Skipper sinks extra-time winner
AFTER playing in all but two minutes of Sunday night's extra-time thriller, Sara Rogers felt mentally tired.
"Very much so, especially being a semi-final, it was a little bit more intense as well," Rogers said.
"Even the build-up towards the game is draining."
However, the dependable Hancock Brothers captain said the effort was worth it after scoring her team's 87th minute winning goal.
The Australian Country player was in the right spot to net the goal that gave Hancocks a chance of winning back-to-back A-grade premierships.
"I just touched it in," she said, having broken the 1-1 deadlock.
"It was a bit of a scrappy goal but I'll take it."
Rogers' match-sealer was her first winner in extra-time.
"It was a close game. Both teams probably had a lot of opportunities to win," she said.
"It was stronger defence I think. Both teams defended really well."
Norths forced extra time after equalising through Kirsten Ihle.
Aimee McDermott scored Hancocks' first goal, making a timely return from injury.
Hancocks coach Brendan Eleison shared the five-on-five drop-offs anxiety.
"It was one we didn't really need or want," Eleison said.
"It was good to get away with. It wasn't the best game of hockey."
However, Eleison was pleased his team earnt another shot at minor premiers Swifts. The women's grand final is at 4.15pm on Saturday.
"I think it's really deserved," said Eleison who took on the coaching job this season.
"The girls have certainly been working really hard, especially these last six weeks or so.
"They've really gone to another level. Credit to the girls, they kept fighting away and found a way to win with a bit of good pressure."
Eleison believes Hancocks are capable of upstaging Swifts, like they did in last year's memorable grand final.
"We've been the team that's probably challenged Swifts the most," he said.
Like Eleison, Rogers said Hancocks deserved to play in the grand final.
"We've had a pretty good year," Rogers said. "It was great to see some of our younger girls starting to step up as well."
Eleison conceded big improvers Norths were worthy opponents in the preliminary final.
"They've always been tough to play," he said. "They worked us out a little bit and apply a lot of pressure.
"They are a good grinding team, just like we are."
Senior preliminary finals September 7-8
Men's A Grade: Easts 5 (T Woodford 2, C Mantell, B Sippel, D Mantell) d Wests 4 (N Hooper 2, A Gotting, D Goodwin).
Reserve Grade: Easts 2 (D Manson, T Woodford) d Wests 0.
A2 Grade: Norths Red 3 (R Haley 2, K Way) d Hancock Brothers 0.
Women's A Grade: Hancock Brothers 2 (A McDermott, S Rogers scored winning goal in 87th minute of extra time) d Norths 1 (K Ihle).
Reserve Grade: Swifts 3 (J Choppy, C Shaw, R Anderson scored winning goal in 93rd minute of extra time) d Thistles 2 (Alexis McKenna, Amanda McKenna).
R2 Grade: Swifts 4 (D Hall 2, J Choppy, L Shaw scored winning goal in 73rd minute of extra time) d Hancock Brothers 3 (J Smith 2, K McDermott).
A2 Grade: Bellbowrie 2 (C Nelson 2 scored winning goal in 80th minute of extra time) d Vets 1 (K Camplin).
Junior grand finals September 7
J1 Boys: Wests 7 (M Moran 3, B Arndt 2, T Andrew-Sharrad, C Neilsen) d Hancocks Blue 2 (K Jackson, Z McCoombes).
J2 Boys: Bellbowrie 1 (M Schulz scored in 78th minute of extra time) d Wests White 0.
C Grade Girls: Norths 2 (A Nevin, Z Fox) d Collegians 1 (E Reeve).
D Grade Girls: Norths 4 (L Hess 3, K Muller) d Wests 0.
E Grade Girls: Wests Black 1 (J Office) d Wests White 0.