Warriors like Megan thrive in spirited Swifts club
SWIFTS captain Megan Bool is an Ipswich hockey warrior in every sense.
She has come back from two knee surgeries and a dislocated toe to continue enjoying her winter sport.
After Swifts' latest Reserve Grade grand final victory was decided by shootouts, the Ipswich nurse highlighted another important attribute - terrific team spirit.
"It's a nice enjoyment, a nice group of girls, a nice club and in hockey, that's what you need,'' Bool said after Swifts' extra-time victory over Northern Strikers.
"Even just to get here, there was three teams in second place.
"Norths were ahead and we were in the battle with Wests and Thistles so we were really lucky to get here.
"We scrape through with a win last week and it shows you just need to get there.''
In the grand final at Raceview, Swifts again came from 1-0 down to equalise through Cara Shaw in the second half.
That sent the match into 10 minutes of extra time and shootouts where Swifts finally emerged victorious 4-3.
In a year with so much uncertainty, Bool said playing hockey provided a wonderful stress relief.
But the former A-Grader said winning in extra time was never easy.
"It's been a few years since Reserve Grade were winning that way,'' she said.
"They are always nerve-racking, very hard on the girls but we have to have a winner.''
After being out of the game for months due to her operations, Bool praised her teammates for their commitment.
"It was one of those up and down seasons and we managed to put one together,'' she said.
"We've got a lot of shift workers and I work at the hospital and try to get to games.
"We relied on a lot of the younger ones. It was nice to be able to see them improve through the season, give them the opportunity to come and play.
"We managed to get here today and they performed really well for us.''
With Swifts since 2010, Bool was happy to see Swifts being regular Reserve Grade champions as the club builds for the future.
"I think last year was the first time we missed out on the finals for a while,'' she said.
"It's a really good culture and now we're starting to pick up junior teams so we are actually producing some of those juniors coming through, which we haven't had for a long time.
"That's really promising and we had Kristen Litzow come back and play this year. She's a real good strength and so that's a really nice mix of some senior heads with some junior girls to help us out with the legs.''
The Swifts D-Grade girls beat North Western Strikers 3-2 in Saturday's grand final.
Having been an experienced A-Grader in the past, Bool enjoyed the close Reserve Grade competition.
Northern Strikers had beaten Swifts 1-0 in their previous encounter.
"I think they were the most consistent throughout the competition,'' she said.
STATE OF PLAY
Reserve Grade women: Swifts 1 (Cara Shaw) def Northern Strikers 1 (Sarah Parlett) 4-3 on shootouts after 10 minutes of extra-time failed to break the deadlock. Cara Shaw, Courtney Dixon and Kristen Brault converted for Swifts and Shannon Ashton and Lani Blackman scored for Northern Strikers to make the final score 4-3 to Swifts.
R2 Grade women: Vets 3 (Rachel FitzGerald 2, Janet Peters) d Swifts 0.
A2 Grade: Thistles 3 (Caitlin Gotting 2, Loretta Steele) d Bellbowrie 0.