Mathison had faith in goal-keeper in a grand final shootout
HOCKEY: Gladstone's Meteors Hockey Club product Morgan Mathison's fledgling hockey career has reached new heights.
Mathison played a crucial part in Brisbane Blaze's history-making Sultana Bran Hockey One grand final shootout win against Hockey Club Melbourne in Melbourne on Saturday.
She gave drive out of the defensive half and had a few quality touches in a final that had everything.
"The game was played in a very end-to-end way and both teams defended really well and both had chances to score," Mathison said.
Scores were locked away at full-time and Blaze goal-keeper Hannah Astbury saved a penalty stroke from Madi Ratcliffe moments before end of regulation time.
Again, the teams could not be separated when scores were 2-2 after five penalties each.
Ratcliffe's two attempts at glory could not get past Astbury and grand final player of the match Rose Malone nailed the winner with a shot that evaded Melbourne goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.
"We knew we could win because she (Astbury) was playing so well and Rose Malone had done a lot of shootouts for Australia," Mathison said.
Earlier in the game, Britt Wilkinson broke through when she pounced on a precise pass from Malone at the 37th minute.
Astbury could not avoid Florine van Grimbergen classy flick goal six minutes later.
For the main however, both 'keepers shunted anything that came their way.
Blaze coach Nikki Taylor said the game was unpredictable.
"I'm relieved, excited and so very proud of these girls," she said.
"It's a hard way to win (in a shootout) and obviously nerve racking but I had faith in the team they could do it and they did.
"It could have gone either way. Astbury was magnificent…I had a feeling when she saved the penalty stroke that she was seeing the ball like a watermelon and in the shootout she was fantastic again.
"Then for our attackers to handle the pressure and score when it was needed was exceptional."
"I'm so happy that Brisbane Blaze are the inaugural women's champions. This competition is a great concept for what they are trying to do for hockey in Australia and I think it's only going to get bigger and better.
"For us to be the first ones to have our name on that trophy is an extremely proud moment and something we'll cherish."
Mathison said she was happy how she handled the grand final heat coming off the bench.
"We have a really strong backline with a few Hockeyroo players there and was more than happy to start on the bench," she said.
Mathison said she channeled her nerves before the final.
"I was very nervous but had a few games before to warm up to this sort of standard and was really happy how I played," she said.
Mathison's next mission is representing the Australian under-21 team in the 3 Nations Invitational Tournament in Canberra from December 3-8.
The Aussies will play against New Zealand and India.
Women's Grand Final
Brisbane Blaze 1 (3) (Wilkinson 37') d HC Melbourne 1 (2) (van Grimbergen 43')
Brisbane Blaze wins 3-2 on penalties
Men's Grand Final
NSW Pride 8 (Brand 9'/9'/30', Hayes 48'/48', Ogilvie 55'/55', Lovett 60') d
Brisbane Blaze 3 (Rintala 7', Weyer 57'/57')