Perth primed for at­tack­ing

Mercury (Hobart) - - HOCKEY - ADAM CLIF­FORD

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.

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