Gympie's Annie brings Thunder in shock Wide Bay hockey win
HOCKEY: Gympie region hockey star Annie Johnson was part of the Wide Bay Thunder side that defeated a highly fancied Brisbane Blitz to win the Polygras Super League Tournament over the weekend.
The Thunder, comprised of players from Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Gympie and Fraser Coast, defeated the Blitz 1-0 in a tight final at the State Hockey Centre to claim their first state title since 2014.
Wamuran product and Australian Hockeyroos star Jodie Kenny sent her penalty stroke past Brisbane goalkeeper Emily Burrows in the 37th minute of the match to claim the crucial winning goal and hand the Thunder the title.
Johnson, a striker who has also earned recent selection in the Queensland under-21 set-up, said she was thrilled to be a part of the tournament-winning team.
"It feels really good. On the first day we won both our games but it got a bit harder on the second; we had a draw and a loss,” Johnson said.
"We knew we needed a win the next morning and we beat Northern 10-0, which really helped us. I've been a part of this team for four years and that was my first grand final so it was a great opportunity, and to beat Brisbane 1-0 was just the cherry on top.”
Johnson said she would remember playing with someone of Kenny's stature forever.
"She didn't have anything going on with the Hockeyroos so she was able to play with us. She was obviously a huge asset for us on the field,” she said.
"To play with the Aussie captain was really cool, a great honour. It's something I'll remember forever. She had a lot of knowledge and wisdom about the game to pass on to us.”
"Rock-solid defence” from Kenny and fellow Aussie Ashlea Fey and Queensland Scorchers goalkeeper Hannah Astbury saw Wide Bay concede just four goals in six games at the Super League.
Kenny and Bundaberg product Britt Noffke tied on five goals each to lead the Thunder's tournament tally.