Newcastle District Women's Hockey Association: Tigers defeat Souths in 2017 grand final | photos

Fresh second-half legs have helped Tigers cap off an unprecedented season of success for the Newcastle District Women’s Hockey Association club.

Tigers utilised their five-player bench in warm conditions and wore down Souths 3-1 in a premier league grand final victory at Broadmeadow on Saturday, marking the club’s fourth major premiership for 2017. 

Tigers featured in all but one of the weekend’s seven deciders at Newcastle International Hockey Centre, also triumphing in fourth, fifth and seventh grades.

It was Tigers’ first top grade title since last appearing in the 2010 showdown.

“It feels pretty sweet,” a jubilant Tigers president and premier league centre half Sharon Williams said.

“That’s a club record, unprecedented for us and probably for the association as well.

“Presentation night will be bloody huge.” 

Player of the final Neva Williams nabbed a double, the first and last goals for Tigers, after scores were locked 0-all at the break.

Kirsten Drysdale, who received the competition’s player of the year award for a second consecutive season, set up Bianca Cheetham for the middle goal.

Souths, who have now lost their last four grand final appearances, netted a consolation goal via Madi Webster from a penalty corner at full-time. 

“We knew it would be a bit of an arm wrestle, but we put some fresh legs on in the second half,” president Williams said.

“We were doing seven minute rotations with a squad of 16, meaning five on the bench. Women’s hockey don’t normally do that.

“It allowed us to put on some people who hadn’t played in the first half to spark some quicker ball movement.

“We scored in the first 10 minutes so it paid dividends.”

Tigers coach Shaun O’Brien, who is a Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League goalkeeper for Norths, returned this season after last mentoring a premiership seven years ago.

Sharon Williams, Prue Garvin, Hannah Drury, Casey Skliros, Charmaine Piper and Michelle Bisson played in both campaigns for Tigers. 

In the lower grades Tigers beat Oxfords 2-0 in fourths, Colts 2-1 in fifths and Souths 2-0 in sevenths. Tigers lost seconds 2-1 to Regals in an extra-time drop-off and thirds 1-0 to Souths. Phantoms edged out Yoltz 3-2 in sixths.