SERVICES Workies weren’t at their polished best on Sunday but did enough to be the first team through to the inaugural Northern Hockey Premier League grand final.
Workies struck early and held off a stiff challenge from Tudor Wests to advance through to the decider 6-3.
Like they did two weeks ago, Tudors pushed the minor premiers and, after trailing 4-1, got back within a goal with around 30 minutes to go in the second half.
They had the chance to level with 23 to go after Workies had miscued a short corner but Workies somehow managed to scramble back and shut it down.
A minute later Ryan Saban – on the third regather – restored Workies’ two-goal lead.
They struck again with six minutes to go to put the result beyond doubt.
Workies coach Simon Massey was “happy to get away with the win”.
“It wasn’t the most polished or composed performance,” he said.
“Part of that was our own rushing on the ball and partly the pressure Tudors put on.”
The signs were promising early, with Workies flicking high off a short corner to go 1-up after just five minutes.
Tudors answered straight away after a mis-trap by Workies in the circle and scramble, but Workies replied with three unanswered goals to seize the momentum.
They had a few more opportunities then that they couldn’t finish, but generally it wasn’t as free-flowing as it usually is.
“It didn’t feel like we had the connection and movement through the midfield that I feel is more typical of our game,” Massey said.
They were exposed a few times in defence too, especially in the first half.
“I think Tudors like to play this counter-attacking game,” he said.
He thought they sucked them into playing that kind of game a bit, which partly led to a couple of Tudors goals.
“Really until 10 to go the game was up for grabs,” Massey said.
He said their finishing touches up front got them through.
Tudors coach Sam Lobsey thought similarly. Workies took more of their opportunities than they did.
“It was a game where we held the ball well and gave ourselves a lot of opportunities up front that we didn’t take,” Lobsey said.
“We couldn’t get penalties and results in the 25.”
Despite the result, Lobsey saw a lot of positives and was really happy with the way they played.
“We went hard and everyone put in a big effort,” he said.
He said their mid-match fightback came a lot from continually pressuring the Workies defence and thought they were generally pretty good in defence.
“There were probably a couple of times we had a defensive lapse and they got in behind us,” he said.
“That led to a couple of goals.”
Andrew Finch was their man of the match and great in defence.
Jock Evans was also great again, filling in at centre half for Lobsey.
“He held the ball well in the middle,” Lobsey said.
Isaac Woodley was Workies’ best.