The OAMPS Queensland Blades have confirmed their status as the team to beat leading into the 2009 Australian Hockey League Finals, finishing on top of the points table after Round 7.
Winning all three games during the round matches this week in Hobart, they have overcome all takers so far. Their evenness and strength down back lead by Kookaburra Mark Knowles and Olympic goalkeeper Stephen Lambert looks too difficult for any team to penetrate.
This was certainly the case tonight against the Canberra Lakers, who although going down by four goals were more than competitive against Queensland. In the end Queensland were able to make the most of their opportunities while Canberra couldn’t.
Victoria loom as a potential threat to Queensland. Despite being level with the winless NT Stingers at half time of today’s match, their scoring power in the second half where they scored five unanswered goals in a row was a demonstration of their skill which if underestimated could result in danger for the other teams.
Although the NT Stingers enter the weekend without a win, they have proven on three occasions this week that a win isn’t too far around the corner, however they need to play a full 70 minutes of hockey otherwise their opponents will take advantage.
In today’s earlier match, the NSW Waratah’s confirmed their place in the top four when they ran out convincing winners over the Southern Hotshots. Although they were unable to make the finals, the Hotshots began the match the stronger of the two teams and opened the scoring early. However eventually NSW, playing for a spot in the top four, lifted their tempo, with the Hotshots unable to keep up.
In the final match of Round 7 the SmokeFree WA Thundersticks would have given Queensland plenty to ponder as they dismantled the Tassie Tigers team to finish second on the points table.
Their form has been up and down this week, however they were able to play a consistent match against Tasmania to enter the finals weekend with confidence.
Tasmania will be pleased to have scored two late goals against the Thundersticks, however the match was well over prior to these goals with the Thundersticks deserving their win.
Source: Hockey Australia
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