ORANGE Wanderers will go into the opening game of the 2014 men’s Premier League Hockey season with a vastly experienced outfit comprising of a number of players who suffered through a wooden-spoon campaign in 2013.
The difference in 2014?
“It’s been good. We’ve had a few more numbers than in previous years at pre-season and there’s been a few young guys. We’re going with an older, more experienced side this weekend,” new coach Beth Shea said ahead of her side’s trip to Parkes today.
“I think there’s been a renewed enthusiasm in the group as well. A few of the older guys have done a bit more pre-season work than in the past and I think they’re seeing the younger guys there pushing them as a good thing.”
Shea said there was some key elements she wanted the Wanderers to perfect in 2014.
At the forefront of that list was the benefit of rotation.
“If you’ve got a starting line-up, then to me that means as soon as you bring off one of those players you’re losing something,” the former Australian hockey player said.
“If we’ve got 14, then it’s about giving all 14 equal game time and getting the best possible performance from each player.”
This season Parkes is being touted as a genuine premiership contender.
With a swag of young stars brimming with state and national representative honours lining up for United on Saturday, Shea knows her side will find it tough on the road in round one.
But the experienced mentor said all she was concerned about was how well the Wanderers adapted to a new style of hockey.
“Our first objective is to imbed the pattern we want to be playing,” Shea added.
“We’re not making any immediate goals.”
In the other men’s PLH games, Bathurst Souths tackle Bathurst St Pat’s and Lithgow Panthers will take on derby rivals Zig Zag.