“They’ve got a really good side”.
Results aren’t the only thing that’s changed for Confederates in 2017, for so long the Orange side was essentially fodder for the women’s Premier League Hockey heavyweights.
Of course, it was never through lack of effort and the side always had the respect of its opponents for that but now Confederates are also considered a genuine threat, by every single team in the competition.
None underestimate the red and blues anymore either, especially not Bathurst St Pat’s coach Jaden Ekert.
After being peppered by Confederates in the pre-season and then beaten 2-1 in the two sides’ only competition encounter this year, Ekert is fully aware of how big a mountain to climb the Orange side can be.
His Saints will attempt to do that again on the weekend, and he gave Confederates plenty of praise leading in.
“[Confederates have] a good mixture of youth and [experience] on their side, kind of like what we have,” Ekert said.
“Every time we’ve played Feds, even in the trial games, they really stuck it to us and we need to show them a lot of respect, especially given what they are capable of.
We need to show Confederates a lot of respect, especially given what they are capable of.St Pat's coach Jaden Ekert
“They can be vulnerable around the midfield and we need to try and exploit that, but in saying that, we can be too if we are not on our game.
“If we are not trapping the ball and not supporting the ball carrier, all those little one percenters, all the cliched things I go through each week, if we are not doing those this week, we could be in for a really, really hard game.”
Making Saturday’s clash extra spicy is the fact Confederates and St Pat’s sit third and fourth, respectively.
The Orange side leapfrogged the Saints last week, with a little bit of help from Parkes United.
Parkes, unexpectedly, thumped St Pat’s 4-0, gifting the red and blues third spot.
With an extra game under its belt though, taking down the Saints is a must for the Orange side.
“We need to win this weekend and probably win the next three weeks just to stay in the finals race, that’s how close it is,” Ekert said.
Saturday’s match between Confederates and St Pat’s, at Bathurst’s Bob Roach Field, starts at 4pm.