2014 Men’s Teams Reports

1st Grade

Season 2014 was full of wonderful achievements and some heartache for the first grade men. Completing the regular season in second position was fair reward for the efforts put in by all concerned with the squad and also a fair indication of how far the squad had progressed in terms of player maturity, unity, skill development, team structure/style and overall culture. To bow out in the penultimate game to a side we had defeated twice in the regular season was a bitter pill to swallow.

The goals set at the start of the season were achieved and in most cases exceeded. Indeed I had hoped to finish the regular season in the top 4 and felt that we would take most of the season to develop player and team deficiencies that had, in previous seasons, prevented the squad from reaching its potential. Fortunately for me the squad responded to my style of coaching and I was able to implement the style of play that I felt would be successful in this competition. Moreover through structured training and a rigorous early season fitness regime we started the season in winning style and maintained this trend through the first half of the season. The second half of the season, whilst disappointing for me due to a lack of player commitment especially following the U21 Nationals, turned out well and results fell our way at the back end allowing us to finish second.

Our pre-season was structured and focused on fitness to build team unity giving us a solid platform to launch our ball work sessions from. Preparing for and attending the Brisbane 9s was crucial in building team culture and bonding important members of the squad whilst also introducing some of the young players into the squad who would ultimately mature into integral members of the side by seasons end. Attending this tournament again this season is important to provide a springboard into the Ryde 9s tournament where success in our own backyard is critical and also a jump start to the season proper, my feelings are that there are many traits from the shortened version of the game that we can take into the longer version, something that we had success with last season.

Pivotal to our success and improvement in playing style last season was our weekly training coupled with team cultural improvement, a feature that I was extremely keen to foster and felt was absolutely critical for the ongoing success of our club. Moreover I was totally committed to bringing our juniors into the first grade squad and ensuring that their transition to competent first grade players was achieved through a structured mentoring system and by providing the ‘Right’ culture.

For this season I felt it was absolutely imperative that I devote as much time as possible to training to bring the squad up to speed with ‘my style’ and the way I believe that the game should be played. Moreover I needed to develop my relationship with the squad and ensure that squad members were developing as players and as a team. By seasons end the squad well and truly exceeded goals in these areas however there is still a long way to go.

Much has been made of Larry’s involvement within Ryde this season and I felt extremely comfortable working with him and TC. Discussions have already taken place within our coaching group to have Larry involved more with individuals this year. From a team perspective I found having Larry available to bounce ideas off was fantastic.

We must continue to foster our junior talent and maintain our mentoring system. My goal in this area, in the short term, is to have a ratio of two thirds Ryde juniors to one third external, including foreign players. This would have been achievable in the upcoming season had we not lost 2 players overseas and Tom Craig to the Australian program. In the longer term our goal should be reaching 80% Ryde junior players in the top grade. This season 9 players out of our regular squad of 15 or so were Ryde juniors, it is my opinion that in a perfect world we would all love to field a Ryde first grade side comprising 100% local juniors and we should always work towards that but in the current climate this is simply not achievable if we are to achieve the results with our top side that the club demands.

I would like to thank the members of the Executive and indeed the entire club, for their support this season; I hope that I have repaid their faith with results and a positive view to the future. I remain keen to be involved with the club and my family have never been happier with their hockey and the new friendships that we have made. Many thanks also for the continued support of The Quest at North Ryde.

Richard Sharp


2nd Grade

It is fair to say the second grade group underperformed in 2014 given the calibre of personnel in the squad. A lack of consistency was clearly our Achilles heal throughout the season with 2 draws against eventual premiers UNSW, contradicted by too many losses against lower ranked opposition which ultimately cost us a place in the finals. The season was punctuated by some scintillating performances, most notably a 5-1 victory over GNS on family day and a demolition of Sutho at Sutho, and while inconsistent the development of the group towards playing a modern up tempo style of hockey was very pleasing and bodes well for the 2015 season.

The leading light of 2014 was the individual performance of Scott Pecar, who had a fantastic season and was recognized as a finalist in the SHA 2nd grade MVP awards while the improvement of talented juniors including Ben Campey and Adrian Rochester was extremely pleasing to see. With more young athletes coming through and most key players expected to back up next season the expectation on 2nd grade will be high and with some improved application and a bit of better luck on the injury front this will be a team to watch in 2015.

Finally, I would like to extend a big thank you to all the guys for their commitment and attitude this season and in particular thank you to Gaz Goosakoff for another outstanding contribution as manager. See you all in 2015.


Tim Collier

3rd Grade

Won – 5

Lost – 10

Draw – 3

League position – 7

Seventh in the league does not truly reflect the season and even our opposition admitted that we were a better side than it looked on paper. We lost too many games that we realistically had a chance of winning.

Most of our good displays were based on solid defence with either Brodie or Marcelo proving to be an immovable object between the sticks. Our defensive resilience was provided by our outside halves who never seemed to stop running, were always there at the back and still managed to find the energy and speed to provide an overlap further up the pitch. No one played this role better than our player of the season Ryan.

The midfield had a slightly difficult start to season with a number of changes in personnel and also a change in system but it saw big improvements as the season went on. It definitely helps players that are moving between sides to be playing the same style and positions in the top four grades.

Although up front we were playing a more traditional structure it took a while for the forwards to get used the formation behind them and how that affected their supply. It was a frustrating season for our forwards who put in huge amounts of effort but did not get the reward that they would have liked or deserved.

Overall it was a very enjoyable season with a great bunch of blokes. I would like to pay special thanks to Kieran who helped with all the paperwork and stood in for me when I was not around. Also I would like to thank Bourkie for all his help at training and on match days.


Mark Ellis

4th Grade

It was an interesting year for 4s. We started the season with a few injuries to key players, namely Owen ‘Buzz’ Crotty, who is our rock at the back. Over the course of the season we used 39 different players, and I think this reflected in our results. Inconsistent comes to mind when I think of the season past.

The first half of the season was a mixed bag, as we had many regulars missing, due to injury, illness or other commitments. The guys that filled in did a great job, but team harmony was obviously affected. I’d like to thank all 39 players for their commitment throughout the season, in particular, father and son combo, Matt and Lachlan McKay., who played every game!

The second half of the season saw a more stable team on the park week to week, which reflected in our results, as we were able to match it with the top teams. But inconsistency was still our problem.

Unfortunately we missed the semis by 1 point and 1 goal. Of which came in the last 10 mins of the last game, against the team coming first who had only lost 2 games all season. (Bankstown’s 1st grade)

This year saw the introduction of a couple of youngsters, Lachlan Mckay and Cody Whittaker. By the end of the season both kids were flying, and I expect big things from them over the coming years.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Owen Crotty, Tim Collier and Larry Macintosh for their input throughout the year. In particular Tim, who has done so much for the club over the last 3-4 years, most of which goes on behind the scenes. His support to all the coaches has been nothing short of incredible.


Greg Findley

5th Grade

In 2013 the 5th grade Men’s team struggled with some tough competition following the re-grading of many of the other clubs teams. Having not won a game during 2013, the 2014 5th grade team pulled together and improved both in field play and standings this season. With the core of the team not changing from 2013, it was a change in attitude and the introduction of some new blood, which reinvigorated the 5th grade side.

Having played well throughout the 2014 season Ryde was unlucky to go down in the final 30 seconds of extra time in the preliminary final this year. However the team was not disheartened, as it was an incredible improvement from the previous season.

All members of the 5th grade side enjoyed the season and are expected to return for the 2015 season, with a premiership being the goal.

Scott Morrison

6th Grade

This year 6th grade had a very successful year. Dean Merchant was coach with Phil McQullian as captain. 6th grade won the minor premiership, the premiership and the club championship.

The team played 16 Rounds during the season. Won 13, Drew 2 and Lost 1 finishing on a total of 41 Points. The Goals for and against totalled +44, with goals For being 56 and goals Against being 12. That was the lowest goals allowed over the whole SHA.

Jack Cullen was the highest Goal scorer with 16 followed by Damien Cork 11. Best and Fairest was won by Damien Cork 18.33 closely followed by Richard Stevenson on 16.5.

The pinnacle point in our season came after Round 12. We sought some help form Larry Macintosh to tweak our structure of our side which greatly improved the team. Our team moved from 3rd position (where we had sat for most of the competition) to 1st position, which we held for the final four rounds.

It was a very enjoyable season for 6th grade able to get some vengeance for missing out on the premiership of 2013. I enjoyed coaching 6th grade and I believe the team were grateful for having me as a coach. I Hope to see 6th grade go for back to back premierships in 2015.


Dean Merchant

6th grade coach

7th Grade

This year we saw a change of heart from the FIH and Hockey Australia the Phantom Goal Scorer is no more! The own goal rule disappeared, hopefully forever, but the 2 minute Green Card stayed with us.

We still had a 4 team semis format, still played a number of 3rd and 5th grades of other clubs. One change was the venue for the presentation night – to South of the River in Five Dock.

If you are thinking this report I sounding similar to last year – you’re right – not only the report but also the season.

We finished 5th again, missing out on the semi on goal difference!! Maybe next year is the one!

We only used 2 keepers this year and again we used 35 players and we had a good solid core of regulars.

Our season was mixed with a win and a loss against St George and a draw and a loss against Sutherland both of whom made the top 4. Against the Premiers and Minor Premiers, Briars and Monterey, we had to endure two losses – the reminder of the season were wins.

New players – we had a few – Gurvinder Singh, Manjit Gill and Harminder Singh all thanks to John Cullen’s coaching the Sydney Sikh’s team. We saw two young players fill in for us in Ryan Krensel and Liam O’Shea – we wont be seeing them next year!

Which brings us to the regulars – Eugene in goals with Mark filling in, Gurvinder Singh, Dave Alexander, Tim Campbell, Colin Haycroft, Tim Metcalfe Mike Gregory and Ken Campbell being the defenders and half line.

Scott Harrison, Kevin Li, Nick Green, Chris Hallett, Nick Waring Manjit Gill, Steve Burns and Rob Egger worked hard up front.

And of course we had the regular irregulars in Dave Phelan, Peter Fowler, Mark Richard and Matt Fitzgerald.

Most weeks we played with close to a full dance card using maximum subs.

Some of our players helped 6yh grade to a Grand Final win with Eugene deputising and goals and Steve Burns and Nick Waring making an from the bench

Best and Fairest and rookie to the club was Manjit Gill.

Our 41 goals were shared around 15 players with Scott Harrison again our leading scorer with 10.

See you all back faster and better in 2015 after a successful off-season recruiting!

The Manager

Ken Campbell

8th Grade

2014 was a mixed bag really with many highs mixed with some intermittent lows but overall the Men’s eighth grade played as a cohesive team under the ever astute guidance of Steve Reilly as Coach. Finishing 2nd behind Briars in the home and away matches with Gordon a close third.

The Panthers started the season with an uncustomary loss in the first game against St George frittering a 2 – 0 lead to go down in the dying minutes of the game 3 – 2.

After he first few games it was pleasing to see Steve Dunn return and bring a very capable junior in Ryan Krensel to start his senior men’s hockey experience. The pair had an immediate impact in giving the forward line some bite and fed many useful balls to the evergreen striker in Brad Parkes. His appetite to score was down on last year but he still managed to bag a lazy 22 to take the Club goal-scoring award. Well done Clarrie.

At the half way mark, the 8s were riding high and sitting clear on the top of the ladder and looked promising to break the four-year hoodoo between premierships. Then the injuries started with Ryan getting a bad knee injury during his junior match on a Friday night and saw him sidelined for a number of weeks. Then it was Pom, Clarrie, Riles and Dunny all sidelined or playing on one leg.

Needless to say, results were not favourable during this time with win/loss ration be skewed in the wrong direction. The last roster match against Easts was to be the one game that had to be won to ensure a place in the Finals. The old fighting spirit resurfaced in a very physical game from Easts to try and unsettle the Panthers. Even though the game was won and the Fi9nals made it came at a price.

The Semi-final against Briars was very even affair with Briars sneaking home 2 – 1. This game saw Dunny and Ryan both aggravate injuries and both hoped to be ready for the clash against Gordon in the Pre-Final.

The closeness of the Pre-Final is illustrated by the fact that the game was decided in penalty shoot outs with Gordon prevailing. Mark Studd was a stand out in this game perhaps giving his best performance in goals for the year. Top effort Mark!

Highlights of the year were from my perspective the day Mr Parkes scored five goals before half time and the Ryde scoreboard read “Parkes 5”, the emergence of young Ryan into men’s hockey and the courage shown when riding the bumps of this grade but we cannot forget the supreme effort of our B&F winner Wally Welsman at centre half week in and week out (often playing unchanged for the full 70 minutes).

Although we didn’t get across the line this year, it is clear that this team can still match it with the other teams in the grade and do very well. Perhaps with a couple more youngsters in the team we will be able to crack the four year cycle hoodoo between premierships. I am sure that we can still match it so 2015 is likely to be the Panthers resurgence.

Thank you all for a great year and let’s see what we can do in 2015.

Bob Thomson

9th Grade

The season started with a lot of anticipation and it was going to be a hard season but through consistency and team work we were successful. The team knew that it was going to be our year and it was as we topped it off by winning the side’s first premiership in years, I think that the last time Ryde won the comp in this grade Paddle Pops were 50c.

The 2014 season started well with the core of the team returning and we were lucky to gain some experience with Graham Symes, who was adapt at playing full back and centre forward, whilst Graham’s son Harry was our goalkeeper, who gained confidence with every game he played to the point of owning one on one shootout in the Grand Final. It should be noted that Graham won the team and club Best & Fairest awards (congratulations on your season Graham). Graham’s involvement was invaluable as he was able to assist with developing the way the team play and also provided assistance to the younger guys in the team.  

The team was lucky to have Liam O’Shea, a Ryde Junior, playing with us for the most of the season; it was obvious that through the way that Liam played that the Ryde Junior Programs are working. Liam developed his skills and confidence with every game he played and he has a bright future.

The highlights of the season were, besides winning an epic Grand Final win (2-1 in overtime), was the way the team played and was able to come back from behind through stoic defence to win the hard games against Benstixs and Macquarie University, this includes winning the Grand Final after losing to Benstixs in the 1st final at Pennant Hills. There were improvements in our positional play, goal scoring (47 goals scored in 2014 compared to 31 in 2013) with main goal scoring coming from Dean Cupitt, Graham Symes and Gav Hughes, defence (16 goals were conceded in 2014 compared to 31 in 2013) and short corner execution though further improvement can be expected in 2015.

The low lights of the season were the side of the playing squad (21) meant that a number of players missing out on the Grand Final due to the 21 doesn’t fit into 16. The injury to James McCarthy (Centre Half), which resulted in him missing a number of games and to Liam O’Shea, where he missed the finals. Another was wear Dean Cupitt missed the Grand Final after getting 2 yellow cards in the Preliminary Final where he won the game by a great piece of individual play in overtime.

A personal highlight for me was attending and receiving the Sydney Hockey SL8 Minor Premiership and Premiership awards on behalf of the whole team, it was a pretty proud moment considering that it a reward for all the hard effort the team had put in during the season.

The team is looking forward to continuing its winning ways in 2015.

Gav Hughes