Cardinals overwhelm brave Murchison to claim seventh straight hockey shield

Headshot of Jake Santa Maria
Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Cardinals celebrate their seventh straight premiership.
Camera IconCardinals celebrate their seventh straight premiership. Credit: Jake Santa Maria

Death, taxes and Cardinals premierships seem the only certainties in life as the team won an incredible seventh premiership in a row over the weekend.

Cardinals were always the favourites heading into the clash having gone undefeated all season and they were not to be denied on the night as they ran out 3-1 winners in the final.

They were dominant to start as they had Murchison under pressure early with the game being played in the Cardinals’ attacking third.

But Murchison was defending well and they managed to grow into the quarter as it went on and relieve some of the pressure off their back line.

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With the game even upped, neither side could penetrate the circle with nothing getting through, but it only took one lapse for Murchison to break through.

Just before the end of the quarter they found a way into the circle and landed a sucker punch through a series of short passes in which Kayley King flicked home as Murchison took a 1-0.

It was an unlikely lead but one they had not earned through working their way into the game and the pressure was on the Cardinals to respond.

They came out strongly in the second half and won an early short corner but Murchison was able to get the block and clear.

But they were on top and they found the equaliser from a long corner across the face of goal where Mikala Van Niftrik was there to bury the goal.

Murchison almost found an immediate response but Leah Hoefhamer was up for to the task.

It was the last Murchison attack as Cardinals poured on the pressure but they were holding on well even if it was nervy on time as they stayed level at one-all into the half.

The Cardinals maintained their dominance as they forced a save and went just wide with the follow-up before Camryn McKoy won a short corner after getting the better of two defenders.

They could not convert but the ball was living inside the Murchison defence and the wait of possession eventually told as Sian Crudeli forced her way through to score.

Things got worse for Murchison as King was shown a green card to leave them down a player. However, they almost landed another blow right on a break as they won a short corner and fired a shot off but Hoefhamer saved to maintain the 2-1 lead into the last quarter.

Cardinals did not let up in the final quarter as they continued to pour balls into the Murchison circle.

They could not break through as Murchison held on grimly, but it was difficult to see how they were going to find a score to get back into the match.

Jo Walker made some desperate saves to keep them in it and Murchison took out Walker to bring on an extra player.

However, it did not make a difference as Kiara Jones tapped in a cross to ice the game and hand the Cardinals their seventh premiership in a row.

Regan Fitzsimmons was thankful for her team’s performance.

“Thank you to everyone who came out and to Murchison for a great match,” she said.

“I really want to see more people playing hockey next year. To my girls thanks for a great season, it’s so good to come out and play with you girls each week.”

Lauren Martin from Murchison was MVP, a credit to just how well her and the team withstood the Cardinals pressure for so long.

Captain Brooke Elward was proud of her side despite the loss.

“We’ve had a brilliant year this year despite a pretty broken season,” she said.

“We probably only made about four trainings all year and did pretty well, so hopefully we can do a few more next season and take the shield.”

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