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Back You are here: Home Sports Hockey Other Hockey: Profile on St Mary's DSG Kloof's Captain Max Hannan
Monday, 09 July 2018 09:59

Hockey: Profile on St Mary's DSG Kloof's Captain Max Hannan

Written by  Jonathan Cook

THE St Mary's first team leader Maxine (Max) Hannan thrives on the responsibility of her position, it's not a burden.

Says Max, "The captaincy brings out the best in me. I consider it an honour and look forward to the challenges this brings."

Max the player, what does the position she plays bring to the first team's fortunes: "I play centre half, enjoy playing at the back where I can see the whole game. I prefer the thrill of being the last line of defence and like the control of being able to slow the game down and change the channel of play if necessary."

This is her third year as a permanent member of the first team. In grade 9, though, she was called up to play at the prestigious Oranje Super 12 Tournament in Bloemfontein, and hard-earned match time has honed her game. "Over the years I have become a more calm and confident player with better vision of the game, and have learned to play to my strengths. I treat each game as a new game and I strive to always give 100%. I feel that I have earned my stripy socks and add value as a senior member of the team."

So who is Max's "partner in crime" in the team leadership role and are fellow team members in sync with the game plan and their responsibilities? "Vice-captain Jodie Conolly is a great source of support. The majority of our team have played together for a while and everybody knows and understands their role in the team, which definitely lightens the load. We all have great respect for each other both on and off the field which makes my role really enjoyable."

'Our coach Kelly Reed has great vision and her one-on-one feedback sessions with each player offer guidance in a way that team coaching as a whole cannot.'

There is little doubt that the St Mary's first team have already realised the dream aspired to by the top hockey schools in the country in winning the St Mary's Waverley title, and there are more challenges to come. "Winning the Investec St Mary's Waverley tournament has paved a great foundation for the season that lies ahead. We are only a couple of matches into our official school hockey season but the Waverley win has definitely encouraged and motivated us to push harder. In saying that, it has also motivated our rivals - every team wants to topple the top team.

"What we were most excited for recently was the Spar KZN Regional Qualifiers Tournament that took place on Sunday the 6th of May. We won 5 out 5 of our round-robin games scoring 15 goals conceding 0 and then beat Westville in the finals. Having now qualified, we are aiming to retain our title at the Spar KZN Schoolgirls' Hockey Challenge Finals. Additionally, in terms of our annual KZN fixtures, we always look forward to our traditional rivalry with Durban Girls College and this match is always a highlight. Another big target for us this season is earning an invitation to the Oranje Top Schools Tournament later in the year."

The skipper has been in love with hockey since first playing at age 5, and has represented KZN Coastal since under-12. "Interestingly, my first provincial coach in grade 6 was Mr [Malcolm] Reeders who is now our head of High School Sport and MIC of hockey at St Mary's. Mr Reeders is a great believer in doing the basics correctly and then building from there. We were gold medal winners under him and I have always enjoyed his approach to coaching. Our coach Kelly Reed (nee Madsen) is a St Mary's Old Girl and it was inspirational for us at school to watch her play for our 1st tam and then to play for South Africa. She has great vision and her one-on-one feedback sessions with each player offer great guidance in a way that team coaching as a whole cannot."

The support of family and friends has been a key facet of the Max Hannan success story to date: "
I am blessed in having a very supportive family who always make sure that there is at least one family member watching my games. Come to think of it, I do not think that I have ever played a game of hockey without a family member there, cheering me on.

"On our recent tour to the Netherlands my Nan, commonly know as Nanny, and my uncle, came over from the UK to watch my games. It is always nice to have your family there to celebrate the victories and it is equally as important to have them there to reassure you after things have not always gone your way. I can always rely on my family to give me honest feedback, even if I do not really want it!

"My older sister Giorgia is a great role model. Watching her play hockey whilst I was growing up fuelled my passion for the game. Giorgia unfortunately suffered a serious knee injury which kind of put a sudden stop to her hockey. Having said that, the resilience that she has shown in handling her injury and moving forward has been amazing. This has motivated me to enjoy every game and make the most of each moment. My first real hockey friend and 'twin' - we share the same birth date - Leah Piggott must also get a mention. Since our grade 4 year, Leah and I have played in almost every school and provincial team together, and a tour or game just would not be the same without my fiery red-headed sister!"


Though still at a relatively early stage of what should be a long stint on the turf over the next decade or two, Max has already played a stack of hockey games. Looking back at her burgeoning hockey career, which of the memorable match-ups has particularly stuck in the mind of the centre half and her team? "After consulting the whole team we have to say that our game against Bloemhof at the Waverley tournament was by far the favourite. Who can forget that incredible backhand goal scored by Cerian Fourie that enabled us to move on to the semis!"

Max, then captured the St Mary's Kloof experience in a moving sequence of words ... "It is such an honour to be the captain of any team ... and to captain the St Mary's team is very special. We are a family of sisters who play for each other and not for individual glory. We are fortunate and privileged enough to attend such a great school as St Mary's that challenges us to always do our best. Our school motto "Service before self, God before all" inspires us always."

Max Hannan, the driving force on the field - encouraging her team-mates and leading by example... Max, it's been an absolute privilege to chat with you. SA School Sports Magazine wishes you and St Mary's all the best for the rest of the season.