While Saturday’s final round men’s clash between NSW Pride and Adelaide Fire has team wide permutations for both, there is a unique piece of family history that will be made.
For the first time in their collective playing history, brothers Blake and Kieran Govers are set to come up against each other on the pitch.
With a combined 272 Kookaburras matches between them, it is a special occasion for 35-year-old Kieran and 27-year-old current Kookaburras star Blake.
Kieran has been playing with Adelaide Fire this season, helping the team enter the final round in fourth spot and a genuine chance of making finals for the first time.
In addition, Saturday’s game will also be Kieran’s last professional match if the Fire do not make the top four.
“With my brother being a bit older than me, we didn’t play too much together as kids but have obviously played together now a fair bit for club, state and also the Australian team,” said Blake.
“Kieran is a great player and I’m just lucky I’m up against him towards the end of his career because I’m hoping I’ll be able to move a bit better than him at the moment.”
“I’m looking forward to playing against him having never actually played against him before.”
Putting family rivalries aside, the Pride forward said the defending champions are looking forward to the game this weekend.
“It’s another step towards the finals which is where we want to be,” said Blake. “We’re feeling confident going into the game, we have a great team and a good vibe within the group.
“There are a few things we need to nut out before we play because we know Adelaide has been playing some good hockey, but I think it’s going to be a great challenge.”
Having debuted for the Kookaburras back in 2015, Govers has scored 135 goals in 149 appearances for the national team.
He credits his incredible strike rate not to natural ability, but to countless hours of practice, noting it’s a dream and a privilege to be in the situation he is in.
“Day in, day out, playing for your country is always a good test for yourself and your character,” he said.
“No matter what team I’ve been in, I’ve always just wanted to win and be competitive, and I think for me, that started as a junior.
“As a young kid, I used to live near a hockey field and I think I wore out the circle I was down there so much just smashing goals in. Since then, all I’ve wanted to do was score goals, and I’m fortunate enough now to have been given the responsibility to take the strokes, be the drag flicker and be a striker for the Kookaburras.”
With six goals to his name this JDH Hockey One League season, Govers notes the team is excited to play in front of their home crowd and showcase the sport of hockey to the NSW audience one final time this year.
“For the NSW Pride, we don’t really get to play often in front of the home crowd and the kids, so it’s awesome to be back and showcase the craft,” he said.
“It’s a later game so hopefully people stick around, we can get in the flow of things and put on a good match that’s exciting to watch.
“The team this year is great, from defence up, so hopefully we can win some corners, I can put some away for us and maybe even snag a field goal or two.
“Going into the finals round, we’re just hoping to reach our top level. We have a lot of tactics that change game to game, we have a lot of Australian players in the team and all gel quite well, so the main thing is to have fun and just get into full flight.”
Saturday night’s double header at the Sydney Olympic Park Hockey Centre starts with the women’s match at 6.30pm followed by the men at 8:30pm AEDT.
The JDH Hockey One League Finals Main Event will combine the eight best Men’s and Women’s teams in Canberra from November 25-26. For more information and tickets, click here.