Orange hosts the Hockey NSW Under 13s Indoor Championships for the first time this weekend and thanks to that home court advantage there’s every chance at least one of the colour city’s four sides can secure a title.
So says Orange girls’ coach Annie Pakinga.
Because there’s no travel involved for this year’s championship – or next year’s, the 2018 edition is in Orange too – Pakinga said interest levels have boomed, that’s allowed the sides a thorough preparation leading in.
“It’s great for Orange hockey to be able to host and I know everyone at the association is over the moon, everyone’s looking forward to the weekend,” Pakinga said.
“We have four sides competing, girls’ and boys’ sides in division two and then development sides for both in division three as well.
“Because there’s no travel, it’s actually the first time we’ve been able to prepare really, really well so, for sure, I think all the sides can give it a real crack.”
That includes the girls’ and boys’ development sides, coached by Trent Wilde and Nic Milne respectively.
“The majority of those sides are still under 12s so most of them can play next year,” Pakinga, assisting Wilde, said.
“They are development sides, but even so I can certainly say the girls have taken to the sport really well so it’ll be great to see how they go in division three.”
She’s certain both of Orange’s top sides will contend, and said they’re both in good stead after facing off in a trial game not long ago.
It finished 0-0, incredibly.
“The girls had probably 90 per cent possession too, so they defended really well,” Pakinga said, praising the Joe Priest-coached boys’ side.
“It’s a possession game, so it was good for us to be able to see where we were compared to the boys.
“We’ve got a couple of girls who have played at the state level, and a few who have never played indoor before this so that balances itself out a bit, but all the girls have come a long way.
“I think we’ll give it a real crack.”
Orange’s boys start their campaign at 8.40am on Friday against North West Sydney, the development side faces Metropolitan South West first up, also at 8.40am.
The boys’ competition continues on Saturday before the finals on Sunday.
Orange’s girls kick-off at 8am on Saturday against Tamworth, the development side’s first game is 9.20am against Goulburn.
The girls’ competition continues on Sunday and finishes on Monday.
All games at Sir Neville Howse Stadium.
“It’s just great for PCYC to be able to host these games, they’ve been great with training and everything as well,” Pakinga said.
“My manager Kate Yelland has done as amazing job so far too and (Hockey NSW western region coaching coordinator) Kate Pulbrook has gone above and beyond too.”
- ORANGE GIRLS: Hannah Leisk, Jessica Healey, Jordan Davis, Kara Yelland, Karlee Bell, Kiana Pakinga, Sophie Goodall
- ORANGE GIRLS 2: Amelia Cregan, Cait Maguire, Dakota Duffy, Ellie Bradford, Heidi Zwiers, Jessica Zwiers, Phoebe Poole, Teresa Driver
- ORANGE BOYS: Bailey Barrett, Bailey Morris, Brayden Davis, Campbell Warburton, Harry Priest, Luke Dominello, Oliver Livingstone, Oliver Tattersall
- ORANGE BOYS 2: Alex Vardanega, Charles Manuel, Connor Vardanega, Jackson Essex, Khy Roach, Kyall Southwood, Nate Davis, Riley Burridge, Tully Livingstone, Vaughn Quelnan