian team’s first game so they would be up against a confident SA team coming off a last gasp win game against SA. Victoria would score early to take the lead and send a clear message Now used to each other the SA team started to gel. A sweet pass from Jordan Kutsche found Phoenix Hansen to show the Victorian team the SA team were serious. When the score was 2-2 the SA built on their confidence and after two quick goals found themselves in a good position. They didn’t let up and all SA players contributed to a confident 10-4 win. All 4 female players scored with Emma Eldhose posting 2. At the handshakes at the end of the game the Victorian team promised it would be very different the next next time they met!
Game 3, once again against Victoria saw the SA team off to a sluggish start trailing Victoria 1-2 before their game plan and team work started to click again. A moment of panic with a timeout called by coach Jason Bilberry and they refocused. This resulted in the confidence from the day before and the goals came with captain Hudson Elze once again dominating on the scoresheet. Brayden Reid-Bedford and Jordan Kutsche had their chances with a few shots on goal but were unlucky. Resolute in defence was Mickey Nottle once again, and towards the end of the day he was rewarded with a goal of his own. Final score in a dominant display 12-4 to SA. Kudos though to the 7 year old goalie from Victoria!!!
Game 4 and Queensland were serious in the U9 encounter. SA was out of the blocks but got hauled in and had to play catch up for most of the game. Highlight was Jordan Kutsche getting his first goal to stem the flow in the middle of the game and then Mickey Nottle late in the game cutting the deficit to 2 meaning Queensland would now need to beat Victoria by over 10 goals to claim top spot and straight into the grand final. They did this with ease carving up Victoria to the tune of 13-0 sending SA and Victoria to the elimination/semi final at the rude hour of 6am on Friday.
U13 game against Queensland on 02/10/2019 went to a 2-2 draw.