TAMWORTH 13 A’s will be hoping to go one better when they compete at the State U15 Boys’ Championships this weekend in Grafton.
Last year the Graeme McKenzie-coached side finished runner-up.
McKenzie gives his side a chance of emulating – or even bettering – that.
“We’ve got the potential to do quite well,” he said.
He has three of last year’s side returning in Toby Whitten, Calvin Farmilo and Sam Buster.
Most of the remainder of the team were in Sue Budden’s B team last year, which also went quite well.
“It’ll be how we put it together over there on the weekend,” McKenzie said.
He feels they possibly have a bit more strikepower this year.
Last year they really struggled to score goals.
“I’m hoping we can score a few,” he said.
“A couple of guys are pretty clever in front of goals.”
On the flip side they are possibly not quite as strong defensively.
They haven’t had a lot of hockey together leading in but several of the side have been playing well of late.
Whitten will be a huge asset in the middle, McKenzie said.
“The more touches he gets the better we’ll go,” he said.
Farmilo has also been playing well, and even had a couple of runs in men’s first grade, while the likes of Luke Maher and Noah Pitt are backing up from before the school holidays helping Polding win the state title.
Pitt will play as a striker and has been in good form.
Lachie Butler also played at the state carnival – for North West – and has been playing well at club level.
McKenzie also likes the look of Buster.
He’s got huge potential.
“He’s a good, strong, fast boy and can cause a bit of damage,” he said.
Fitness coach Michael Gould has also given them the tick of approval.
McKenzie said he reckons they’re a handy group from a fitness perspective.
That could be critical should they get to the latter stages of the tournament.
“It’s a reasonably tough pool,” McKenzie said.
“We’ve got Sydney (2) first up.”
They then play Illawarra at 7pm tomorrow (Friday) night, followed by Newcastle and Manning Valley on Saturday.
McKenzie is expecting Newcastle to be tough.
“They won the York Cup two years ago,” he said.
Tamworth is sending away two teams, with Budden again looking after the B’s.