Marist Magic are the NZWPNL champions after defeating defending champions North Harbour Cootes Construction 8-6 in Sunday’s final at the National Aquatic Centre in Auckland. It’s the Magic’s first title since 2013 and their second-ever since the league began in 2003.
2017 NZWPNL champions Marist Magic
After leading by as much as six goals, Hutt Heat fended off the Waitakere Blue Devils 11-9 to claim back-to-back bronze medals.
BRONZE MEDAL: WAITAKERE BLUE DEVILS 9 v HUTT HEAT 11
WTK: Sid Dymond, Nick Stankovich, Daniel Cameron, Sean Newcombe, Rai Santiveri 1, Jamie Cameron, Daniel Cercols 7, Craig Hustler, Nick Paterson 1, Scott Graham. Coach: Goran Sablic. Manager: Lisa Armstrong.
HUT: Josh de Reeper, Lachie Watson, Jack Ross, Hamish Waddell, Cameron Hayes 4, Sean Bryant 1, Hamish Booker, Matt Quin, Conor Lui, Matt Bryant 3, Jerome McGuinness 3, Adam Pye, Connor Bougen. Coach: Craig McGuinness, Assistant: Chris Naylor, Manager: Sheryl McGuinness.
The NZWPNL men's bronze medal game was streamed to Facebook Live. Watch the match back here.
Daniel Cercols put on a spectacle in his last hit out for the Waitakere Blue Devils this season, scoring seven of their nine total goals including all four in the first half. Leading at one stage in the first quarter 3-1, the Blue Devils sank for the middle half of the game as Hutt Heat ended the first quarter in front 6-3 (Cameron Hayes 3, Sean Bryant 1, Matt Bryant 1, Jerome McGuinness 1).
Daniel Cercols scored seven of nine Waitakere Blue Devils goals
The second quarter was more closely contested but Hutt Heat still managed to extend its lead to four, doubling the score of the Blue Devils at the half time break.
The Blue Devils needed to score quickly to make a statement at the start of the second half and they did so after twelve seconds through Rai Santiveri for a climable 5-8 defecit, but Hutt turned up the heat and scored the next three (McGuinness 2, M Bryant) to make the gap the biggest it would be in the game; six goals with over a quarter and a half to play in the bronze medal match.
Blue Devil Jamie Cameron wrestles with Hutt Heat's Matt Bryant
Waitakere would score the final four goals of the game (Cercols 3, Nick Paterson) but it wasn’t enough to climb the mountain that the Heat had put in front of them and Hutt Heat claimed the NZWPNL bronze medal 11-9.
GOLD MEDAL: MARIST MAGIC 8 v NORTH HARBOUR COOTES CONSTRUCTION 6
MAR: Thomas Kingsmill, Phill Howat, Cayne Dew, Ryan Pike 2, Alex Berenfeld, Matt Small 2, Callum Maxwell, Liam Paterson 1, Fabian Wanrooij 1, Chris Cormack, Richard Chambers, Matthew Lewis 2, Phillip Hargraves. Coach: Reza Soleimani, Manager: Christine Lewis.
NHB: Dylan Smith, Jake Lockwood, Jono Houzet, Dave Couper 2, Finn Lowery, Alex MacKenzie, Rowan Brown, Owen Chambers 2, James McLean, Anton Sunde 1, Matt Morris, Jonny Clarke 1, Mitchell Goff. Coach: Zoltan Ridzyk, Assistant: Nick Grieve.
The NZWPNL men's gold medal game was streamed to Facebook Live. Watch the match back here.
In a rematch of the 2016 final, a back-to-back title was on the line for the home team North Harbour, whilst Marist Magic was chasing its first title since 2013.
Defending champs North Harbour were kept to no goals in the first quarter
Of their three clashes this season, Marist Magic had the upper hand with two wins (13-9, 9-7), whilst the other game went the way of North Harbour via penalty shoot-out (7-6) in Rotorua.
Marist Magic drew first blood with a man up play where the goal went the way of Matt Small, followed by a long range shot from Liam Paterson for 2-0 early in the game. The momentum continued and turned into a dream start for the Magic, and they ended the quarter four goals clear of North Harbour (Fabian Wanrooij, Matthew Lewis).
Left-hander Matthew Lewis scored two for the Magic in the final
After the Magic piled on four goals in fewer than five minutes, North Harbour provided the response they needed to and the final was turned on its head. Mitchell Goff lit the spark that got the home team going, scoring a tip in from a six on five at 4:57. That was followed up by Anton Sunde (outside shot) and Owen Chambers (two six on five shots) and just like that the lead was gone for the Magic and it was all even 4-4. Dave Couper went one better and made it five goals in a row and for North Harbour from a counter attack for 5-4. With 12 seconds remaining in the half, Matt Small ended the drought for the Magic and levelled 5-5.
The score sat at 5-5 after a turbulent first half
After the hot pace of the first two quarters, the two teams settled but then couldn’t find the back of the net for the majority of the third quarter. It was Marist Magic who scored after seven minutes through a brilliant passage of play between Matthew Lewis and Ryan Pike that allowed Pike to score for 6-5. It’d be the only goal of the quarter and Magic were in front by one at the last break.
Matt Lewis scored a crucial goal to put Marist in front by two with six minutes to play, and it took North Harbour two minutes to respond when David Couper was awarded a foul and let the ball go, skipping it past Marist goalkeeper Thomas Kingsmill for 7-6 with three minutes left of the clock. Chambers and Pike then combined to score a tip-in goal for 8-6 and all the Magic had to do for two and a half minutes was hold their lead.
They used the time they had with ball in hand wisely and defended well to celebrate at the full time hooter by diving into the pool. The Magic had avenged their loss from the year before to defeat the defending champs 8-6.
2017 NZWPNL champions Marist Magic
Daniel Cercols (MVP - Top goal scorer) - Waitakere Blue Devils
Fabian Wanrooij - Marist Magic
Cameron Hayes - Hutt Heat
Dylan Smith (GK) - North Harbour Cootes Construction
Thomas Kingsmill (GK) - Marist Magic
Jonny Clarke - North Harbour Cootes Construction
Matthew Lewis - Marist Magic