THE NSW dynasty gained a vice-like grip on power after a stunning double at the Australian Indoor Championships in Wollongong on Sunday.
The men’s team made it nine titles in a row with a 5-2 thrashing of ACT in the final, less than two hours after the women reclaimed the crown with a 5-0 thumping of Western Australia.
Any hint of complacency when the ACT’s Lewis Shepherd scored to make it 3-1 shortly after half-time was stamped out when Nigel Croke, one of the few non-Illawarra players in the squad, hit the target from the field.
Emerging Kookaburras star Blake Govers put them within touching distance of the trophy with nine minutes remaining to make it 5-1.
Troy Sutherland converted a penalty corner on the final play, but by then the NSW celebrations were already underway.
Albion Park’s Emma McLeish set the tone for the final day onslaught, scoring a double as they turned the tables on Western Australia.
NSW had let a two-goal lead slip in a 4-3 loss to the westerners to start the tournament, but it only fuelled their desire on Sunday. The win was also a slice of redemptions after losing last year’s decider to Queensland who took out their frustration in the third-place playoff with an 8-nil win over ACT.
“When we were three and four up (on Sunday), we just wanted to keep going,” McLeish said afterwards.
“We had the loss to them in our minds, we were disappointed but it was great to have another chance against them today.
“The girls have all put a lot of work into winning it back, so pretty happy to get the reward.”
Ogilvie’s first-half strike also put his name on the competition’s leading goalscorer award with 13, one ahead of teammate Jack Hayes, with ACT’s Kookaburras star Glenn Turner third on nine.
WA’s Karri Somerville led the women’s scorers with 11, as Nicole King was the leading NSW player.
McLeish is now part of an Australian squad to fly out for a world indoor tour in Europe on Saturday, chasing 2018 World Cup selection in July.
“Hopefully it’s a step towards a lot of the NSW girls being picked,” she said.
- AUSTRALIAN INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Men’s final: NSW 5 (S Govers, S Beaton, F Ogilvie, N Croke, B Govers) d ACT 2 (L Shepherd, T Sutherland); Third-place playoff: QUEENSLAND 6 (A Campbell 2, J Taylor 2, A McClelland, D Spence) d WESTERN AUSTRALIA 5 (N Tate 2, A Vaitekenas, M Claxton, J Carroll).
Women’s final: NSW 5 (E McLeish 2, C Rieck, R Divall, N King) d WA 0; Third-place playoff: QUEENSLAND 8 (N Crick 3, L Howard, E Jackat, A Swann, A Fey, L Richards) d ACT 0.