Victoria snatches national title

VICTORIA is the national under-13 boys' hockey champion after scoring a thrilling 3-2 win over Western Australia in its final round-robin game at Barrie Smith Field, Murwillumbah, on Saturday.

Western Australia went into the clash unbeaten in its previous six matches and needed only a draw to claim the championship, whereas its opponent needed to win to leap-frog the Sandgropers into the top spot.

Victoria's victory took it to 19 points, one ahead of Western Australia, while New South Wales claimed third position after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Queensland in the final game of the tournament on Saturday.

New South Wales finished on 16 points, ahead of Queensland 12, South Australia 7, Tasmania 6, ACT 3 and Northern Territory 1.

In other results on Saturday, ACT snuck home 5-4 over Northern Territory and South Australian smacked Tasmania 4-1.

Northern Territory might have finished on the bottom of the ladder but the players, officials and supporters combined well enough to be awarded the coveted Play The Whistle Award, which is presented to the team contingent that shows the best sportsmanship throughout the tournament.

The other big prize presented during the presentations was the Player of the Tournament Award, which went to Western Australia's brilliant Jake Harvie.

Harvie played superbly again and managed another great goal in the final, but his efforts weren't quite enough for his team to win and become the national champion.

Victoria looked to have the game in the bag early in the piece, taking a 2-0 lead into the half-time break and then adding another 19 minutes into the second half.

However, the boys from the west began a tenacious fight back to reduce the deficit by two and set up a thrilling finish.

Patrick Coates opened the scoring in the 20th minute by converting a penalty corner and George Katsaras doubled the lead on half-time with a nifty field goal.

Max Hendry converted another penalty in the 49th minute and the game appeared to be all over bar the shouting.

But young Harvie got one back for Western Australia in the 64th minute and just two minutes later the margin was reduced to just one when another outstanding talent, Jesse Ryan, converted a penalty corner.

Over the final stages of the game the Western Australians went on all-out attack and only solid defence in the field and some great saves in goal prevented them from finding the equaliser.

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