Dylan Price [dark shirt] has been in good goal-scoring form for Dalefield. PHOTO/FILE
Complacency won’t be a problem for Dalefield in today’s qualifying playoff in the Wellington men’s premier championship against Hutt United at Clareville, player-coach Dane Lett said
Reigning champions Dalefield finished the round-robin top of the table with a perfect 12 wins from 12 games, which included two victories over Hutt, the first 5-3 and the second 2-1.
“Both of our games were pretty even, especially the first one where the result was a little bit favourable for us, and to be fair it was probably a 50-50 game,” Lett said.
“Even when we played them a few weeks ago, it was a pretty tight game. We had some opportunities, and they had some opportunities, so I don’t think there will be any complacency creeping in at all.”
The winners will progress to the grand final in Wellington on September 26, while the losers will face a sudden death match against the winners of the third-fourth playoff between Naenae and Harbour City.
Lett said it would be nice to go straight to the final, but history shows it is not essential.
Last year, Dalefield lost the first playoff in a shootout and went on to win the final, and in 2018, Dalefield won on the first weekend but lost the final to Hutt.
“We’ve been in the past five finals, and we’ve done it both ways,” Lett said.
“The risk with getting a week off is having a friendly game and you can lose a bit of momentum, but ideally you can take some confidence out of continuing to win, and against a team you’re potentially going to play again, the more you’re beating them the better.”
Dalefield have been hampered with some slow starts in recent games, and Lett was eager to avoid a repeat against the dangerous Hutt.
“We’re really focusing on our start and trying to get some dominance early.
“What we know is that when we get a bit of a roll-on, we generally tend to score in those periods, so we’ll be looking to start on the front foot and make those periods last as long as we can.”
Lett wasn’t expecting any surprises from Hutt, who he said are reasonably predictable with their tactics.
“That’s not a negative thing, they do them well, but they have certain patterns on the way they want to play, and that’s what works for their team and their players.
“I think we’re both good teams because we have strong players and we do things well, but I’m pretty confident I know what they will throw at us.”
However, Dalefield could have some new tactics.
“I would hope that we’re going to present in quite a different way than three or four weeks ago.
“We’re always looking long term, and every time we’ve played them or other key teams, we’re quite specific with what we show them and what we don’t show them, with the future in mind.
“They’ll be seeing some things for the first time, which is good for us.”
Although Dalefield went through the rounds unbeaten for the first time, Lett said an unbeaten season hadn’t crossed his mind.
“We’re just taking it a week at a time, and we’re looking for a win this week. If we get that, we’ll look at next week.
“If we look too far in the future, we’ll miss being in the present and doing what we need to do.”
Jayan Parbhu and Ethan Cohen are Dalefield’s only injury concerns, with slight niggles, but are expected to be okay for the mouth-watering clash between the two powerhouse teams.
- The game will hit off at Clareville at 1pm today.