PORT Macquarie will field 10 teams at next weekend’s NSW Junior State Cup.
Arguably the strongest team the association will field will be in the under-14 girls division who will aim to improve on last year’s success.
The Port Macquarie side was knocked out within moments of full-time by Nelson Bay Neptunes after qualifying third in their pool in 2016.
Coach Cath Eichmann said the disappointment of that loss would spur her girls on to greater heights in 2017.
“There is a bit of an expectation on the girls to perform again,” she said.
“This group have made the semi-finals since they played in the under-10s so you know they are a really committed group.”
Eichmann said their dedication to training and working hard was one of the keys to the group’s continued success.
“They’re always up at 7am on a Saturday morning doing some training and you don’t usually associate that with girls this age,” she said.
“They work really hard on their fitness.”
For the team to progress past the semi-finals they could have to overcome Nelson Bay or Manly.
“The girls are sick of being beaten by Nelson Bay and Manly are certainly the team to beat,” Eichmann said.
"They’re always up at 7am on a Saturday morning doing some training and you don’t usually associate that with girls this age."Port Macquarie under-14 coach Cath Eichmann
“We’re lucky that we’ll avoid both of those teams until the semi-finals.”
The leadership group of Petria Spencer, Bianca Green, Chloe Eichmann, Emily Wright and Laura Ellison will show the way for the rest of the team.
“They have been involved together for a while, so we’ll look to them to have an influence,” Eichmann said.
The coach has set the bar high for her team this year.
“It will be disappointing for us not to make the semi-finals,” she said.