Wesley South Perth (WASPS) Hockey Club is tipped to turn the tables on their 2017 grand final defeat according to the Hockey WA (HWA) Men’s Premier League Captains.
WASPS, who were defeated 2-1 by the University of WA Hockey Club (UWA) in the 2017 decider, were placed at the top of the pile in a poll of the 12 Premier League clubs captains this week in the lead up to the opening round which began on Saturday 24th March.
Three clubs received consensus (11 votes) on making finals, WASPS, reigning premier UWA and Old Haleians (Hale) Hockey Club, with the latter also favoured to join WASPS in the grand final.
Four clubs, including YMCA Coastal City Hockey Club (YMCC), who dominated the Premier League with five premierships in seven years from 2009-2015, failed to receive a vote and looked destined to battle it out to avoid the promotion-relegation series at the end of the year.
In terms of individual awards, the captains votes were spread amongst a variety of players. The Olympians Medal for the ‘Fairest and Best Player’ looks an open race, with Josh Pollard (Old Guildford Mundaring Hockey Club), WASPS Kiel Brown and Matthew Butturini (Fremantle Hockey Club) both World Cup Gold medalists, among the favourites.
The Paul Gaudoin Youth Award also looks an open race according to the poll, with only two players receiving multiple nominations.
Westside Wolves Hockey Club (Wolves) look to have a promising young team, with three players receiving nominations. Recent Kookaburra debutant Jake Harvie received two votes, while Jake’s younger brother Tom also received a vote, despite not yet having made his Premier League debut. Alistair Murray was the other Wolves player to receive a nomination.
Hale’s Liam Flynn is a very popular (8 votes) tip to claim back-to-back Eric Pearce Top Goalscorer awards, while former national development squad member Leon Hayward, who has moved from UWA to Old Guildford Mundaring Hockey Club (OGMHC) is the favourite to win the Just Hockey Fairest and Best Goalkeeper award, having received more than 40 per cent of the votes.
When quizzed on the most anticipated matchup in the HWA Premier League, the captains chose the David Bell Trophy. Spectators can pencil in ANZAC day 4pm at Aquinas Turf, with two clubs that 1986 World Cup Winning Captain, David “Dibs” Bell, represented during his club career, Old Aquinians Hockey Club and Fremantle Hockey Club facing off.
One final question fired at the captains was to ask which player would you pay to watch and why? The best of the responses, in the eyes of the author, was “The RealDealBeale – the most skillful player in world hockey.”
The HWA Men’s Premier League is arguably the top state league in Australia, with the Hockey Australia High-Performance unit based in Perth, the league is home to the best players in Australia.
This makes it home to some of the best players in the world such as homegrown Sandgropers Trent Mitton and Aran Zalewski, Queenslanders Daniel Beale and Jacob Whetton and Tasmanian superstar Eddie Ockenden.
Sadly, supporters in Perth will not be able to see retiring Kookaburras Captain Mark Knowles play in 2018. Knowles has returned to his home state of Queensland, where he will represent Eastern Suburbs Hockey Club in the Brisbane Hockey League.
Knowles’ final tournament for the Kookaburras will be the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Which four other clubs (assuming your club will make it) do you think can make this year’s finals?
Old Haleians Hockey Club – 11
University of WA Hockey Club – 11
Wesley South Perth Hockey Club – 11
Fremantle Hockey Club – 5
Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club – 3
Westside Wolves Hockey Club – 3
Old Aquinians Hockey Club – 2
Old Guildford Mundaring Hockey Club – 2
Which other club (assuming your club will make it) is most likely to reach the Grand Final?
Wesley South Perth Hockey Club – 6
Old Haleians Hockey Club – 3
University of WA Hockey Club – 2
Fremantle Hockey Club – 1
Who do you think will win the 2018 Olympians’ Medal?
Josh Pollard (OGMHC) – 3
Kiel Brown (WASPS) – 2
Matthew Butturini (Fremantle) – 2
Joshua Beltz (Hale) -1
Frazer Gerrard (UWA) – 1
Tim Howard (Raiders) – 1
Lucas Sevestre (Westside Wolves) – 1
Jack Welch (YMCC) – 1
Who do you think will win the 2018 Eric Pearce Top Goalscorer?
Liam Flynn (Hale) – 8
Harry Golding (UWA) – 1
Blake Govers (Old Aquinians) – 1
Justin McDougall (Melville) – 1
Alec Rasmussen (Hale) – 1
Who do you think will win the 2018 Just Hockey Fairest and Best Goalkeeper?
Leon Hayward (OGMHC) – 5
Tristan Clemons (Melville) – 3
Sam Hewitt-Dutton (Curtin University) – 1
Dom Hird (Vic Park) – 1
George McGeoch (Westside Wolves) – 1
Atish Patel (Raiders) – 1
Who do you think will win the 2018 Paul Gaudoin Youth Award?
Liam Flynn (Hale) – 2
Jake Harvie (Westside Wolves) – 2
Lucas Allen (Curtin University) – 1
Coby Green (UWA) – 1
Tom Harvie (Westside Wolves) – 1
Alistair Murray (Westside Wolves) – 1
Marshall Puzey (YMCC) – 1
Alec Rasmussen (Hale) – 1
Lachlan Sharp (Melville) – 1
What is the most highly anticipated matchup in the HWA Premier League?
David Bell Trophy (Old Aquinians Hockey Club v Fremantle Hockey Club) – 5
University of WA Hockey Club v Wesley South Perth Hockey Club – 4
Melville City Hockey Club v Wesley South Perth Hockey Club – 1
University of WA Hockey Club v YMCA City Coastal Hockey Club – 1
University of WA Hockey Club v Westside Wolves Hockey Club – 1
The captains 2018
Curtin University Hockey Club – Dane Angwin
Fremantle Hockey Club – James McPherson
Melville City Hockey Club – Tim Geers
North Coast Raiders Hockey Club – Matthew Espie
Old Aquinians Hockey Club – Adrian Lockley
Old Guildford Mundaring Hockey Club – Tim Bates
Old Haleians Hockey Club – Justin Knapp
University of WA Hockey Club – Chris Bausor
Victoria Park Xavier Hockey Club – Ian Burcher
Wesley South Perth Hockey Club – Cale Walsh
Westside Wolves Hockey Club – Alistair Park
YMCA Coastal City Hockey Club – Graeme Begbie