Sunday Territorian 23 Dec 2012
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56 Sunday Territorian. Sunday, December 23, 2012. www.sundayterritorian.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 2 3 -D E C -2 0 1 2 P A G E : 5 6 C O L O R : C M Y K SPORT THE YEAR IN TERRITORY HOCKEY sundayterritorian.com.au Another successful year JESSWEBSTER takes a look back at an eventful 2012 in Territory hockey Joel Carroll enjoyed a breakout 2012, winning an Olympic bronze medal and helping the Kookaburras to Champions Trophy glory, among other achievements Picture: BRAD FLEET The Stingers and Pearls were again competitive in the Australian Hockey League in 2012 Nightcliff Tigers took out yet another DHA mens title this year C OUSINS Des Abbott and Joel Carroll lit up the stage at opposite ends of 2012, while the NT Stingers created a slice of history in yet another action-packed year of Territory hockey. Abbott, 26, became the first Territory athlete to win the coveted NT Sportsperson of the Year award three times when he took out the top honour in March for his superb performances last year. It added to his wins in 2009 and 2011, when he tied with Australian womens cricketer Shelley Nitschke. Another Territory striker in Brooke Peris, 19, made her Australian senior debut when Australia A beat Korea Telecom in a test series in Perth early in the year. Peris scored the opening goal for the Aussies in a solid first outing in green and gold. Centralian Stephen Versteegh, 27, continued the month of firsts when he made his international umpiring debut during the Kookaburras two test series against China and Japan in New South Wales. Since umpiring the 2009 under-18s National Championship final, Versteegh upgraded to the under-21s the following year and was selected to umpire the final in his first attempt at that level. He also umpired in the senior Australian Hockey League this year. F ollowing on from winning the NT Sportsperson of the Year award, Abbott rea ched his 100th international test for Australia against China in a remarkable achievement for the Palmerston-raised striker, who debuted in 2007. But it all turned sour for the world-class star after he was sensationally dropped from the Kookaburras London Olympic squad due to a degenerative knee injury. Abbott and Carroll has made history after they were selected in the initial squad as the first two NT athletes to be picked in the same Olympic team. Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth called his decision to drop Abbott the toughest of his career. It came just a fortnight after Abbott played in Australias final international hitout before the Games, against New Zealand in Cairns. It was hoped when Abbott was chosen in the 16-man squad that his injury would improve, but he required surgery and was sidelined out for the rest of the year. C arroll would go on to match Abbotts 2008 Beijing bronze medal when Aust ralia finished third in London, beating Great Britain. Speaking after returning to Darwin and playing for former club Nightcliff, Carroll rated the Olympic campaign the best experience of his life, despite missing out on the ultimate prize. The 26-year-old capped off a stellar year when he won this months Champions Trophy in Melbourne Australias fifth consecutive title two weeks after winning the International Hockey 9s Super Series player of the tournament award in Perth. It was Carrolls second Champions Trophy win after featuring in 2010, but it felt even sweeter after his comeback from a raft of injuries which put him out of action for the bulk of 2011. His year to remember rose even higher when he attracted the fourth highest price for an Australian player in the Hockey India League auction ($53,120), and will join the Mumbai Magicians for the start of the tournament in January. T he Territory Stingers created their own slice of history when they recorded their best finish to an Australian Hockey League season after defeating ACT Darters 2-1 in a stunning turnaround in Canberra in October. After failing to win any of the round matches to sit in last place, the Territorians beat Tasmania 2-1 in their first finals match before prevailing over the hosts for their highest placing since joining the competition in 1998. The inexperienced Territory Pearls also rounded off their AHL campaign in style, defeating Tasmania 3-2 in their only win of the tournament to finish seventh. Four young Territory players are in contention for Australias 2013 Junior World Cup squad following outstanding National Under-21 Championship campaigns. Mens co-captain Jeremy Hayward, 19, goalkeeper Adam Luck, 20 who gained national selection for the first time and womens star striker Brooke Peris were named in the Australian squad. Elizabeth Duguid, 20, was not named in the National Junior Squad but is eligible for the World Cup as the goalkeeper is already a part of the senior Hockeyroos squad. The NT under-21 womens side beat Tasmania 3-2 to secure seventh place at the National Championships in Adelaide, while the injuryravaged men finished sixth. The under-18s also failed to reach the finals at the National Championships with the men finishing seventh and the women eighth. W aratahs made it a hat-trick of Darwin Hockey Association womens premierships with a gutsy 4-3 grand final win in extra time against Nightcliff. Gabby Parker was the heroine when she converted a penalty corner with 45 seconds left in the second half of extra time. Tahs captain Zoe Smith won the Most Valuable Player in the final with Tigers gun Samantha PangQuee winning the A-grades best and fairest, Jemma Markos the under-18 MVP and Elizabeth Duguid the under-21 MVP. The Nightcliff Tigers dynasty continued following an epic 2-1 mens grand final win, also in extra time, against rivals St Marys. A Greg Anstess goal with 40 seconds left in the second half of overtime ensured the Tigers won their 10th premiership from 13 consecutive grand final appearances, while denying St Marys its first flag since 1991. In a twist of fate, Tigers playing-coach Barry Shewring had left Darwin for Perth after playing in the Saints last premiership, and only returned this year after 21 years away to coach the Tigers to glory against his old club. Former captains Michael McGregor, 42, and Dylan Fraser, 34, who have both featured in all 13 grand finals and played A-grade for 25 and 18 years respectively, retired following the win. East Darwins Jordan Thornycroft took out the best and fairest award by two votes over Tigers Cameron Abbott. Jason Hullick was the under-18s MVP, and Jeremy Hayward won the U21 MVP.