The traditional rivalry between Rockingham Redbacks and the Peel Rebels continued on Saturday night when they played in the Willow Bridge Cup Grand Final at The Perth Hockey Stadium. Peel,who have had Rockingham’s measure this season, won a very entertaining game 6-3 in front of a large crowd.
It wasn’t the finish to the season that the home side were looking for after being Minor Premiers and almost unstoppable during the home and away games. Peel, who were last year’s Premiers, had too much finals experience and knew what it takes to win the elusive Grand Final. They got an early break scoring 3 unanswered goals in the first 25 minutes of the game. The Redbacks hit back with a penalty goal from Christian Oskam, but Peel stuck back with another goal before half time.
In the second half Rockingham started to dominate the play after Peel started with an early goal, but the home side missed several golden opportunities in front of goal which cost them dearly.
Olly Bond did manage to find the back of the next to give the home side a slim hope but Peel again replied with their own goal. Redbacks Shaun Ford scored in the final minutes, however by then the game was out of reach.
Rockingham played far better than the score indicated and matched Peel on the field but had a few costly misses in front of goal.
Coach Michael Nobbs was full of praise for his young team, saying they far exceed his expectations for the season and he was looking forward to next season where he expects them to learn from the defeat and go one better.
Peels Coach Neville Griffiths also praised the Rockingham side saying they will be a force for years to come, being such a young side combined with the Junior programme that Rockingham have some of which have made the WA State team.