Heat roll into finals

Neil McKean was in fine form for the Heat on Mother’s Day setting up goals against Maryborough Brothers.
Neil McKean was in fine form for the Heat on Mother’s Day setting up goals against Maryborough Brothers. Judy Stephens

FOUR wins in a row has turned the Cooloola Heat hockey side's fortunes around in the 2012 Wide Bay Premier League.

After a sluggish start to the season, the young Heat looked to be out of finals contention but coach Peter Chatman's positional changes have seen the Heat hit top form at the back end of the season.

On the weekend, they played in a double header and won both matches on Saturday and Sunday.

First up, the Heat played Maryborough Colts and demolished them 9-0 on Saturday night.

The Heat started slowly but came home with a flurry dominating the Colts side.

Queensland junior Drew Wenzel was once again in great form scoring two goals along with Daniel Naismith, while Dean Walker scored a hat-trick.

Dom Stephens and Jamie Austin each scored a goal.

Stephens said the Colts' game was a good confidence- booster for the team's must-win clash against Brothers on Sunday.

The Heat had to win to have any chance of making the premier league finals and they played well, knocking over Brothers 6-3.

Stephens said it was important for the Heat to win after such a slow start to the season. They had three players who couldn't play on Sunday due to other commitments and the Heat called on veteran Neil McKean to fill in.

He played extremely well setting up the first goal.

Wenzel and Naismith scored another double while Mitch Kuether chipped in with two of his own.

The Heat are currently in fourth position on the table and a win against arch rivals Bundaberg Cities this weekend will cement them a spot in the semi-finals for the second year in a row.

"It is great for us," Stephens said.

"We lost nine players from last year's grand final side."

"We have a lot of young players and have been building as a team."

He said Wenzel had been an inspiration up-front for the Heat and his Queensland schoolboys' teammate Joey Collins had been solid in defence.

"Joey has stepped up this year playing full-back," Stephens said. "He plays mistake-free hockey."

Stephens was also full of praise for McKean who just returned from a stand-out performance for Gympie at the state titles.

"Macca set up the first goal and played really well," Stephens said.

Topics:  cooloola heat hockey wide bay premier league

Gympie Times