The NSW Pride men's team assured themselves of a Hockey One finals place, beating the Tasmania Tigers in a close shootout after drawing 1-1 at full time in the fifth round of the league last Saturday.
In a happy double for the Pride, their women's team also bounced back to beat the Tigers 8-1 in a clinical display, following a 5-2 loss to Canberra the previous weekend.
Despite Illawarra Kookaburra Blake Govers still being absent from the team, NSW were bounced by the return of Flynn Ogilvie and captain Jack Hayes at the Sydney Olympic Park last Saturday.
However, the Tigers played a great defensive game to keep out the Pride and earn the equaliser in the final seconds of the game. In the penalty shoot out, it was Illawarra players Ogilvie, Hayes and Daine Richards, and Newcastle's Ky Willott who took the score to 4-4.
In the ensuing sudden death, Willott scored again, making it 5-4 with the Tigers missing their next shot.
Wollongong Kookaburra Ogilvie was a little disappointed with the team's performance but pleased with the win, confirming a spot in the finals and building towards the finals in Canberra at the end of November.
"We did dominate for long periods but we just didn't have the execution we have come to expect from our team in the attacking 25," Ogilvie said.
"Tassie did defend well and we knew they would as this is what they base their game on. We were still pleased to get the win, but it was a bit of a reality check for the team. But we are feeling confident going into the last two rounds."
After a scoreless first quarter, the second quarter saw Illawarra's Tom Miotto put two penalty corners wide off the target before Willott hit a sizzling drag flick in the 24th minute for a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers came back in the second half with a series of penalty corners earning the equaliser in the dying seconds of the game from their fourth corner when Hayden Beltz scored from a rebound off Gobind Singh's direct hit.
Meanwhile, the Pride women took a resounding 5-0 lead at the break with four goals from Laura Reid and one from Hockeyroo Kaitlin Nobbs. They then nailed the win in the second half with a goal and conversion from Greta Hayes, and the final strike from Grace Young.
Tigers scored their consolation goal from the penalty spot by Maddie Brooks.
Albion Park's newest Hockeyroo, and Pride co-captain Maddi Smith was happy with the win, but added that the team must win the next game against Perth to get a finals berth.
"We were very much improved this week and very dynamic in their circle and attacked hard," Smith said.
"Our press put them under pressure and our defence really stopped them from getting decent shots on goals. We also combined better through the three lines and have to continue to be brave this weekend and play fast against Perth."
The Pride teams next move to Perth this weekend to face the Thundersticks.
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