Tigers fire up for semi
Powerful Blaze lying in wait for Tasmanians
THE Tassie Tigers depart for enemy territory tomorrow, ahead of their knockout Hockey One semi-final on Saturday night against Brisbane Blaze.
The two sides have had quite the rivalry in recent years, with the Tigers causing a massive semi-final upset to defeat Queensland 1-0 in 2014 en route to their maiden Australian Hockey League title.
After being edged by a solitary goal for three consecutive years, the Tigers embarrassed Queensland 5-1 in the roundrobin matches last season with Kieron Arthur, Oli Smith and Sam McCambridge hitting the scoreboard.
The hosts returned fire with a thumping 9-3 win in last year’s semi-final on the Gold Coast off the back of a fivegoal opening 20 minutes, going on to claim the gold medal while the Tigers recovered to claim bronze.
Tigers vice-captain Tim Deavin says the Tigers were overwhelmed in last year’s final and outclassed last month but return to Brisbane with renewed hope.
“It’s no secret that we need everyone to play well if we are to win, especially our goalkeeper Grant Woodcock,” Deavin said. “Last game, despite the scoreline, we had more possession and they have since lost Kookaburras defender Matthew Swann, which is good for us, and Brisbane also lost to NSW last week.”
In their only change, the Tigers have replaced goalkeeper Henry Chambers with Woodcock for the do-or-die clash.
Assistant-coach Richard Davies revealed Woodcock’s knowledge of the Brisbane side, from his time playing in the Brisbane Premier League, gave him the upper hand at the selection table.
“We’ve been really pleased with the progress Henry has made, especially the impact he made at a crucial stage in the Canberra game and his clean sheet against Perth,” Davies said. “Grant has committed fully to our program in the last two weeks and has staked his claim for the semi-final berth, working regularly with goalkeeper coach Steve Welch.
“This has brought him renewed confidence and in the last week he has been outstanding in training.”
The Tigers face the Blaze from 7.30pm on Saturday, with the action live on Kayo.