KIWI Diggers are plotting a return to the top of the Tamworth men’s competition hockey tree but Services Workies might have something to say about that.
Between them the two hold the silverware, with Kiwis winning the minor premiership and Workies the defending champions and tomorrow chasing their fourth successive premiership.
The two have shared some close battles this year and on more than one occasion there’s only been a goal separating them.
Kiwis head in as the form team and have the game plan and personnel to topple Workies, coach Greg Doolan says, it’s just a matter of getting a few key things right.
Defence is one of those.
Early in the season they were inpenetrable.
Then they had a period where they leaked a lot of goals.
“But we seem to have been able to fix that again and our defence has been solid,” Doolan said. “If we do well, it will be on the back of good defence.”
Josh Worpel at the back and Martin Courtney in goals have been outstanding all year and will form the backbone of their defensive effort.
“We’ve got to get defensively set to give ourselves an opportunity,” Doolan said.
“We don’t want to be chasing four or five goals.”
Doolan watched Workies beat Tudor West last week and is expecting them to step it up tomorrow.
“I expect them to go to another gear,” he said.
“They’ve got the players who can do that, step up a bit further.”
He’s pretty happy with how their game is functioning across the park but stressed they have to maintain their discipline.
“We can be ill-disciplined in our game plan at times,” he said.
That’s when they get into trouble.
“When we keep things simple, we create opportunities and limit the opposition’s opportunities,” he said.
Workies came through the preliminary final to win the title last year but know they will have to pull out a big performance, with Kiwis over the season probably having the edge on them.
Last week probably wasn’t their sharpest performance of the season but coach Simon Massey thought they did pretty well.
They just need to now make “a few little improvements and slight changes” for what Kiwis will throw at them.
“I’ve found in games against Kiwis getting the momentum in the games is the key,” Massey said.
Both sides have had runs of goals in quick succession when they’ve played.
“We’ve had a number of second-half comebacks and they’ve had a couple of first-half blowouts,” he said.
“Kiwis will come out strong. It’s important for us that we don’t let them get any momentum against us,” he said.
And what momentum they get they need to build on.
The game gets underway at 3pm.