TO the unassuming hockey fan, a 7-1 loss is probably nothing to write home about.
But Orange Wanderers coach Andrew Reddan likes what he sees.
His side, competing in its first trial match of the 2013 season on Sunday against the tough, Sydney-based Burwood Briars, went down by six goals at the Orange Hockey Complex.
It’s a big loss, make no mistake about it.
But the beauty of the pre-season is just that, the Wanderers have until just prior to June to hit the ground running in the 2013 regular season.
“Everyone put in a really big effort. I like the signs,” Reddan, in his second year in charge of the merged Orange Premier League Hockey side, said.
He added the 2013 playing group was desperate to improve on its fifth place finish last winter.
“I think they can too. There’s no ifs, buts or maybes about it, and I think the boys got a bit of a taste at what they’re capable of (against Burwood in the first half). It’s just a matter of getting their butts to training,” Reddan said.
The Wanderers coach, who’ll be joined again by Dave Watson in 2013, has plenty to be positive about.
Against renowned representative talent - which included Orange junior and Australian under 21s representative Nick Hill and NSW Country representative Keiran Gentles - Orange matched it with Burwood throughout the first period of the match, going into the half-time break locked at 1-all.
This early in the season, Reddan wasn’t sure his side had such a good, first-half hockey effort in it.
He was wrong.
And he was happy to be.
“We created a lot of opportunities. I was really quite surprised at the amount of chances we were able to create,” he said, adding the likes of Nick Sharp, Mick Dillon and goalies Chris Allport and Troy Kelly all shone.
Reddan’s men eventually leaked six second half goals but that’s due to a lack of fitness rather than ability.
He pleaded with his men to turn out at training in their droves this week.
“We’ve been training for the last month but we would have only had half of our squad at any one time,” he said.
“We just need to get our fitness up and our stick skills and passing will improve.”