Dom Stephens and Ben Fitzpatrick. Photo: Troy Jegers
Dom Stephens and Ben Fitzpatrick. Photo: Troy Jegers

Two Coast powerhouses spark Cooloola Heat side

HOCKEY: The Cooloola Heat men’s players have their sights on a grand final berth this season and their coach thinks they have a good shot with their two star recruits.

Cooloola Heat player/coach Dom Stephens. Photo: Bec Singh
Cooloola Heat player/coach Dom Stephens. Photo: Bec Singh

Ben Hyde and Bradley Duff were a part of Maroochydore’s premiership-winning side about two years ago and they bring that wealth and experience to the Heat.

“Ben moved up to Gympie from the Sunshine Coast and decided to have a run with us this year,” coach Dom Stephens said.

“Brad is an ex Gympie boy who lives on the Coast and has decided to come back and play for us.

Brad Duff is a former Gympie boy who comes back to play. Photo: Bec Singh
Brad Duff is a former Gympie boy who comes back to play. Photo: Bec Singh

“They add the missing link with their age mid-20s/mid-30s, it is perfect for us because we have always been a bit too young or too senior. It has filled in a hole for us.”

MORE SPORT NEWS:

Stop strangling our Hammers out of a home ground

The Gympie man intent on shaking things up for fading sport

The new additions allow the Heat to have a versatile formation in their game structure.

“The strength of the team is our flexibility in our line-up. We were stuck last year with two possible line-ups,” he said.

“Adding in Ben and Brad and with the addition of Ben Fitzpatrick, it will give us the flexibility to try different line-ups and move players around.

Cooloola Heat in action against Buderim.
Cooloola Heat in action against Buderim.

“Changing the line-up or position is a different look for the team you are versing and it can be confusing for the opposition.

“We have the choice to move Nathan Stephens (captain) into the striker position without losing too much in the midfield.”

Heat had a breakout season last year and Stephens’ aim could hit the mark.

“We had a really successful bounce back last year and we will be continuing on from that,” he said.

Harrison Parker for the Heat against Buderim.
Harrison Parker for the Heat against Buderim.

“We will have to wait and see what the other teams have done. I am sure they have recruited well. Last year was the tightest comps ever and it will be interesting to see what players they have.

“We want to win the competition. I think last year out goal was to try and be competitive, which we proved but this year we need to step up a level and go for the whole lot.”

Heat player David Dixon.
Heat player David Dixon.

Stephens said that if the playing group is fit the side will be in a good position to claim the title.

The Heat’s first game is next Saturday against Maryborough for the Ash Birt Memorial game at Gympie Hockey fields at 6.30pm.