KINROSS-CYMS coach Pete Shea believes Lithgow Panthers are the side to beat ahead of the 2014 women's Premier League Hockey finals.
Shea's Kinross-CYMS girls chalked up a morale boosting, though season-ending, 2-0 victory over Confederates in the final round of the regular season on Saturday in Orange, with goals to Tania Jachi and Kelsey Gray either side of half time highlighting the victory.
While extremely happy with the win, Shea believes it's Panthers who'll be grinning from ear to ear after the September 6 grand final.
"You've got to back Panthers," he said.
"They've been the best side all year, consistently. They know how to play, the others have been a bit up and down.
"You'll have to favour them at this stage."
Dominant throughout the opening 35 minutes of Saturday's clash with Feds, Kinross-CYMS' persistence in front of goal was eventually rewarded when Jachi slotted one past Steph Hinds three minutes before half time.
A vastly improved Feds outfit at the resumption of play in the second half promised much, but eventually Gray's winner in the 58th minute put any thoughts of final-round Confederates comeback to bed.
"A win is a win, the beer will taste a bit better tonight," Shea smiled.
"That's what you want, to work towards a win, a good win."
Confederates coach Mark Pengilly said his side's passing improved greatly throughout the match, and in turn the attacking options created buoyed Feds' enthusiasm.
"I'm happy with the way we played. I thought it was a reasonable game," he added.
"We strung some good passes together there at different stages, they just got their goals off and we didn't. We missed a couple there we should have got."
Jachi and Kinross-CYMS back Ellen Van Hoek were two stand-out players on the field, however, both of their efforts were overshadowed by Feds stopper Hinds.
Kept busy between the sticks, Hinds earned the praise of Pengilly, as she has all season.
"Steph had another blinder in goals," he said.
"Even the young guns up front, it's good to seem them handle it for next year.
"We've got half the side under 15s. It's a good stepping stone for next year, stepping up to premier league. Hopefully they'll understand it a bit more."
KINROSS-CYMS 2 (Tania Jachi, Kelsey Gray) def CONFEDERATES 0