TACKING Point Thunder Blue Tongues would give almost anything to have Brad Paterson, Bryce Philpott and Ben Harris at their disposal every week.
The trio play most of their hockey in the Taree competition, but they returned to the Blue Tongues’ side in style on Saturday.
Paterson scored a bag full of goals while Philpott also found the back of the net in their commanding 8-1 victory over the ladder-leading Port City Bull Sharks.
Port City had no answers despite drawing level at 1-1 early in the match, but from there it was a procession as the third-placed Blue Tongues closed the gap between themselves and the top.
With five of their key players missing, the Bull Sharks always faced an uphill task, but when Paterson, Philpott and Harris all returned, it was almost mission impossible.
Blue Tongues captain Haydn Alexander said they were pleased to welcome the talented trio back into the side.
“The guys coming back from Taree gave us that attacking game because we’re normally quite a defensive side,” Alexander said.
“Whenever we play it’s normally only one goal (the) difference whether we win or lose.”
“To have them back and putting balls in the back of the net was the key.”
Two quick goals in the shadows of half-time extended the Blue Tongues lead to 4-1 at the break after it had been 2-1 for most of the half.
They then went on with it in the second stanza.
“It almost looked like an A-grade team playing a B-grade team at the end,” Alexander said.
“That’s what we miss each week; we’ve been gelling in the last few weeks so to have them back and scoring goals was the difference.”
Alexander noted the body language in the Port City players at full-time.
“They were shattered after the game,” he said.
Port City captain Dan Little said the absence of five key players didn’t help their cause, but refused to use that as an excuse.
“The best thing about the match is that it doesn’t feel good to be towelled up by seven goals and you’ve got to come ready to play,” he said.
“That’s what I told some of our youngsters after the game.”
Little conceded inexperience cost his side.
“They were too physical for us and pushed us off the ball too easily,” he said.
“We threw away too much ball, but we will take it in our stride and use it for next time.”
The defeat won’t cost Port City their spot at the top, but did provide a reality check for them heading into the final third of the season.
“They were too good for us; we were never in the game,” Little said.