Two A-division teams, different expectations.
That’s the broad outline of the script that Tamworth’s boys and girls under-13 hockey sides will take into the four-day indoor state championships, which begin in Orange on Friday.
The girls side has been labelled a development squad who are not expected to make the finals, only two years after Tamworth claimed gold at the championships.
The boys side was “a bit of a mixture” including possessing more polished talent, their coach Justin Constable said.
The girls play Central Coast in a tournament opener on Friday.
Their manager, Lou Giddings, said: “We’re a development team. We’ve got quite a young side, so it will be tough.”
“It will be a good learning curve,” she added.
The side was also disadvantaged, Giddings side, by “several” of the players having no indoor hockey experience.
She said leading coach Greg Doolan planned to launch indoor hockey at the Dome next year to aid player development.
The boys play New England on Saturday to launch their tournament.
Constable said the side had been training for about two months.
The under-13 boys finished second at the 2016 championships.
“We’re in A division, which will be really hard, but hopefully we should hold our own,” he said.
He added: “We’ve got a couple of top-age boys and two bottom-age boys and two young boys who have come up from under-11s. So we’ve got a fair spread of age.”
Tamworth’s goalie, Sam Griffith, who represented NSW’s under-13 side at the recent nationals, was one of the side’s key asset, Constable said.
“I’ll be disappointed if we finish in the relegation game, and I’ll be very, very excited if we finish in the semis,” he said.
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