2017 Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association grand final for A-grade men and women

Grand finalists: Luke Hough, Catherine Carroll, Jacob Searle and Louise Oirbans ahead of this weekend's hockey grand finals. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Grand finalists: Luke Hough, Catherine Carroll, Jacob Searle and Louise Oirbans ahead of this weekend's hockey grand finals. Photo: Ivan Sajko

TACKING Point Thunder will shoot for successive A-grade titles in a little under 24 hours this weekend.

One of the strongest clubs in the Port Macquarie-Hastings Hockey Association competition, the Thunder will be represented in both the men’s and women’s deciders.

The women could claim a hat-trick of premierships with success over Port City, while the men will have to overcome minor premiers Wauchope.

Thunder women’s captain Louise Oirbans said the secret to the club’s success was with their junior base.

“With the kids that are coming through, we’ve got a really good competitive junior base, which is testament to the coaches and the commitment that Tacking Point Thunder have had for the last few seasons,” she said.

When Oirbans looked ahead to Saturday afternoon’s season decider, she was expecting a tight match.

“We’ve played them plenty of times this year, but they’re a good team,” she said.

“Offensively we’re probably a bit stronger but it doesn’t make any difference because you attack with 11 and defend with 11.

“You don’t have an opportunity to focus on attack or defence. You’ve got to score goals to win games.”

Opposition vice-captain Catherine Carroll said Port City finished as minor premiers and were confident of overcoming their strong opposition.

They won three of the five matches between the sides throughout the season.

“If we continue to play our game, we’re the strongest in the comp for movement of the ball, so if we do that and not lose our heads we should be right,” she said.

“Our attack is our strength and it’s very evenly matched between the two teams so it’s always a good game when we play them.”

On Friday night, Wauchope A-grade men will look to complete the minor and major premiership double when they also clash with Tacking Point Thunder.

Wauchope were no match for the Thunder in the major semi-final and captain Luke Hough said it had provided motivation.

“We didn’t have our best game of the year in that match and didn’t capitalise on our scoring opportunities so we’ll have to do that this week,” he said.

“But last week against Port City we had a pretty convincing win which gives us a bit of confidence.”

Wauchope finished the season as minor premiers and Hough said they had the benefit of having a few players left from their last A-grade premiership.

“We’ve got a few new faces back after a couple of years away this year,” he said.

Tacking Point vice-captain Jacob Searle said his side would use its youthfulness to its advantage.

“We’ve got a lot of young guns in our team so that’s something that we’re pretty proud of,” he said.

“Hopefully if we keep going through to the second half we should have the fitness.”

He said the key to victory was with stopping Wauchope’s counter-attacking style of play.

“They’re very fast to get forward and attack,” he said.

“So it’s pretty easy if you get complacent for them to score a couple of quick goals so we need to be careful about that.”

The A-grade men’s grand final starts at 7pm on Friday, while the women’s decider starts at 3pm on Saturday.

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