Hockey | Spitfire spirit comes to fore

THE Spitfires came from two goals down to roll Tuggeranong in the Capital League in Canberra on Saturday.

Trailing 3-1 at the break, the Hockey Albury Wodonga men found the net three times in the second half to land a 4-3 victory.

Coach Matt Smart said it was just a great show of grit and determination.

“That’s the sort of spirit we have been looking for all year,” he said.

“We were a bunch of development players, mostly teenagers, and veterans on Saturday after a year that has been a shocker with injuries — but, make no mistake, these young boys can play.

“It was hard fought, scrappy in some ways, but you would expect that seeing the number of changes that have had to be made.

“They never dropped the head and just kept attacking, kept having a go.”

Smart said goalscorers Fraser Cullen and Tony Donnelley, along with Andrew Wilkes and Andrew Nixon were among the Spitfires’ best players.

“But we even had keeper Scott Foley play in the field and he came up with a goal too,” he said.

“It was one of the funniest goals I’ve seen — he was in the clear, tripped over but still got his shot away and as their keeper went to kick it away it jumped on him and deflected into the net.

“But after the year we have had, we will take any luck we can get.”

The Strikers went down fighting 3-0 to Australian National University.

Earlier in the year, ANU towelled Strikers 9-0 and when it scored after two minutes on Saturday coach Tony Jones admitted the alarm bells were ringing.

“But the girls knuckled down and there would have been justice if we had scored a goal,” he said.

“In the second half we had our share of chances but just couldn’t get it to drop.

“Rhianna Coleiro at the back and Sam Campbell in goals were great, youngsters Grace Ronnfeldt and Ashleigh Gould were good, Brooke Purtell had her best game and Nan Latta led from the front.”