WA’s Australian Hockey League teams had mixed fortunes in Adelaide during the opening weekend of the 2018 tournament.
The Thundersticks completed a heroic late comeback to earn a 5-3 win over the SA Hotshots having trailed by three. This followed on from the WA Diamonds earlier one-goal loss to the SA Suns where they nearly produced a dramatic comeback of their own.
Details of the completed matches are below, courtesy of Hockey Australia.
SA Hotshots 3 (Hetem 3, 3', 41') WA Thundersticks 5 (Gavranich 42', 42', 59' PP, 59'), Adelaide
Dane Gavranich netted five goals to give a WA side with six debutants a dramatic win over the Hotshots in Adelaide on Sunday afternoon.
WA were trailing 3-0 after Ross Hetem's third goal in the 41st minute, before a remarkable late rally with Gavranich converting two field goals and scoring in the Thundersticks' PumpPlay.
Hetem had opened the scoring when he dived in at the far post and steered a shot past Tyler Lovell in the third minute. He produced a clever dink from the conversion attempt to make it 2-0.
Hetem looked to seal the win with a close-range 41st minute strike but left the door open when he failed with his conversion attempt as Lovell stood up to another attempted lob.
Gavranich made him pay almost immediately, scoring with a close-range deflection from the restart which he coolly converted.
With WA taking their PumpPlay with five minutes to go, Gavranich netted a dramatic 59th minute winner forcing home from close-range after a low cross. Gavranich’s conversion added icing on the cake.
SA Suns 3 (Welstead 28' PP, 28') WA Diamonds 2 (Rogers-Uff 41', Tonkin 54'), Adelaide
The SA Suns edged the WA Diamonds 3-2 with SA Premier League Best and Fairest winner Welstead netting a converted field goal during her side's PumpPlay late in the first half.
Welstead raced into the D and fired in an angled shot which eluded everyone and went in at the far post. She wrong-footed WA keeper Aleisha Power to add the conversion to make it 3-0.
Sage Rogers-Uff and Shanea Tonkin scored second-half goals for WA but both missed their conversion attempts.
Rogers-Uff pulled one back in the 41st minute from point-blank range after a good run from Kathryn Slattery. SA keeper Ash Wells made a good low save to deny her from the conversion attempt.
Tonkin made it 3-2 with six minutes left when Wells couldn’t only parry Slattery’s shot. Wells pressured Tonkin effectively from the conversion attempt with the Diamond blazing over the top in a crucial play.
WA used their PumpPlay in the final five minutes but couldn’t find a winner.