Kuether sizzles in heat fadeout
HOCKEY: The Cooloola Heat has finished the Sunshine Coast season in third position on the ladder, after losing their match against Buderim Rebels on Sunday.
Hoping to keep their chances of a top two finish and a second chance in the finals alive, the Heat were well in the mix with nine minutes to go, trailing the undefeated competition-leaders 2-1, but a late fadeout allowed Buderim to shore up the win with two more goals.
"We were in the contest for most of the match, but it just seems to be some small lapses in concentration that are allowing Rebels to get quick goals against us," Heat coach Dom Stephens said.
"Our issue in attack was that we needed our strikers to spread the field more and try to use John Daly and Nathan Stephens in the middle of the field.
"Our strikers were receiving the ball where the midfield should've been so we had no options further up the field."
Adding insult to injury, Heat veteran Neil McKean was forced from the field with a suspected torn calf muscle.
"Macca has been one of our best players this season and hardly missed a match, despite playing through back injuries for most of the season," Stephens said.
"We are hoping it's not as bad as first thought but he was in serious pain.
"Mitch Kuether had his best game of the season for us, shutting down Buderim's gun midfielder.
"Kueth' dominated him throughout the match, making some great tackles and turning defence into attack."
Maroochydore's 2-1 win over Flinders on Sunday means that second spot is out of reach for Cooloola, even if they won their catch-up game against Maroochydore last night.
The Heat will take on fourth-placed Flinders in a knockout semi-final on Sunday.
Sunshine Coast div one ladder (before Cooloola v Maroochydore catch-up game last night):
Played 25, won 22, drawn 1, lost 0, 2 byes
P24, W10, D1, L11, 2B
P24, W8, D2, L12, 2B
P25, W5, D4, L14, 2B