St Pat’s a huge challenge for Wanderers after long break: Pengilly

BACK ON THE FIELD: Tom Powe will be crucial at the back for Wanderers, as they look to stop the rampant Bathurst St Pat's. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA

BACK ON THE FIELD: Tom Powe will be crucial at the back for Wanderers, as they look to stop the rampant Bathurst St Pat's. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA

You’re bang on if you think it’s been forever since Orange Wanderers last took the field, incredibly, the side hasn’t played a game since May 20.

With a regular bye, a forced bye thanks to Bathurst City’s withdrawal and then last week’s June long weekend break Wanderers haven’t picked up a stick in anger since taking down Parkes United 7-3 last month, their first win of the men’s Premier League Hockey season.

Talk about a momentum killer, one you can imagine has frustrated the Orange side to no end.

“It’s been a long time between drinks, you could certainly say that,” Wanderers coach Mark Pengilly laughed.

“Four weeks or so off, it’s a pretty long break and we have lost that momentum but at the same time the guys have been training really well.

“They have been playing a fair bit of hockey too with the (John Davis Motors) Superleague and our Sunday competitions as well.

“A lot of the boys played in Orange’s strong (state championship) campaign too, so they’re pretty keen to back that up on the field in Premier League now.”

Pengilly’s troops have been handed a reasonably tough re-introduction to the competition too in the form of the unbeaten, second-placed Bathurst St Pat’s unit.

It’s a side that includes now NSW Country gun Riley Hanrahan, who was picked in that side along with Wanderers’ Mick Dillon and Lithgow Panthers’ Nic Milne.

“It’ll be a tough game, it always is against St Pat’s,” Pengilly predicted.

“It’s a really important game for us too. We’re basically halfway through the season now and with only one win we can’t really afford to drop many more.

“A win over St Pat’s would basically keep our finals hopes alive. It’s one we know we need to play well in.”

Stopping St Pat’s obvious attacking prowess – the Saints have potted 16 goals in six games, among the best attacking records in the league – is an obvious factor for Wanderers.

Pengilly said if his side can do that and take its own chances, they’re a real show to knock off the perennial contenders.

“Our strikers have been very good at training, so I’m sure if they get the chance they’ll finish off,” he said.

“We’ve also got a very quick midfield, so using the ball well through there will be pretty important to create those chances.

“We just need to build on the performance against Parkes all those weeks ago.”

Saturday’s round seven clash is on home turf, giving the Orange side the slightest advantage. Wanderers host St Pat’s from 3.20pm.

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