Perth primed for attacking
THE Perth Thundersticks have landed in Hobart, packed with Kookaburras stars and ready to throw the kitchen sink at the finals-bound Tassie Tigers in Hockey One action today.
The Tigers locked down an away semi-final position against either the Brisbane Blaze or NSW Pride after a pulsating 6-5 win against HC Melbourne last Sunday at home.
The Thundersticks sit in sixth position ahead of the final match needing to defeat the Tigers and hope the Adelaide Fire defeat HC Melbourne away from home to clinch fourth spot.
“I’d expect Perth to throw everything they have at us. It’s a must-win game for them so I expect nothing less and should make for a really entertaining game,” Tigers forward Jack Welch said.
“Last week’s comeback win was huge for us and proved what we’re capable of, which has given us a lot of confidence moving forward.
“But another good performance is definitely needed for our confidence heading into a tough semi-final match next week and I think we can step up another notch, with now being the time to do so.”
The Thundersticks boast the midfield genius who shares the national captaincy with our own Eddie Ockenden, along with Tom Wickham, Trent Mitton, Tyler Lovell and Jake Harvie. While Tigers midfielder Josh Beltz’s battle with Zalewski will be key, eyes will also turn to see if Ockenden can add to his eight goals for the tournament past national goalkeeper Lovell.
“There’ll definitely be some one-on-one battles that are key and great for the spectators, but a solid team performance is important against the Thundersticks,” Welch added.
With ladder leaders Brisbane and NSW facing off tomorrow also for top spot, Welch says he has no preference which side the team faces.
“Who we face will most likely be decided by who wins that match, but either way, it’ll be a tough semi-final clash.
“But after playing two games, I feel I’m better prepared mentally and have a few learnings from those games which I’ll look to improve on against Perth.”
Men’s action starts 3.30pm at the Tasmanian Hockey Centre or live on Kayo.