Start with a bang.
That’s the goal of the Canberra Strikers ahead of Thursday night’s Australian Hockey League opener against Western Australia at Perth.
Strikers veteran Meredith Bone believes it’s crucial the nation’s capital begins the 2017 AHL on the right foot so it can improve on last year’s fourth-place finish.
“What’s this, my sixth or seventh season now? I'm looking forward to being a senior player,” Bone said.
“Our pool is tough this year. Queensland won it last year and WA tough, notoriously strong, and we have them in our first game.
“The ACT always has a good tight-knit group of players and we’re looking forward to the start of the campaign.
“Where we finish will depend on how we start. Need to make a mark early and finish in that top four.”
Bone was due to play another AHL campaign with sister Edwina, but the Hockeyroos gun has been put on the injured list as she continues to nurse a knee injury.
Edwina was originally named captain of the Strikers for the 2017 campaign.
But this year’s tournament, which runs from Thursday night to October 8, will still be an exciting one for Meredith as she transitions into a new role in the team.
She’ll play a more defensive role than normal, linking with the likes of Anna Flanagan at the back to steel Canberra’s backfield.
“It’s going to be interesting … hopefully I’ll push up the field and grab a few goals too,” she said.
With a young side, Bone was predicting the “notoriously fast, physical” AHL to push her inexperienced teammates.
“It’s good fun and a massive step up from our club seasons,” she added.