Perth Thundersticks coach David Guest believes Wednesday night’s loss to Hockey Australia’s High Performance squad will only make the WA team stronger.
The Thundersticks went down 9-1 – including conversion attempts from field goals like in the modified Hockey One – at Hale Turf against a High Performance team boasting more than 10 Kookaburras capped players.
Guest said playing such a talented team who were able to challenge the Thunderstick with less than three weeks to go before the tournament would be invaluable.
“I think a game like that will hold us in good stead for the tournament because it really exposed our weaknesses,” Guest said.
“If we were just playing intra-squad games or against some good local club players, we wouldn’t be exposed in those areas.
“We would have to wait until Hockey One and see where teams were getting on top of us.
“To play the Kookaburras players, who were very sharp tonight, and to have them expose us in some areas was good, we will learn from them and that will make us stronger.”
The first-year coach of the Thundersticks said the side went in missing key personnel for the clash but were able to show some promise against quality opposition.
Guest said Jake Harvie, Christopher Bausor, James Collins, Ben Rennie and Tyler Lovell all played stand-out games for Perth.
“I think our defensive shape at times as a group was excellent and we made some good turnovers in areas where we really targeted, so I was really pleased with the team effort in terms of that,” Guest said.
“I am happy with where we were at, especially when we had six guys out tonight who are playing in the Grand Final on the weekend.
“There are some key players who were missing who will obviously be pushing for selecting that didn’t play, so we were a weaker side going into a game against a team with over 10 Australian representatives.”
The Thundersticks also tried different tactics throughout the game, including taking off the goalkeeper and playing with 11 players on the field in the third quarter.
“We have been trying stuff like that just to see how it works,” Guest said.
“We wanted to do that against a very good team where we could get exposed so we could see where our weak points were and improve on them.
“They scored a few, but it was good, we had the extra man and pressurised them, but they were able to break through and get a couple in a row.”
Guest said the Perth side played their best hockey in the final term and it was a good hit-out for the team.
“In the final quarter, we went back to our standard shape and got some good outcomes,” he said.
“I think the overall strength for the Kookaburras players got them over the line in the end, but to play a high-quality game against a good group was fantastic for us.
“We will take so much from that game and have got a good understanding of where we are at which will only help us to improve on our performances.”
The Perth Thundersticks will next play the Hockey Australia High Performance squad on Wednesday, September 21, at 7:30 pm at Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University.
The Perth Thundersticks need your support this Sultana Bran Hockey One League season, with our first double header to be played at Perth Hockey Stadium at Curtin University on Saturday 1 October. Show your support by purchasing a membership, securing your tickets or through our Perth Thundersticks Player Partnership Program. We want all of WA behind our elite-level men’s and women’s teams!