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New coach aiming high

Despite missing a big chunk of last year’s Wellington Women’s Premiership winning side, new Farriers Dalefield coach Michael Sacke is targeting the top four in this year’s championship.

Dalefield will take to the National Hockey Stadium turf this afternoon against Toa without many of the players who triumphed 3–2 over Northern United in last year’s thrilling final for the team’s fifth championship in eight years.

Katherine Reisima, Reese Robertson, Brigitte Mossman, Emma Smith, Rosie Rooderkirk, Maddy Taylor, Georgia Sacke, Pippa Raleigh, and Emma McLeod are all missing, leaving a big hole to fill.

However, Sacke still has a solid core of experience to call on in former Black Stick Felicity Reidy, Amy Bunny, and Michael O’Connor and has recruited former Hawke’s Bay representative Finola O’Boyle and Charlotte White, both quality players, who have returned to the region. Some promising players from St Matthew’s Collegiate will complete the 16-strong squad.

Sacke, who brings plenty of experience, having been assistant coach of the South African men’s team in the early 2000s, which included current men’s Black Sticks coach Greg Nicol, is confident that he has the squad to make an impact.

“We are defending champions, so we really want to make the top four at least and then we’ll see what happens in the finals, so we’re building on the last year and being defending champions, you do want to defend your title,” Sacke said.

Although the style of game has changed since Sacke assisted with the South African team, he said it still has the same basics, and that is what he hopes to bring to the role.

“The game is about turnovers and counterattacks, and if you push too many people forward, you’re going to get caught out, so what I’m trying to get them to do is to attack but be prepared to defend and not have too many players going forward.”

Sacke admits to knowing little about Toa other than that they are a tough, nuggety team that is difficult to break down. Hit off is at 1.15 pm at the NHS.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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