Extra pressure on players, coaches in nail-biting showdowns
HAVING played in many thrilling finals over the years, Sara Rogers struggled to recall a similar night of high hockey drama.
After sharing in one golden goal qualifying final victory before a nail-biting extra-time loss as men's coach, Rogers was on an emotional rollercoaster.
"Definitely, especially playing-wise,'' said Rogers, who captained the Hancocks A-Grade side that recovered from 3-1 down to upstage defending premiers Wests 4-3 in extra time.
"I don't think I've been in a team that's been down by that much and come back and won it. That in itself was a very impressive record.
"We certainly dug deep.
"It certainly shows the character of the girls.''
Adding to the drama, Queensland representative player Layla Eleison nailed the golden goal from a penalty corner after the final hooter.
"Layla is certainly turning into a bit of a clutch player,'' Rogers said. "She scored a stroke in Brisbane against us too.''
That was in the Easts Carina v Ascot women's final on Saturday where the Hancocks teammates played against each other. Easts won 2-0.
The Ipswich men's qualifying final on Sunday night also resulted in the second-placed side beating the minor premiers.
Norths progressed directly to another grand final after defeating Hancocks 8-6 in a shoot-out. The teams were deadlocked at 4-4 after regular time and additional play.
Coaching the Hancocks men this season for the first time, Rogers said it was a tough finish after her team clawed back from 2-0 down to force extra time.
"We probably weren't as clinical as we have been in previous games,'' she said. "We certainly created enough opportunities to win the game.''
The Hancocks men have to regroup this week for a preliminary final showdown with Easts on Sunday afternoon.
The Hancocks women have a weekend off as Wests tackle Swifts in Sunday night's preliminary final at Raceview.