Sara’s setback as SWQ builds exciting future
LOSING dependable Ipswich player Sara Rogers for the season provided the most disappointing moment in South West Queensland's latest Super League campaign.
The Australian Country captain seriously damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during the first half of South West's 2-0 win over Northern at the State Hockey Centre.
"I've had surgery on my left knee but this wasn't any stability. It was just the way I was hit,'' the clearly upset Hancock Brothers captain said.
After so much representative success in recent seasons, Rogers was keen to help the talent-rich Lumberjills against many of Queensland's best players.
She's seen respected Ipswich doctor Roy Saunders, planning another doctor's check tomorrow before likely surgery on Friday.
"I just ran into another player from a different team and she just hit that sort of angle of my knee,'' Rogers said. "And I didn't see her coming so that didn't help. I didn't brace.''
It was 28-year-old Rogers fifth Super League championships.
"She's pretty driven so she'll recover well,'' South West coach Adam Spry said.
The unfortunate accident put a dampener on South West's encouraging fourth place finish, where a number of rapidly rising Ipswich players excelled.
First-time Lumberjills coach Spry was delighted how players like Gabby Nicholls, Layla Eleison and Lauren Hess performed against more seasoned campaigners.
"I think our average age would have been around that 19 mark,'' he said of the team comprising Ipswich and Toowoomba players.
"We had a lot of young ones, which is exciting. Those young ones really played well.
"We still had about six girls still at school, and three or four who are still under 18.
"Then we had some older ones. Those older ones aren't exactly ancient either so they are going to be around for a few more years to help out.''
South West had a win, draw and three narrow losses in matches played over the weekend. The biggest losing margin was three goals - to eventual champions Brisbane.
Spry rated that South West's most outstanding effort.
"We went into the tournament half expecting to give those young ones a taste (of higher level hockey),'' Spry said.
"In all honesty, they stood up. They played really well.
"You couldn't have faulted them. Some of the juniors played just as well, if not better, than the senior players.''
As for his first time coaching at Super League level, Spry enjoyed the experience.
"It's just really quick, closer to NHL (National Hockey League),'' Spry said.
"You play five games in three days. It's pretty taxing and demanding in trying to come up with a game plan.
"We definitely improved steadily as the tournament went on.''
The South West men's team, also including a number of Ipswich players, finished fourth too.