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Dalefield wary of Victoria threat

Player-coach Katherine van Woerkom is impressed with the improvement in her talented team. PHOTOS/FILE

HOCKEY

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

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Victoria v Dalefield

Farriers Dalefield player-coach Benedict van Woerkom is wary of the threat posed by an improving Victoria in today’s Wellington premier championship match at the National Hockey Stadium.

Defending champions Dalefield are third in the league, while Victoria have yet to register a win, but their sole points came from a draw with Hutt United, who beat Dalefield in the opening round.

“We’ve always had tight battles with Vic, and they have a goalkeeper in Max Ruffell, who’s the type of player who can keep them in the game,” van Woerkom said.

“They’re a good, young, fit, fast, energetic team, so we know it’s going to be a tough one. We’ll need to break them down early and take our chances against Max, maybe taking one extra pass in the circle to go around him.”

One area van Woerkom wants to see improvement is forcing more penalty corners [PC].

Marcus Ambrose … one of four very good drag flickers in the Dalefield line-up.

“We talk about outcomes, so that’s either a goal, a shot on goal, or a PC, so if we’re in a position where we can’t get a decent shot away, then try and find a foot or get an infringement from a defender because we do have a good PC bracket with Dane Lett, Graeme Murrell, Rowan Yeo, and Marcus Ambrose.”

Dalefield will be without veteran Cody Linton, who is away, and Nathan Whiteman who is out for up to six weeks with a fractured knuckle after it was hit by the ball in last Saturday’s win over Indians.

Van Woerkom also remains on the sidelines recovering from hip surgery. He hopes to return in four weeks for the second-round fixture against Hutt United.

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Victoria v Dalefield

Farriers Dalefield player-coach Katherine van Woerkom is unsure what to expect from Victoria in today’s Wellington premier championship game at the National Hockey Stadium.

Victoria’s only points have come from their bye, and they have suffered losses to Toa, Harbour City, and Hutt United.

Van Woerkom said Victoria are quite a different team that finished in the top four than last year, but she wouldn’t be treating them lightly.

Like their male counterparts, Victoria have a very good goalkeeper in Rachel Lilley, who is unafraid of coming out and take charge of the game.

“She’ll be a key player for them, so we have to make sure that we work it around her and not hit at her.”

However, the focus for van Woerkom is the steady improvement being shown by her talented team, which was no better illustrated than in last Saturday’s 10-0 demolition of Toa.

“The competition is quite different this year, which is good, but we’ll look to play that same style of hockey, keeping it short and working hard off the ball for each other.

“The hockey we’re playing is looking bloody good at the moment, and it’s quite nice to see. We want to be doing that against all teams.”

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