HOCKEY

United toughs out draw with Hawthorn

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Right: Emily Hamilton-Smith, cocaptain of the victorious Victorian Under 15 team, playing against Hawthorn on Saturday.

IT was always going to be a tough for Southern United’s Premier League teams against Hawthorn on Saturday.

The Hawks’ men finished second on the ladder in 2016 and Southern was tenth.

The season has started well for United but with four players out for state duties at the Under 18 Australian championships (two of them part of the Australian Futures squad) the weekend was going to be even tougher.

The Southern players put their best foot forward and showed they were made of tougher stuff.

In what was probably the best match of hockey at Farm Rd, the locals came away with a two-all draw.

Hawthorn started strongly with a penalty corner drag flick in the first minutes, and that set the tone of the game.

Southern replied quickly with two goals, one from Pedro Lopez-Alsonso and the other from captain Jamie Coombes. A second draft flick from Hawthorn at the 15th minute was the last score for the afternoon. The rest of the match was intense, with both teams fighting hard for the ascendancy. It never came.

For the women’s team it was going to be even tougher. Last time they met, Southern was also short of state players, and this time around it was without four stars, including Australian Future squad member Olivia Downes.

United fought hard but went down 1-7 with the power of ex-Hockeyroo Emily Hurtz Hawthorn doing the damage for Hawthorn.

Southern players have also just returned from the Under 15 Australian championships where the Victorian Blue team, with Emily Hamilton Smith as co-captain, took out the national title.

The Victorian Blue boys team finished with the silver medal with Craig Marais from Southern United as captain and players Billy Hanrahan and Will Carruthers.

COBRAS SC, based at Victory Park, Bentleigh, faced Mooroolbark SC in their State League 1 SE Round 4 match, their first at home this season. And striker Cort Kibler-Melby had supporters in high spirits when he scored in the sixth minute. The Cobras controlled the pace of the game as the pairing of Joe Summerbell and Elias Tsintzas continued their great form. Speedy Winger Oscar Knight was causing havoc down the right wing, complemented by left winger Oliver Daly scoring in the 36th minute. Half time had the home team leading 2-0. In the second half the Cobras started well with defenders Denis Botvenev and Christian Smak starring in the backline. But the locals were stunned in the 65th minute when the Mooroolbark striker headed past Cobras goalkeeper Jayden Allen. The inclusion of Chris Sanita, Michael Johnson and Luke Branca in the remaining 25 minutes steadied the home team and the final whistle blew with the score at 2-1.