'We need to be strong at the back': Ex-Services to tighten up defence

DEFENCE will be the key to Orange Ex-Services knocking off Parkes in Saturday’s women’s Premier League Hockey clash in Bathurst.

In the slums of an uncharacteristically slow start to 2014, the blue and golds have conceded 16 goals in four games to begin the season and, with round five upon his side, co-coach Mitch Kennewell was hoping some defensive mettle would return for today’s game.

“The girls are playing well, it’s just those goals at the end of each half the girls are conceding. If we can put a stop to those then we’ll be back on track,” Kennewell said.

Playing two of the first three rounds of the year without a goal-keeper didn’t help Ex-Services’ slow start to 2014.

But with Erin Horan returning for her second game between the sticks today, Kennewell was tipping a more complete 70-minute effort from one of the competition’s perennial semi-finalists.

“We just need to be strong at the back,” he said.

“From what I heard Erin played really well last week. Girls like Mel (Hope), Steph (Wilson), Rach (Pengilly) and Larissa (Atkinson) in the halves, if one of those girls can pull off a couple of good saves it’ll lift the team.”

Today’s opposition, Parkes United, has been one of the surprise packets over the opening month of the competition.

Underachievers over the last two years, the United girls are on a four-game unbeaten run having scored 14 goals in three wins and a draw to sit pretty in third.

Kennewell, however, wasn’t putting it past his girls to spring an upset.

“Everyone is pretty even these days,” he said looking at the 10-team women’s PLH premiership as a whole.

“I don’t think there’s a stand-out side in the competition, each team has chinks in their armour.”

Ex-Services play Parkes on Saturday in Bathurst at 1.30pm.

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