Jordan Cohen will miss the match with Harbour City. PHOTOS/FILE

Harbour City poses threat

HOCKEY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@xtra.co.nz

MEN

Farriers Dalefield’s promising young players will get their chance to shine in this afternoon’s first home game of the season against Harbour City.

Two or possibly three of Dalefield’s most influential players will miss the game, which is a repeat of last year’s final.

Black Stick Dane Lett and Jordan Cohen are in the North team for the North v South series being played in Hamilton, while player-coach Benedict van Woerkom is uncertain about his involvement, given that he has been recovering from a hip operation.

“I managed to play five minutes a quarter against Hutt, and I think I had an effect when I was on, but I’m wary that it’s a long season, and essentially we want to be fit and healthy and have everyone available for the games that matter,” van Woerkom said.

“Not that this game doesn’t matter, but in the scheme of things, you need to win the final to win the competition.

“It’s a building platform. We obviously want to go out there and win, and we’re going to play to win, as we do every game, but there will be a few opportunities for a few young guys, and a couple of the schoolboys will probably play this weekend, so that will be nerve-wracking and exciting for them.”

Van Woerkom can’t remember the last time Dalefield lost to Harbour City but is conscious of the improvement in the 2020 beaten finalists.

“They’ve been a strong, up-and-coming team. They have some young players and each year they develop and get a bit better, and they have few new players from out of town. I think there are two guys who have up from down south and are playing for Harbour City, so that will strengthen them for sure.”

The match hits off at Clareville at 2.30pm today.

WOMEN

Felicity Reidy returns for today’s vital clash with Harbour City.

Dalefield will be missing influential player-coach Katherine van Woerkom for their first home match of the season against a strong Harbour City side.

Van Woerkom’s absence is offset with the return of former Black Stick Felicity Reidy. Striker Sinead Namana is the only other frontline player out with an ongoing injury.

Dalefield started the defence of their Wellington Premier Women’s Championship with a 3-0 loss to Hutt United in a repeat of the 2020 final, while Harbour City commenced with a 5-2 victory over Northern United.

Van Woerkom is confident the team can bounce back from the first-up defeat.

“The girls played well, and there were plenty of positives we can take from the game,” she said.

“We need to improve on our ability to hold the ball and build up play. When we make an interception, we have to retain possession and that helps to take the pressure off.”

The return of Reidy adds to the strike power up front for Dalefield. Her pace and experience, and her combination with Brigette Mossman give the home side a potent attacking weapon, while Maddy Taylor showed last Saturday, that she will be a threat to most defences.

Harbour City pose a major threat though. The 2019 champions are chock full of experience and talent, and van Woerkom predicted a tough encounter.

“It will be a good game. They’ve got good distributors in the midfield, and they have a very good drag flicker, so it will important not to give away any PCs.”

Play will get under way at Clareville at 1pm today.



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