2017 Women’s Team Reports

1st Grade

What a season 2017 was for Ryde first grade women. Winning the maiden first grade premiership for the club will undoubtedly go down in history with the men’s first grade premiership win of 2015. Winning the 2017 SWHL ML1 premiership was no easy feat – you can ask just about anyone in our team (except TC), and I’m sure they will tell you that at some stages throughout our season, a premiership seemed all but impossible. We had many highs, and a few lows, but deep down everyone knew we were capable of greatness despite our inconsistencies.

Our team this season was full of future superstars. With five AHL players and a plethora of state players, representative duties often left our team depleted and in many games we relied upon the generosity of second grade to help us field 11 players. To emphasise this point, the first game we played in 2017 with our full first grade squad was the grand final. There is no way that we would have made it through the season if not for the help of many players, but a special mention to Shelly Pole, Sharon Coutts, Kylie Myers, and Kiera Batten.

I can without a doubt say that for many players in our team, having a coach as dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate as Tim Collier was a new and welcome experience. TC agreed to take on the role as women’s first grade coach for 2016 and 2017 only, giving us two seasons to win a premiership. At times I thought he was crazy, but his plan worked. TC is without a doubt the best coach I have ever had, and I know I’m not alone in saying that. But, TC wasn’t alone and certainly couldn’t have managed it (with his sanity intact) without the help of Gina Rees and Larry McIntosh. Really, with a coaching team like this, how could we not succeed! In case we haven’t said enough, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.

By the end of the regular season, we had scored a total of 72 goals, second only to Gordon North Sydney. Finishing in third place with 33 points, we were a fair way behind Moorebank on 48 and GNS on 49 points and had a tough road ahead of us to make the grand final. But, they say finals are a different ball game and our plan all along was to ambush the ‘big’ teams in the finals – and ambush we did. The semi-final against Sydney Uni finished as a 2-2 draw, but after a spectacular show of one-on-ones and Zoe Newman showing her class in goals, we progressed to the preliminary final. 

Here we took on Moorebank for a spot in the grand final. Having beaten us in both round games, I’m sure Moorebank were fairly confident going into this game and could already see themselves playing Gordon the following week. With only 10 minutes to go we were 1-2 down, but a classic tomahawk from the left circle edge by Abby Wilson equalled the scores at 2-2. With two minutes on the clock, Moorebank won a penalty corner. We held our breaths as it played out, but with some classy defensive work we turned things into a counter attack. Quick ball movement and fantastic team play paid off, with a last-minute goal to win 3-2.

It’s no secret that Gordon North Sydney were the hot favourites for premiers this year, having beaten us twice in the round games and finishing as minor premiers with only one loss under their belt. I had numerous people from a number of clubs tell me how surprised they were that we managed to beat Moorebank. No one thought we could beat Gordon. I’m sure by now everyone has seen the footage from our grand final, and if you haven’t, I encourage you to watch it. No one could ever have predicted things to go the way they did. I always knew we could win, but I expected it to be a tight score line, maybe 2-1 or 3-2. Instead, we slotted a goal in the first two minutes, followed by another three in quick succession. Gordon didn’t know what had hit them, and to be honest, I don’t think we quite believed it either. After 20 minutes it was 4-0. Gordon came out in the second half to score two goals, but we put the final nail in the coffin with a fifth goal. There it was, Ryde’s first SWHL ML1 premiership with a convincing win of 5-2.

Thank you on behalf of the entire team to everyone who came to support us throughout the season, but especially on grand final day. We don’t often get large crowds to our games, usually only supportive parents and boyfriends who have been dragged along. The atmosphere at Homebush that day was electrifying, and to see so many black and white supporters instilled some extra Ryde Pride in all of us which I believe helped to get us over the line.

2017 was an unbelievable season for us. It was hard, but it was all worth it to hold that trophy in the air. I know I’m not alone in wanting to see what 2018 has in store – perhaps another premiership!

Kiona Nicholl

1st Grade Captain

2nd Grade

With a new coach on board and a mixture of youth and ‘experience’ 2nd Grade women were a team full of potential and looked set for the season ahead. However a number of injuries across the side, absentees due to travel, study and providing support to our 1st Grade girls saw the side rarely take the field at full strength, and facing some tough games against top teams in the competition. 

Despite only collecting four wins and two draws throughout the season, it was a credit to the girls that team morale stayed high. Everyone was extremely supportive of one another and also to those who stepped up to the challenge from 3rd Grade. Together we worked on both team and individual goals, providing encouragement to one another along the way. Enthusiasm and ‘Ryde Pride’ remained high till after the last game, making it an enjoyable season for all.

Throughout the season the team worked hard at improving our structure and set plays and this was reflected in the development of our defensive structure becoming fluid and flexible, and of our attackers increasingly able to capitialise on more goal scoring opportunities.

Metro League 2 is a quality competition and is always a challenging division for Ryde to compete in as we often play against other club’s 1st Grade teams, while also supporting our own 1st Grade girls in Premier League. Our final placing of 7th on the table was not reflective of the overall performance of the side. On a number of occasions we were able to step up to the top teams, quite memorably narrowly losing 0-1 to UNSW who went on to convincingly win the grand final and also drawing to regular finalists, Sydney Uni. During the second half of the season we also improved our results against each team, from Round 1.

Thank you must go to Ben Willson for stepping up to coach 2nd Grade women. It is always a challenge coaching a group of women, many who have played together for a number of years! We do appreciate you volunteering your time each week. Thank you also to Gina for running the side on a number of occasions and to Tim, Cecilia and Larry for your ongoing support. We had a total of 34 girls taking the field for 2nd Grade in 2017, so thank you also to all of the 3rd Graders who happily played up a number of weeks, often doubling up with their own games.

Finally, congratulations to our well deserved award winners: Kiera Batten: 2nd Grade Best & Fairest and team Leading Goal Scorer; and Shelly Pole: Women’s Club Best & Fairest Goal Keeper

Enjoy the off season and see you all back in the black & white in 2018.

Jess Dobbin

Player Manager

3rd Grade

The team started the year with a bang by winning the first three games and unexpectedly leading the competition. This was to prove a false dawn. We lost Ellie to 2s. Jess Cheun, Tess Herron and Tegan Lindsay for the season shortly after. The next nine weeks were tough with changes and girls doubling up and many of the younger girls coming to terms with the quality and speed of the opposition.

Training throughout the year was high in spirit and generally energetic. The players trained hard and numbers were consistently high. Much of the focus was on attack and working hard in defence, I.e. not to turn over the ball in bad areas.

It was a credit to all the girls that they worked hard in these areas throughout the year and got the results at the back end, where many of the goals they scored were of a high quality.

The team had two major goals for the season.

  1. To finish out of relegation
  2. To score more goals than previous year.

Both were ticked off and there is plenty to build on next year.

The highlights for the year were good results against GNS 3s, UNSW 2s and UTS 2s, and 1-2 loss against Premiers Sydney Uni where the girls won 2nd Half 1-0. This also coincided with the availability of Emily Manners, back to the team after holidays and cameos from Emily Hedditch, Tammy and Bec Liebson from 2s which added a bit of starch and polish to the team.

I’d like to congratulate Zoe McMillan on her SWHL award. She had a great season and improved like all the girls as the season went on.

I’d like to thank Captain Bec Dawson and manager Megan Starkey in making the season run smoothly and for being valuable sounding boards.

To Gina, Ben, Wally and Mick for their assistance when I wasn’t available, and of course Cecilia for all her organisation throughout the year for all the teams.


3rd Grade Coach

4th Grade

This year’s mighty 4th grade team struggled to find their mojo and definitely gave Mick a few new grey hairs! We consistently gave the top teams a touch up or even beat them but failed to capitalise against teams we should have easily beaten.  Congratulations to Charlotte Naylor who was the deserving winner of the best and fairest, her albatross-like reach, speed and skill made her a formidable opponent. It was a pleasure to play alongside such a talented, passionate and enthusiastic panther.

When all players were, available and had attended training to practice drills, beautiful hockey was delivered. Unfortunately, attendance at training was not always consistent with the exception of Luisa Basic who turned up week in week out, worked hard and then carried it over onto the pitch. Congratulation Luisa on your commitment and dedication.

The women of 4th grade spanned an age range of 30 years! Whilst this occasionally presented a challenge it is a wonderful system and opportunity to guide young players up through the ranks by “aged-to-perfection” older players. Both benefit from this system.

A special thanks to Mick Gunner who strapped the boots on for another year, he handled many last-minute changes like a pro and was always understanding and caring to all players and gave us a serve when we needed! Mick was ably assisted by wonder manager and player Meghan Baird who despite suffering a freak season ending injury kept the emails going and made sure there was a full team each Sunday, thanks Meg!

So, all in all a somewhat disappointing season for a very talented team. Perhaps this was the year we had to have to spurn us on to achieve the results we are definitely capable of. I choose to believe this and think 2018 will be the year of the mighty 4ths.

Marnee McKay

3rd Grade Captain

5th Grade

2017 was a great season for our side as the team played for each other and gelled really well. By the end of the season the team was probably more like a bunch of friends playing hockey and this helped us to stay competitive when the chips were down, which was not that often at all.  We really were the outstanding team in ML6.  The amount of commitment that was seen this year by everyone really showed in our results and this is a credit to all.  It made the team really enjoyable to coach as they were receptive to new ideas.

As a team we had some fun times such as when Laura suggested that I should purchase a drone to assist with recording our games, the threat that if the team won the Grand Final their coach would be have his legs waxed (what was I thinking, phew I got out of that one), the regular meal we had post game, the commentary on the game videos from the HABs (husbands and boyfriends) and such lines as robokate, hungry thirsty, and run forest run come to mind.

We didn’t have many lows this season; the only instance is when we lost several players, Caroline and Kara-Lee were both injured and left us with the possibility of not having a keeper in the Grand Final though Rosalie was brought into the team and did well. We also lost India to the US and Frog to the good old Aussie road trip to the FNQ.

The highlights of our season were that we secured the Minor Premiership and made the Grand Final. It was also every goal we scored, the wins we had, the fun we had as a team, and it was our supporters clapping us after our effort in the Grand Final. Another highlight was the weekly updates from Alex on our opposition and the regular interaction within the team.

The team made the Grand Final and played Mosman Harbourside. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure the win as we were understrength considering that we had lost three of our players to injury (Kara-Lee, Kate and Caroline) and Lucy to a road trip to FNQ with her dad.   We had a realistic approach to that game and played it competitively and with sense of pride on what we had achieved so far, the minor premiership and the promotion to ML5.

Congratulations to Laura “ghost” Wilson on winning the Best and Fairest award, a well-deserved award.  Thank you to Erin Kelly for the great job as our team manager, Trudy as assistant coach, who was responsible for our defensive record, and everyone who played for the team. 

Personally, I learnt a lot from coaching our side this year especially from a defensive point of view.  My main highlight is that every player developed their skills and made this side a memorable one. I would like to thank the team for allowing me to coach them this year. 

Gav Hughes

5th Grade Coach

6th Grade

I would like to start by thanking the player and the support team this year. Our sideline support helped the team to many victories and they were our secret weapon that other teams and umpires did not know how to combat   You played well ‘side line play’ (I am sure some teams and umpires are still trying to understand the rule   thank you – you know who you are). To Ben Warton, without your support and assistance with coaching the team at training this year we would not have made it to where we did – thank you. To all the players that helped out this year thank you.

At the commencement of preseason. we looked like we would have a great campaign, with the team now playing in a well-matched grade. After some hard preseason trials, we had a team of champions. We started the year off well – with only four games played we bettered our wins from last year and things were only improving. By half way through the season we were in the top four and finished the regular season in fourth position. Over the course of the season we had some very hard rough games from both players and umpiring (enough said).  Then to the semi-final. This was a hard game with both teams playing very good hockey. It was one of the best games the team had played all year and there were a lot of great games played over the season. Yet after a well-played game the result did not go our way.

To the team I wish to thank you all for a great season. You have done yourself proud to finish with all the hard work and commitment. It was a pleasure to coach you this year but most of the success should go the team which was a well-bonded side that always sought to play well. Once again thank you for making my task easy.

A special mention for Kashia. This was your first year with the club and to take on the manager’s role was a big ask – so thank you. Likewise, to thank Rosalie for playing in goals this year – you were a great asset to the team and the club thanks you.

To the players listed below you never gave up even when we were losing or were injured and had no more energy you still played the best you could. This is the reason you did so well this year. Ben and I can only give guidance. You are the ones that did it all, so never doubt yourself whenever you play.

Rosalie Flokstra (GK), Michelle Giaquinto, Kashia Nowakowski, Nicky Warton, Celene Rana,Nat Cook

Shelley Tate, Toni Duckworth, Pippa Quilty, Selina Ellis, Marielle Sprangers

Leigh Pasfield (field), Katie Duncan, Alison Vinkovic, Melissa Armstrong, Prachi Redey.

As coach, all the hard work is done on the field by the players. Any success for a coach is that the team did the best they can and no matter the result, it’s a team result.

I must thank the committee for the year. Without your hard work we would not be able to field a team – thank you.

And to the coaching assistance, from Larry and Gina and Ben, the team thanks you and I thank you.

 Hope to see you all next year to go the next step to greatness.

David Goosakoff

6th Grade Coach

7th Grade

The Ryde 7th grade women’s team was coached during the year by myself, with solid assistance from Gina Rees, Ben Wilson and Steve Dunn during the week training. Being the second year of coaching it was very pleasing to see the marked performance improvement with the team compared to last season.

There was a terrific blend of youth and experience within the team, with all players improving their skill levels as the season progressed. There were also some very positive traits shown by the team on the field. The ‘never give up’ attitude was at the cornerstone of being competitive during every game played through the year. This was also clearly evident with the courage displayed on the field, particularly with some of the ladies continuing to play on despite obtaining injuries. 

There was not much difference between the teams that made the top four and Ryde 7s. We finished mid-field in the competition compared to being at the tail of the competition last year. These are encouraging signs for next season. With the rate of improvement in the team continuing, setting goals towards making the top four next year is within reach. 

Strong attendance at training and eager participation in all the training drills contributed towards the improved performance. I would encourage the team to continue with this commitment next year as the rewards will be visible in the manner we play the game on the field.


Mark Sookias

7th Grade Coach