The 2018 Australian Hockey League (AHL) commences this weekend with the return to a month-long home-and-away format offering up nationwide excitement as the top domestic and internationals players do battle.
Australian Hockey’s elite domestic competition consists of three rounds played in every capital city before the finals weekend on the Gold Coast from Thursday 25 October to Sunday 28 October.
This year’s AHL includes rule modifications and innovations, including conversion goals, PumpPlays and no draws, providing more excitement for fans. The 2018 AHL will be the final edition of the competition before a revamped league is launched next year.
The two pools are SA, NT, Victoria and WA (Pool A) and Canberra, NSW, Queensland and Tasmania (Pool B) across both women’s and men’s divisions.
Round One sees the AHL return to Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Darwin for the first time in years, with the competition reverting from its previous centralised carnival format.The opening round starts with Pool B on Saturday with a blockbuster State Of Origin clash with star-studded line-ups for NSW Arrows and Waratahs and Queensland Scorchers and Blades from 2pm (women’s) and 4pm (men’s) at Sydney Olympic Park.
On Saturday evening, Tassie Van Demons and Tigers host Canberra Strikers and Lakers at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre from 5:30pm (women’s) and 7:15pm (men’s).
Pool A commences on Sunday as SA Suns and Hotshots entertain WA Diamonds and Thundersticks at Adelaide’s State Hockey Centre from 2pm (women’s) and 3:45pm (men’s).
The round concludes on Sunday evening when the NT Toshiba Pearls and SRA Stingers welcome the reigning champions, Victoria Vipers and Vikings, from 5pm (women’s) and 6:45pm (men’s) at Marrara Hockey Centre.
Round matches will not be streamed but Hockey Australia will publish a weekly highlights package on Mondays. Medal matches on Sunday 28 October will be live streamed on www.epicentre.tv.
NSW Arrows v Queensland Scorchers, Saturday 6 October 2pm (AEST), Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre
Hockeyroo Mariah Williams isn’t quite ready to return for NSW after long-term injury, while Anna Flanagan is included for the Arrows after switching from Canberra Strikers.
The Scorchers, who were runners-up last year, boast a star-studded line-ups which includes more than half a dozen internationals, but Savannah Fitzpatrick is unavailable due to a hamstring problem.
NSW: Jocelyn Bartram (gk), Sarah Johnston, Kate Hanna, Emily Smith, Grace Stewart, Anna Flanagan, Greta Hayes, Mikaela Patterson, Tamsin Bunt, Kaitlin Nobbs, Jessica Watterson, Georgina Morgan, Kate Jenner, Abigail Wilson
Qld: Madison Fitzpatrick, Ashlea Fey, Ambrosia Malone, Jodie Kenny, Jordyn Holzberger, Tegan Richards, Stephanie Kershaw, Rebecca Greiner, Morgan Gallagher, Hannah Astbury (gk), Emily Burrows (gk), Layla Eleison, Britt Wilkinson, Georgia Hillas, Renee Taylor
NSW Waratahs v Queensland Blades, Saturday 6 October 4pm (AEST), Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre
Ryan Proctor is named in the Waratahs to make his debut, while Tristan White is included despite stepping away from the Kookaburras set-up earlier this year.
Kookaburra Jake Whetton is unavailable following the birth of his first child, while the Blades will need to make a call on goalkeeper Cade Banditt or Matthew Finn.
NSW: Lachlan Sharp, Tom Craig, Simon Orchard, Jack Hayes, Ash Thomas (gk), Matthew Dawson, Flynn Ogilvie, Kurt Lovett, Blake Govers, Matthew Butturini, Tristan White, Ryan Proctor, Kieran Govers, Timothy Brand
Qld: Corey Weyer, Tim Howard, Hugh Pembroke, Joel Rintala, Robert Bell, Jacob Anderson, Shane Kenny, Scott Boyde, Cade Banditt (gk), Matthew Finn (gk), Matthew Swann, Daniel Beale, Dylan Wotherspoon, Justin Douglas, Jared Taylor
WARATAHS & ARROWS TEAMS – ROUND 1
The team lists are locked and loaded for our first AHL match-day against Queensland this Saturday at Sydney Olympic Park.
— Hockey NSW (@Hockey_NSW) October 2, 2018
Tassie Van Demons v Canberra Strikers, Saturday 6 October 5:30pm (AEST), Tasmanian Hockey Centre, Hobart
Ruby-Rose Haywood gets the nod in goal for Tasmania, while Sarah McCambridge will wear the captain’s armband. Kalindi Commerford has overcome a hamstring injury to be fit for the Strikers, who have added ex-Great Britain international Beckie Middleton. Forward Naomi Evans is fresh from her Hockeyroos debut too.
Tas: Sofie McLeod, Madeleine Hinton, Jess Tremayne, Blair Patten, Laura Spandler, Ashleigh Arthur, Samantha Lawrence, Louisa Jacobson, Jean Flanagan, Nellie Paynter, Sarah McCambridge, Eliza Westland, Phillida Bridley, Ruby-Rose Haywood (gk)
Can: Edwina Bone (c), Catriona Bailey-Price, Jessica Smith, Meredith Bone, Sophie Gaughan, Samantha Economos, Naomi Evans, Elena Tice, Beckie Middleton, Rebecca Lee, Kalindi Commerford, Tina Taseska, Sarah White, Rene Hunter (gk)
Tassie Tigers v Canberra Lakers, Saturday 6 October 7pm (AEST), Tasmanian Hockey Centre, Hobart
The Tigers will be led by experienced Aussie star Eddie Ockenden and the side features several rising stars from side that triumphed at the Under-21’s Nationals including recent international debutant Jack Welch, giving them hope of a repeat of 2014’s breakthrough AHL title.
Niranjan Gupte, Jake and Ben Staines are away for the Sultan of Johor Cup for the Lakers, while captain Glenn Turner is absent too. Japan internationals Kazuma Murata and Manabu Yamashita will play after appearing for their country at last month’s Darwin International Hockey Open.
Tas: Nick Leslie, Kurt Mackey, Jeremy Edwards, Eddie Ockenden (c), Samuel McCulloch, Joshua Beltz, Jack Welch, Kieron Arthur, Grant Woodcock (gk), Tim Deavin, James Bourke, Ben Read, Oliver Smith, Sam McCambridge
Can: Aaron Knight, Owen Chivers, Kazuma Murata, Jamie Hawke, Anand Gupte, Garry Backhus, Manabu Yamashita, Aaron Kershaw, Lewis McLennan, Lewis Shepherd, Thomas Deane, James Day, Thomson Stuckey, Andrew Charter (gk)
SA Suns v WA Diamonds, Sunday 7 October 2pm (ACST), State Hockey Centre, Adelaide
Two-time winners SA Suns will be without young talent Miki Spano, but welcome ex-AHL MVPs Karri McMahon and Jane Claxton and Hockeyroos keeper Ash Wells. Chile international Mariana Lagos is recruited after playing in the WA Premier League with North Coast Raiders.
The Diamonds, who haven’t won the AHL since 2010, won’t have Georgia Wilson throughout the AHL due to a year-long knee injury, but there’s no shortage of young talent including Aleisha Power, Renee Rockliff and Shanea Tonkin.
SA: Jane Claxton (c), Holly Evans, Celeste Foord, Emily Grist, Amy Hunt, Euleena MacLachlan, Karri McMahon (c), Ashleigh Morrison, Alison Penington, Hattie Shand, Lucy Talbot, Leah Welstead, Ashlee Wells (gk), Mariana Lagos
WA: Phillipa Morgan, Candyce Peacock, Jemma Buckley (c), Shanea Tonkin, Penny Squibb, Kathryn Slattery, Rachel Frusher, Roos Broek, Caitlin Pascov, Annie Gibbs, Aleisha Power (gk), Renee Rockliff, Line Malan, Erin Judd (gk), Sienna Archer, Sara Foster, Danielle Bestall, Sage Rogers-Uff
SA Hotshots v WA Thundersticks, Sunday 7 October 3:45pm (ACST), State Hockey Centre, Adelaide
Lachlan Busiko is unavailable for the Hotshots as he’s away in Malaysia with the Burras, but SA are boosted by international pair Sijbrand Bolhuis and Lee Dong-Hyung.
Ten-time AHL champions WA have their own list of absentees due to the Sultan of Johor Cup, including Alec Rasmussen, Liam Flynn, Matthew Fisher, Brayden King and Coby Green, while SA-born Kookaburras forward Tom Wickham is out with a calf injury.
SA: William Abbott, Sijbrand Bolhuis, Simon Brown, Scott Germein, Brodie Gleeson, Fred Gray, Ross Hetem, Lee Dong-Hyung, James Keeves, Luke Larwood, Andy Leat, Daniel Mitchell, Alastair Oliver, Glyn Tamlin, Michael Wells (gk), Cameron White, Kurtis Willson
WA: Jason Gabriel, Tim Geers, Jake Harvie, Frazer Gerrard, Marshall Roberts, Tyler Lovell (gk), Coby Green, Graeme Begbie, Will Byas, Dane Gavranich, Daniel Robertson, Bryn De Bes, Aran Zalewski, Brandon Gibbs, Joshua Bowen, James Richardson (gk), Joseph Kenny
NT Toshiba Pearls v Victoria Vipers, Sunday 7 October 5pm (ACST), Marrara Hockey Centre, Darwin
Brooke Peris is the big name in the Pearls line-up, while recent Hockeyroos debutants Sophie Taylor and Hayley Padget will play for reigning champions Victoria, who won only their third AHL title in 2017.
NT: Elizabeth Duguid (gk), Jennifer Hoes (gk), Brooke Peris, Felicity Gallagher, Natarlia Smith, Grace Nalder, Jessica Martin-Brown, Tayla Ainslie, Courtney Knowler, Georgia Graf, Josie Short, Babette van der Velden, Kim Leiper, Erin Lidbetter, Danarra Bishop, Jacqueline Graf, Carly James, Seriou Frankema
Vic: Aisling Utri, Nicola Hammond, Sophie Taylor, Kristina Bates, Lily Brazel, Kary Chau, Emily Hurtz, Meg Pearce, Hayley Padget, Madi Ratcliffe, Samantha Snow, Hannah Gravenall, Rachael Lynch (gk), Lydia Velzian
NT SRA Stingers v Victoria Vikings, Sunday 7 October 6:45pm (ACST), Marrara Hockey Centre, Darwin
Kookaburras defender Jeremy Hayward headlines the Stingers squad which includes 32-year-old ex-Australia international Joel Carroll and Adrian Lockley who is back for another AHL campaign.
The reigning champions will be without former Kookaburras Andrew Philpott and Chris Ciriello for Round One. Nathan Ephraums and Damon Steffens are absent with Burras duty.
NT: Jason Lowe, Tarrant Haami-Jones, Adam Luck (gk), Adrian Lockley, Jamie Hullick, Corey Piggin, Jye Clark (gk), Jacob Andrade, Robert Duguid, Nicholas Hill, Nathan Hochman, Ronan Myyrylainen, Dylan Hill, Jason Hullick, Joel Carroll, Matthew Argent, Dwayne Abbott, Ewan Wallin, Isaac McDonald, Jeremy Hayward
Vic: James Webster, Max Hendry, Andrew Scanlon, Josh Simmonds, Stephen Gale, Josh Pollard, Russell Ford, Joel Hamilton, Jayshaan Randhawa, Jonathan Bretherton, Oscar Wookey, Johan Durst (gk), James Knee, Aaron Kleinschmidt
Tickets available from the gate only
— Hockey Australia (@HockeyAustralia) October 2, 2018