Not many members of the Bathurst Souths men’s Premier League Hockey side who will line up in Saturday’s grand final know the feeling of beating Lithgow Panthers in a decider – it’s been 11 years since they’ve done it.
But one man who does – Adam Campbell – feels that this year others in the Souths’ camp will join him in experiencing just that.
He thinks after falling to Panthers in Lithgow the last two seasons on grand final day, coach Ray Winwood-Smith has better prepared Souths for what lies ahead.
“This year has a totally different sort of feeling about it, the way Ray has prepared us this year,” he said.
“It’s a good feeling to get there and hopefully we get this win this weekend … I think we deserve it.
“We’ve gone to Lithgow four times this year and we haven’t come away with a loss, we’ve beaten Panthers there, we’ve beaten Ziggies (Zig Zag) twice and had a draw. So I think that definitely helps the confidence.”
Back in 2007 Campbell was a midfielder in the Souths side which beat Panthers 3-2 on grand final day, bringing to an end a remarkable 54-game undefeated streak the Lithgow outfit boasted.
Now he is part of Souths’ impressive defensive unit which will have plenty of work to do on Saturday to deny the Panthers.
“We’ve worked hard to get ourselves in this position, now we’ve just got to take it with two hands,” he said.
“It love it back there, you get to see a good over view of the game, you get to see what unfolds in front of you … now I’m a bit older it’s easier on the legs too.”
Campbell may joke he’s not as quick now as he was back in 2007, but there is no doubting he still plays a vital role for Souths.
Certainly Winwood-Smith has been impressed by what he has done this season.
“Our strength this year has been our defence, there’s no two ways about that, our back five,” he said.
“Adam and Jye (Bunt) have been crucial in our performances all year. By far those two guys are the in-form defensive group in the comp.
“Adam is a tough bloke and the guys really like him.”
Saturday’s grand final starts at 1.15pm at Lithgow.