ORANGE Wanderers is primed to pull off the upset of the men’s Premier League Hockey season at the Orange Hockey Centre on Saturday.
The Orange side hosts undefeated competition leaders Lithgow Panthers, who are reportedly vastly under strength, from 2.35pm.
Wanderers’ skipper Adam Hurford said with his side at full strength - barring injured midfielder Michael Dillon - today is a rare chance to secure points against the competition heavyweights.
“Nick Milne (Northern Territory) and Brandon Horner (NSW) are both away at the Under 21 (Men’s) Australian Championship,” Hurford said.
“That will hurt Lithgow, they’re both very good hockey players. They are still a quality side obviously, with the likes of Ron Charlton and Travis Cameron, they can still pull a goal from nowhere, so we need to show them due respect.
“But we welcome back Andrew Rutledge and Darryn Marjoram who have a world of experience. They know how to handle themselves.”
Hurford said rumours are circulating Lithgow might also be missing several other players through injury.
“If they have more players missing, all the better for us,” he said.
“With them short, and us at full strength, we’re heading into this game knowing we can take the points.
“Lithgow are very good with the ball, they retain it well and score plenty of goals because of that. But we’ve been training well, and if our structures work we feel like we can nullify that.”
Wanderers have slipped to fifth after last week’s 4-3 loss to Parkes United and Hurford said a win today is crucial to stay in touch with the top sides.
For countless weeks the Orange side has been left to lament sluggish starts, and Hurford said the trend needs to be bucked today.
“We’ve been coming home with a wet sail,” he said.
“But you definitely can’t start slowly against a team like Panthers. If you give them an inch they’ll take a mile.
“We won’t give them an inch [today].”