Tarlee Roberts will be a key figure again for the Dubbo Blue Jays when they meet Ex-Services today in a do-or-die clash. Photo: JOSH HEARDAT the start of the year the Dubbo Blue Jays’ aim was to make the Premier League Hockey finals.
That goal has been achieved but now there’s a new target – winning the title.
The Blue Jays travel to Orange today to take on Ex-Services in an elimination minor semi-final and coach Craig Johnston has no doubt his side has what it takes to keep their season alive.
“I know there’s three or four players who won’t be back next year so this is our best opportunity to put ourselves forward,” he said.
“It’s great to see we’re the first Dubbo team, men or women, to make the semis and I really believe we can go all the way.
“We’ve got nothing to lose so we’re going to go out there, give it everything and see what happens.”
The Blue Jays finished the regular season fifth while Ex-Services was fourth, giving them home ground advantage.
Rather than any player’s influence on that match, Johnston believes it will be Orange’s home ground which will be the biggest hurdle between the Blue Jays and the next round.
“I think in the top five there’s not much between any of the sides and each side is capable of beating each other on the day,” he said.
“It changes a bit because their surface there is so different to everywhere else, if anything that will be the biggest factor.
“Bathurst, Lithgow and Dubbo have the water surfaces but Orange and Parkes have the hybrid so you’ve got to be switched on the whole time, the water surface is a bit more forgiving.”
The Blue Jays have been dealt a blow with star youngster Emma Corcoran away on representative duty but Exxies are in the same boat with Maddie Smith away also.
The makeup of the opposition may have been something which affected the young Blue Jays earlier in the season but Johnston has seen his side mature over the course of the season.
“The mentality has changed,” he said.
“At the start of the year the girls were worried about teams that were going to beat us but now we’re focused on our own game.”
The Blue Jays meet Ex-Services at 1.10pm today at the Orange Hockey Complex.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.