Ipswich's latest national champs: Layla shares the joy
HOCKEY: "It's so hard to beat''.
With those five words, rising Ipswich talent Layla Eleison summed up what it meant to share in Brisbane Blaze's historic Hockey One national title success.
Eleison and another Hancock Brothers product Jordyn Holzberger were part of Saturday's rivetting shoot-out victory over host team Melbourne.
After the scores were locked 1-1 after regular play, Blaze won the shoot-outs 3-2.
When Blaze were confirmed winners after the umpires checked the final shootout-out strike, Eleison raced over to hug goalkeeper Hannah Astbury for her exceptional effort in the shoot-out and earlier saving a Melbourne stroke in the final few minutes of regular time.
Holzberger also rushed over to join the Eleison, Astbury victory embrace.
"Ipswich stays close,'' Eleison said, delighted to have Commonwealth Games silver medallist Holzberger share the terrific moment together.
"As I play with Jordy, it gets a lot better. We're a lot closer now.
"It's great to play with her even though she still lives in Perth.''
Watched by her parents Brendan and Debbie and sister Abby in Melbourne, Layla said the achievement capped a wonderful debut season.
"It was great to play in this Hockey One League but the way to end it was a bit nerve-racking,'' she said.
"It was probably one of the best games of the league. I think we all played really good hockey.''
The national league rookie was elated with the exerience.
"Just playing really good hockey with my best friends and winning and having the celebration,'' she said.
Being part of Brisbane's triumphan team also boosted her confidence.
"It just gives me a better idea of how much more I can play and how much more I can get fitter,'' she said.
"I can go every year, all year and I enjoy playing so it's not like it's a task.''
Eleison will enjoy a short break from national competition commitments before returning to Blaze pre-season training.
She can focus on that next season have completed her Queensland under-21 duty.
Women's grand final: Brisbane Blaze 1 (3) (Britt Wilkinson 37') def HC Melbourne 1 (2) (Florine van Grimbergen 43'). Blaze won 3-2 on penalties at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne.