Pakinga's men aim for a top-two finish at state hockey championships

KEEN: Orange’s under 13 boys’ hockey team includes (back, left) Taunui Pakinga, Harris Banham, Brad Pengilly, Adam Thurn, Sam Giumelli, Jack Wilson, (front) Joe Priest, Sam McDonald, Bailey Ferguson, Trent Wilde and Corey marks. Absent: Mitch Watts and Oliver Lynch. Photo: MATT FINDLAY 0707mfboyshock

KEEN: Orange’s under 13 boys’ hockey team includes (back, left) Taunui Pakinga, Harris Banham, Brad Pengilly, Adam Thurn, Sam Giumelli, Jack Wilson, (front) Joe Priest, Sam McDonald, Bailey Ferguson, Trent Wilde and Corey marks. Absent: Mitch Watts and Oliver Lynch. Photo: MATT FINDLAY 0707mfboyshock

ORANGE wants to go at least one better in the 2014 Hockey NSW Under 13 Boys’ Field State Championships, starting today at the Grafton Hockey Centre.

Orange finished third in 2013, bowing out thanks to a 3-1 loss to this year’s hosts.

With a strong preparation and enthusiasm by the bucket load, Orange coach Annie Pakinga is confident leading into the carnival.

“We’ve been training very hard,” Pakinga said.

“The boys are all very excited and I’m very proud of all of them. It’s a lot of the boys’ first time at state championship level but I think we’ll do well.”

Orange will compete in division two, pool B, against Tamworth (2), Sydney (3), Port Macquarie and local rivals Bathurst.

“Obviously we know a bit about Bathurst,” Pakinga said.

“Otherwise we’re working on what we’ve heard. Sydney are supposed to be strong, as are Tamworth.

“The boys might end up playing out of position to what they’re used to at club level, but they’re all very keen.”

Orange took a novel approach to preparation, playing their female counterparts in a trial game just over a week ago.

Hockey NSW Western Region coaching coordinator Kate Pulbrook was on hand to critique both sides, which Pakinga said was a huge advantage in the lead up to the championships.

Orange kicks off its championship campaign against Tamworth (2) today at 8am, before taking on Port Macquarie at 5pm.

Pakinga’s troops then clash with Sydney (3) (1pm) and Bathurst (4pm) tomorrow before the play-offs on Sunday.

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