Future bright despite frustrating final

IPSWICH-based Queensland Country coach Nathan Hooper was "exceptionally frustrated" by his team's performance in the national championships final.

"I think that is the most dominant I've ever seen a team play without actually winning the game," he said after Queensland's 2-1 loss to NSW.

"We had something like 16 circle penetrations in the second half alone to their two.

"We just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net.

"It was tear your hair out type-stuff."

After Queensland trailed 2-0, Ipswich A-grade player Aaron O'Bierne scored with about 20 minutes to go. However, the NSW side held on to be the only team to beat Queensland all week.

Despite the last match disappointment, Hooper worked well with Toowoomba-based manager Steve Hawthorne in his first time as Queensland Country coach.

"Steve and I really enjoyed our time there and it was a great bunch of guys," Hooper said.

"The whole week went really, really well and we'll both definitely be nominating again next year."

Leading into Saturday's final, Queensland beat ADF 3-0, Western Australia 3-1, Victoria 3-0 and South Australia 5-0, drawing with NSW 3-3.

The Queenslanders beat Victoria 1-0 in the semi-final.

Hooper expects a number of players to be available next year after Queensland improved from third and fourth place finishes in recent years to all but win the national title.

"It was good to bring a bit of life back into the side and really set a good standard," Hooper said.

"It's something for us to build on for the next few years and hopefully we can move it forward for Queensland hockey."

The Queensland Country women were impressive all week, beating NSW 4-1 in their grand final.

The women overran Victoria 4-0 in their semi-final.



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