NSW BEST IN COUNTRY
10th Oct 2002
German Robert Blanke gave NSW the winning goal to back up team-mate Scott O'Brien's 4 goal spree against the Vics at Canberra on the weekend to claim the AFA title. In a see-sawing match, NSW shot to a 2-0 lead early in the first period while the Vics gradually settled into their game plan. Bringing the match to 2-2 by the end of the first period the match was swinging the Vics way and this momentum remained to their favour scoring to make it 3-2. A turning point 5 minutes into the second period brought NSW a power play and Nino Kinnunen passed to Scott O'Brien behind goals, O'Brien circled the Vic goals like a shark and pinned the ball to the top right hand corner. Once again the Vics fought back with one minute before the end of the second period to make it 4-3. It was then all NSW in the third period as Vics relied on the effective combination of Ville Peltomaki and Chris Frieman. Just 6 minutes from the end NSW rookie Josh Leard passed to Scott O'Brien in front of goals who turned and netted to the goalkeepers right. It was then the passing between Claude Altenbach and Robert Blanke that brought about a text book goal with the ball on a string for NSW.
The State v State event was a success with ACT also playing their first games quite successfully. Canberra may host this event on an annual basis with other State v State matches to be played at venues such as Albury/Wodonga or Wagga Wagga.
27th Oct 2002
In a quality round of matches Glebe Floorball Club held out two tough nail biting matches to take maximum points against Newcastle Crabs and Northern Beaches at Newcastle Basketball Stadium yesterday evening.
In the first match between Newcastle Crabs and Northern Beaches, a tough first period was completed with scores locked at 2 all and both teams showing hard physical play with no give. A reformed Northern Beaches team with Czech stars Daniel Dornal and Alex Eppert worked tirelessly giving great support to club stalwart Harri Granholm who helped take control of the match in the decisive 2nd period. The Newcastle team never gave up and looked good all over the court thanks to the injection of German captain Robert Blanke. This strength gave the Newcastle Crabs a solid final period with 3 goals to each side, however not enough went their way with the final score at 8-5.
Having set the pace for the 5th round of matches in the NSW Floorball League, Northern Beaches looked to be back to their best when they where not so long ago undefeated for two years. Glebe FC had other ideas though, and despite having a poor shot attempt rating compared to their Sydney counterparts, pulled away to win the match in the last 20 seconds thanks to Claude Allenbacjh. The score reading 4-3.
The final match in the NSW Floorball League between Glebe and Newcastle Crabs was expected to be an even contest. With the scoreboard at 2 a piece and the following period at 3 a piece, expectations where justified. Whatever Glebe came up with, the Newcastle Crabs seemed to have a reply with Jorn Pettersen and Scott OBrien replying to every attack and goal conceded, with Chris Collins and Robert Blanke supplying direction and spark in defense. Despite these efforts it was once again, Swiss star Claude Allenbacjh who sealed victory in the last 5 minutes to send Glebe into outright second spot on the NSW Floorball League ladder behind Newcastle.
The NSW Floorball League is the highest level of regular Floorball competition in Australia. The current League season is 02-03 and consists of a tri-series home and away format with development matches once a month to assist new clubs wishing to join the fierce competition.
NEWCASTLES DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT
27th Oct 2002
Combined with the NSW Floorball League in Newcastle on the weekend was the womens matches between the experienced Sydney Club and the newly formed Newcastle womens team. At the helm for Newcastle where coaches Michael McCallum and Chris Collins and leading the way on the court was Australian representative Nicole Ambrose.
The first match was tough for the newly formed Newcastle team with Sydney running rampant in attack and scoring 4 unanswered goals. The second period showed the Sydney team exploiting more of Newcastles weaknesses and scoring a further 6 goals. The shot attempts rating for the Sydney team was far in excess of the Newcastle team 48 to 6. The encouraging sign for the locals though was the final period when keeping the Sydneysiders to just one goal, this being an indication of how quickly the sport can be learnt and how well the team can combine.
It was then no surprise that for the second match Newcastle meant business and more importantly knew their business. The first period could have gone either way with Sydney edging out with one goal and following up in the second period more decisively with 3 goals. The final period saw a sign for the future though with fast and furious, and reasonably structured play, both sides not giving an inch. With a minute to go Sydney where still fighting to preserve their clean sheet but lost that battle to talented teenagers Bec McCallum and Saskia Mersmann combining well to force the the current Australian womens goalkeeper to switch posts with a perfect cross court pass. The pass by Saskia Mersmann to Bec McCallum was pure reflex and precision, the shot from McCallum the same, giving the Newcastle team a goal to reward them for a valiant fight against much more experienced opponents.
Best on court from Sydney was the captain Sarah Mitchell and newcomer Angie Smith along with Nicolette Maury threatening the goals regularly. For the Newcastle team Bec McCallum showed her superior skills, confidence and leadership while Nicole Ambrose and Anine Gutubakken significantly balanced the team from its first match to turn around the first scoreline of 11-0 to 5-1 in the second match. Debutants for the Newcastle team Amy Smith and Vivienne Moult also brought their background from competitive hockey into the many one on one challenges and tussles for the ball.
The Sydney womens team makes a majority of the Australian squad which will compete in the May 2003 Womens World Championships in Switzerland. With a little more opportunity to play it is quite likely that a couple of Newcastle womens players could be considered for the training squad. Newcastle girls will get that opportunity on November 30th when Sydney hosts the next rounds of the NSW Floorball League.