Marist Magic Men National Champions

The Marist Magic faced off against the Hutt Heat in the final of the 2019 Honda National League. Marist had come through pool play undefeated, with an unassailable points margin, and Hutt placed second in pool play. Both teams had played well in their semi-finals and the Final promised to be a cracker.

Hutt came out all guns blazing in the first quarter. Their centre-forward Jerome McGuiness was a real threat and forced Marist to operate a zone from the start. This played into Hutt’s hands and some strong out-side shooting saw Hutt extend out to a 2-0 lead. Further play saw a great ball threaded through to McGuiness for a 3rd and then another outside shot for them to end the quarter 0-4 up. Marist were stuttering and all of their shooters were unable to find the target in the first period, despite some great opportunities.

The tide started to turn in the second period with a great back-hander to open the scoring for Marist from Fabian Wanrooij. Tom Kingsmill in goal started to put in some strong blocks enabling Marist to find the platform they needed and claw back to a 4-5 deficit with fine goals through Matt Lewis and Ryan Pike. Unfortunately, a sending out and a great finish saw Hutt go into half-time with a 4-6 lead.

The third quarter was a real physical battle, with both sides conceding majors and struggling to convert. Marist seemed to be gaining the upper hand with goals from Matt Small and a fantastic shot from Richard Chambers, but were still leaking goals at the other end. A novel man-up move involving both left-handers saw Richard Chambers add his second goal, and at the end of an action packed quarter Marist had pulled the deficit back to be level 7-7.

The Final was really alive and a nervous crowd sensed that Marist had the opportunity to take the upper-hand and started to really back their team.

Opening the last quarter with a man extra, Marist had the perfect opportunity to go ahead, however squandered the opportunity following a fine save by the Hutt Goal-keeper. Hutt came back and took the lead early in the quarter but in response Marist finally got their man-extra working well and Braeden Drennan held his nerve with a well executed goal to get them level. Matt Lewis who had been working hard all game scored a great out-side shot to put Marist into the lead 10-9 for the first time in the game with just under 3 minutes to play. However, this was not to last long and a superb goal by Matt Bryant, under pressure, levelled the scores to 10-10. Marist continued to push hard with several counters and Liam Patterson responded fantastically to the pressure with a great goal from 7 metres to put the game 11-10 in favour of Marist. Hutt threw everything into a final attack, sitting their goal-keeper at centre forward and trying to convert an extra man opportunity, but Marist shuffled well and managed to steal the ball back and close the game-out.

A great final and a fitting close for the Marist Magic who remained unbeaten all year!

Many thanks to Jacques Ventor and Chris Jarvis for the many hours committed to coaching through the year, and Christine Lewis who once again managed the team.

A great close out for the Marist club for winning both the Tier one and Tier two Men’s competitions.