A grand Grand Finals day for Sutho juniors

Sutho team mates  together, even after a gave it all loss

As the sun rose on Sunday, Sutho dreamers would have been weighing up the possibilities. The fairy tale: seven teams in six grand finals – and six Sydney East Hockey Association premierships?

All the teams couldn’t win: it was Sutho v Sutho in the headline game of the day, when our Blue Tongues were to face off against our Geckos in the U17s.

It was a brilliant morning for hockey at Moorebank and the parents and supporters packed the hills around the three fields where our teams lined up. Blue hair and war paint were the proud Sutho colours worn by many players.

A great summary of the day came from our Junior Convenor, Dave Richardson:

Anxious moments

The 4-0 winning score line suggests the 11As had a comfortable outing, but I’m sure coach Todd and manager Ruth had some anxious moments throughout the game.

The 11Bs looked to be cruising at 3-0 up in the second half, but Bankstown came storming home, scoring two quick goals. The brains trust were worried (Andrew, Kevin and Anna), but the players had it all in hand to take out the game with a 3-2 win.

An amazing act of kindness/good sportsmanship after the game, with one of the Bankstown mums presenting gifts for the Sutho players – she had taken the time to make up lolly bags for opposition team!

The 13As had a real fight on their hands with St George playing inspired hockey.

The Geckos were off their game today, but scrambled the whole game to eventually score a penalty stroke late in the second half and hold on for a 1-0 win.

The 13Bs also had a fight on their hands with the Moorebank team proving quite a handful.

Nail biting

Jo and Tony’s warriors were creating opportunities, but couldn’t put a goal away until a few minutes before the full time hooter – the crowd went wild – and then had a nail biting finish to hold on 1-0.

The 15As started as underdogs and played without their coach, manager and two players who couldn’t make the game.

Things went from bad to worse when St George scored an early goal to make the task even more daunting. The Geckos fought bravely throughout but went down 4-0.

The U17 Grand Final was a terrific encounter going into double extra time with the crowd thoroughly enjoying the spectacle.

The Blue Tongues came from behind twice in the game to score a golden goal in the second period of extra time to take out the game 3-2 over the Geckos. It was an amazing game to finish the day.

Thank you so much to all the parent photographers who contributed to our big pictorial coverage of the day: Anna Domrow, Fiona Rast, Tony Duhne, Rory Staples and Craig Turner.

Just part of the big Sutho contingent at the Sutho U17 v Sutho U17 grand final

Match reports

 U17 Sutho Blue Tongues 3 Sutho U17 Geckos 2

13 games, 10 wins, 45 goals; all leading to this weekend’s grand final.

No quarter

The Blue Tongues had been working towards the grand final all season, and at some points it looked like we weren’t going to make it.

But the team persevered, and on Sunday morning, donned their blue jerseys … and then donned their white bibs as they took on the Sutho Geckos in the U17 Grand Final.

The morning started well, with all players arriving with plenty of time before the game as planned.

Late early, or early late?

This would have been great, if it weren’t for a certain unnamed coach (cough, Mason, cough) rocking up late for being early. Despite this, after an inspirational pre-game talk that would have brought tears to the eyes of mere mortals, the Blue Tongues took to the field for the match.

The Blue Tongue White Backs got off to a bit of a rocky start, with the strong Gecko attack putting pressure on our defence.

This early game intensity from the Geckos saw them score in the first few minutes of the match.

Lining up for the hit off again, the Blue Tongues woke up, remembered where they were, and returned the intensity with the passion that we’ve seen throughout the season.

The first half continued with both teams working the ball up the field for attacking opportunities, which were ultimately all shut down by the opposing defence.

Deflecting skills

Eventually, a cross-field pass from the left managed to find Max’s stick, which gave him the perfect opportunity to use some of his deflecting skills that he’s been working on and slot the ball into the goal. This saw the end of the first half with a 1-1 draw.

The second half was almost a seamless continuation of the first, with both teams seeing plenty of action getting the ball up the field, but ultimately being shut out by the opposition.

A few near misses by both teams saw both dugouts bury their heads in frustration.

With about 15 minutes to go, the Geckos managed to score, and a slight panic set in. Over the next couple of minutes it was evident that the Blue Tongues were desperate for a goal, but panicked passing led to more turnovers than opportunities.

Frenzied call

A frenzied call from the bench finally got across to the players, and the Blue Tongues regained their composure, realising there was still plenty of time in the match.

This composure finally paid off, with a short corner being awarded with three minutes to go. After a strong push found its mark, and the first runner was a fraction too late as Jack lined up for a shot, sending the ball into the back of the net.

The frenzy returned for both teams in the last minutes of normal time, desperate to win and not have to go into overtime. Despite their best efforts, the timer ran down, with 2 all on the board to end it.

After a quick talk the teams took the field again, this time with nine players apiece.

The first six minutes of overtime went like a blur, each team frantic to get that golden goal.

Specifics of this period are a little fuzzy, be that from eyes being closed, lack of oxygen to the brain from not breathing, or sudden cardiac arrest, but the intense first extra time ended with no changes to the score line.

After a quick side reversal, seven players from each team lined up again, with the enormous crowd waiting anxiously on the hill (honestly it was bigger than the crowd for the Senior Men’s Grand Final).

Desperate attempts

Again, this period started much like the first, each team making desperate attempts to score.

A close chance by the Geckos was shut down by the Blue Tongue defence, and the ball was sent flying up the other end of the field, but not before first being touched by a Geckos player.

Normally, playing in a 2-3-1 formation, the lone striker would be playing high, or at least getting themselves into the circle and letting of the midfield take the ball.

Ben apparently didn’t think of this and stepped up to take the free hit as the rest of his five team mates slowly made their way up the field. Taking the screams from the sideline to “leave it” as confirmation to go ahead, Ben touched the ball in and made a pass to Kye sprinting up through the centre.

A quick transfer to Groundwater running up on his right saw Lachie at the top of the circle with no one around. Taking full advantage of this Lachie wound up for the Biggest HIT OF HIS LIFE AND … well I’ll let the following images sum up the result.

U17 Sutho Geckos 2 Sutho Blue Tongues 3

U17s Geckos went down 3-2 in second round of golden goal in the Grand Final against the Sutherland Blue Tongues.

We pushed hard throughout the game scoring two well-deserved team goals.

We were proud of our team mates efforts and sportsmanship.

Upon reflection over the season, our team made significant improvement in skill development and maturity on the pitch.

What a great season.

U15A Sutho 0 St George 4

Coming into this Grand Final, we knew we were in for a tough match. Even though our games against  St George had been close, we had not managed to beat them during the season.

To make it even more challenging, we were missing our regular coach, regular manager and two players.

Despite this, the pre-game discussion was positive, focusing on how our structure would break down St George’s strengths and how we could make the most of our attacking opportunities by spreading the ball wide rather than attacking up the middle.

Under the pump

Unfortunately, we were under the pump from the starting whistle and St George were awarded a short corner within the first five minutes.

This had been one of their strengths through the year and we had worked on our short corner defence at training.

They were able to put together a well executed variation which resulted in a goal and we were 0-1 down.

Not to be disheartened, our players lifted and started to control the ball while we had it in our possession and our strikers worked hard to pressure St George while they had the ball.

This resulted in an even tussle where we narrowly missed a tap in on the back post and created some good opportunities within the attacking circles, and one attacking short corner, without success.

When St George broke against the run of play and were awarded another attacking short corner, we unfortunately just missed breaking it down and the score ticked over to 0-2.

Again we continued to pile on the pressure and moved the ball up the field when we had it – just not injecting enough width into the attack which meant the St George defenders were able to break our regular attacks down.

Defence stood up

Our defence continued to stand up and mark the attackers and St George were lucky to scramble a field goal with five minutes to go in the first half.

At 0-3 down, the half time talk did not let despair creep in.

We came out firing and continued to try to create opportunities. The sun had come out and we started to feel the effects of having only one substitute.

When St George scored with 10 mins to go, taking the score to 0-4, the writing was on the wall.

As a stand-in coach for the biggest game of the season, it was impressive to see the team spirit throughout the game and each team member’s willingness to push as hard as they could on a hot day.

In recognising this in each other, although they were all disappointed at losing the grand final, they were gracious in defeat and are a credit to each other, their parents, their regular coach Brad and manager.

Well done team and bring on next year!

Sutho U13A Geckos 1 St George Randwick 0

The Minor Premiers became Premiers by the hair of their chinny chin chins with a late goal and a 1-0 win! (Although I’m not sure if any Geckos have hair on their chins?).

Besides a narrow loss in their first game of the season, the Geckos had remained undefeated, predominantly playing skilled, determined hockey with a splash of scrambling (when needed).

Determined scrambling

However, for the grand final, the Geckos decided to make life interesting for their supporters deciding to rely more on a ‘determined scrambling’ style of hockey throughout the game.

Apparently Coach and Manager were not invited to the pre-game team talk where it was agreed amongst the players that there would be no passing or on-field communication of any kind, and under no circumstances was anyone allowed to score unless the team were awarded a penalty stroke.

A fairly audacious plan for a grand final…but it worked!

St George were always going to be very tough opposition – they are a very skilled team that had been improving throughout the season.

They did not let their supporters down – they played very good hockey during the game and were unlucky not to win.

St George attacked from the start of the game and had the Geckos on the backfoot with two early short corners.

Great saves

However some solid defence and great saves by Grace kept us in the game. Eventually the Geckos made a visit into St George’s half and also earned a couple of short corners, but these were also well defended.

The remainder of the first half predominantly involved St George attacking, the Geckos midfield and defence scrambling, and Grace not letting anything past her to ensure a 0-0 half time score.

It was an improved start to the second half with the Geckos immediately on the attack and pressuring St George’s defence.

However, the St George defence was like a wall and it was very difficult for the midfield and strikers to create strong opportunities.

Almighty roar

About mid-way through the second half St George were in control which eventually led to the ball slamming into the back of the Gecko’s goal and the umpire awarding the goal (with an almighty roar from the St George supporters).

From the dugout there didn’t seem to be much wrong with the goal – lots of bodies in the circle, no feet or dangerous play – but the second umpire immediately intervened for an umpire-to-umpire chat that resulted in the decision being overturned.

I understand the decision was that the ball surprisingly had not been touched inside the circle (which must have been the case as there didn’t seem to be any complaints from the St George players when the goal was overturned).

It wasn’t long before St George were again on the attack in the Geckos circle and earning a short corner.

However the St George supporters were up in arms as the umpire had blown their whistle early, before the ball was eventually pushed into the Geckos goal (albeit it was fairly obvious that the Gecko defenders had stopped upon hearing the whistle). The Geckos defence held strong to thwart the St George short corner.


There was now only five minutes on the clock and the game had now become a bit frantic with end to end hockey.

Eventually Corban got the ball into Jonty inside the St George circle and Jonty earned a short corner.

It was well-executed, with Matty getting a good shot away that cannoned into the foot of the defender on the inside of the left post.

From the dugout it seemed that the ball must have been deflected by the keeper’s kicker, as there didn’t seem to be any immediate complaints from the Geckos players – there was just momentary silence – before the umpire raised their arm to award a penalty stroke and there was a huge sigh of relief from the Sutho supporters and dugout!

Taking responsibility

Fortunately the team had practiced penalty strokes at training and Matty stepped up to take on the responsibility for the team.

There didn’t seem to be any nerves, with Matty calmly rocketing the ball into the back of the net to put the Geckos 1-0 up.

St George didn’t give up, attacking to the end, and the Geckos didn’t give up, scrambling to the end! What relief when the full-time hooter sounded!

Although it had not been the Geckos’ best game, throughout the season the players had learned to tough out the difficult times and then take their opportunities.

The grand final had been a battle where the players continued to find themselves on the back foot, but they refused to wilt under the sustained pressure.

It was a hard fought win making all supporters proud of the teams’ fighting spirit on the day. Well done Geckos!

Goal: Matty Rose.

 Sutho U13B Blue Tongues 1 Moorebank Blue 0

We won !!!!.

The whole team played really well.

Thanks to Jo for coaching all season – she did a great job with the team!!!

Sutho U11A Geckos 4 St George Randwick 0

What a cracker!

After a fantastic season culminating with results showing that the Geckos’ were undefeated, locked in the Minor Premiership, and the Premiership for 2018 following a strong win against a valiant St George team.

You could feel the buzz in the air as each Gecko arrived at the Moorebank field, donned their Sutho war paint and anticipated how their big game was going to be played out.

Training paid off

Our efforts at training became evident within minutes, and our solid game structure led to numerous short corners and attempted shots on goal.

The defence stood strong, only conceding one goal in the first half thanks to a great build up finishing with a sweet shot by Josh.

With only a slim 1-0 lead, the Geckos continued their relentless pressure and stepped their game up a couple of gears in the second half.

The cracks began to appear in our opposition and the goals came in due course.

Three more unanswered goals hit the backboard, including another two from our goal scoring machine Josh, and another from Amy who slotted a fantastic goal off the back of an amazing pass cross field from Kalahni.

Magnificent finish

A magnificent finish to the season that each player can be proud of.

Everyone on the team could have claimed the player’s player in this game: Yes, you all played that well!

Special mention needs to go to Archie, who volunteered to don the goalie gear for the finals series, had a blinder, and was duly rewarded with the Player of the Grand Final, as voted by the umpiring officials.

Geckos, you have made your Coach, Manager, Parents and Club, so very proud with your achievements. GO GECKOS!

 Sutho U11B  Bearded Dragons 3 Bankstown 2

And this was just the warm-up!!

Grand Final Day, and the Bearded Dragons headed down the M5 to a glorious Sunday festival of hockey at Moorebank.

Sutho war paint was applied, and after an extended warm-up, instructions were given: ‘Out there and at ‘em’, and, ‘Leave it all on the field’. The theatre and excitement had even attracted the Disney Channel to cover proceedings.

From the opening whistle it was clear that Bankstown were on their game.

Incredible efforts

They controlled the opening minutes, only to be denied by some incredible efforts by Thomas in goals.

It took some time for the Bearded Dragons midfield to settle, but once they did, Lachlan made the most of some good lead up work to score with a great strike in front of goal.

Moments later, Riley added another to the scoreboard , and the Bearded Dragons had snatched control of the game, dominating upfront and keeping Bankstown pinned in their own half.

Not long into the second half, Jack finished some brilliant passing efforts with a goal that put the Bearded Dragon 3-0 ahead, but this game would read like a good novel, it had a beginning, a middle, and – with two quick goals from Bankstown as it was just about to reach its climax, potentially an unexpected end.

Channeling lyrics

This is where the little Bearded Dragons champions began channelling the lyrics, ‘We’ll keep on fighting ‘til the end’, such was their hustle and exemplary teamwork against a rampaging Bankstown team in the last 10 minutes.

Kaylee was solid as a rock at the back. Emily showed her versatility as she switched between the forward and back lines as required.

Eliana was always ready at the post and chased to the end. Bethany pounced on the bigger Bankstown forwards from the backline.

Jack showed his experience working the sidelines to clear the midfield. Rohan was keeping everyone calm with his usual injection of energy.

Riley was putting his body on the line. Thomas was clearing anything that had the potential to be a game equalling goal.

Dominic was encouraging the team with his strength and stick work. Lastly, Lachlan, who fought on bravely despite a mid-game injury, showed on one foot his character and determination to pick up the Best on Field award.

Final seconds

The final seconds ticked down and the U11B Bearded Dragons were SEHA champions and undefeated in 2018. In his memorable acceptance speech Dominic summed it up well: Bankstown had made the Bearded Dragons a better team.  Bankstown had even pre-arranged lolly bags for all of our kids, demonstrating unity and respect. What a great gesture and example.

Scorers: Lachlan Hoy, Riley de Soza, Jack Margetson.

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