Flinders take the Heat out of the final
HOCKEY: The Cooloola Heat, although heading into the weekend's grand final against Flinders at full-strength, lost its bearings after losing a key player at the beginning of the decider.
The Heat went down 2-1 in the final played at Ballinger Rd, Buderim on Saturday in what player/coach Dom Stephens described as not the prettiest game to watch.
Stephens said like any grand final, it was a physical tussle which led to players being sent off.
Within the first four minutes of the match, Ben Fitzpatrick received a high ball to the chin which sidelined him for majority of the game.
"He has been one of the most consistent if not the best player this season," Stephens said.
Fitzpatrick returned to the field with about 20 minutes to go but was taken to hospital after the match with a split chin.
He usually plays all game and controls a lot of the play as one of the experienced players.
Matthew Hurrell came through for Gympie scoring the first goal off a corner at the 20 minute mark to put them ahead at half-time 1-0.
The Heat had plenty of opportunities to score but struggled to find the net.
With 16 minutes to go, the final soured for the Heat as Flinders scored the equaliser, putting the crowd on the edge of its seat.
Flinders secured its victory in the last five minutes off a penalty stroke after Gympie defence deflected an own goal.