With just two rounds to go until the 2023 JDH Hockey One Finals series, the Perth Thundersticks are looking build momentum in crucial matches against NSW Pride.
After securing a critical 3-0 win over Adelaide Fire last weekend, the Perth Thundersticks will be looking to continue salvaging their 2023 campaign when they return home to Perth Hockey Stadium.
However, the Thundersticks will face an uphill battle going up against the competition’s top side in NSW Pride.
The Thundersticks clawed their way back into the top four after keeping the Fire scoreless during their round four match-up at MATE Stadium on Sunday.
In a high-pressure contest, Matt Willis pulled off the Thundersticks’ first field goal and conversion for the season, while James Day added to his penalty corner tally with a fifth goal for the season to seal the deal.
While the team will be riding high from the win, there’s no time for rest as the Thundersticks look to solidify their spot in the finals and try to pull off an upset over the Pride.
Head coach Craig Wilson while it was pleasing to come away with the win, the team was still some ways to go to be consistent.
“We often look at some other metrics behind the scenes to make sure we know the way of play as we tweak it and we’re getting more opportunities to score,” he said.
“Sometimes the finishing touch isn’t there and [Sunday] was one of those days but we’ll go away and work on it.
“We’re pretty aware that passing one test doesn’t make you a Rhodes Scholar so we’ve got a bit of work to do and to be consistent in the next couple of games.”
NSW Pride have already secured their spot in the finals, currently sitting atop the ladder, yet to drop a game off the back of a shootout victory over Tassie Tigers 1-1 (5-4 SO).
The reigning gold medallists have once again emerged as the team to beat for the men’s competition, racking up convincing wins over Brisbane Blaze (7-3), Hockey Club Melbourne (11-2) and Canberra Chill (3-2) along the way.
With the likes of Blake Govers (five goals), Ky Willott (four goals), Jack Hayes and Timothy Brand (three goals) among a collective of NSW players to have scored multiple goals this season so far, the Thundersticks defenders will have their work cut out for them on Sunday.
The Perth Thundersticks women’s team might have become the first side to secure a spot in the finals but they will need to keep up their strong game structures as they look to extend their undefeated streak to a fifth week.
The Thundersticks remain atop the JDH Hockey One Women’s ladder with a 4-0 record, following their convincing 4-0 victory over Adelaide Fire last weekend.
In a dynamic contest, the Thundersticks held off the almighty efforts from the Fire, with Liné Malan scoring a field goal and conversion, Lexie Pickering capitalising off a penalty corner, Elyssa Melville opening up her Hockey One account on debut.
While the clean-sheet win saw the Thundersticks punch their ticket to Canberra, there will be no resting on their laurels when they take on the NSW Pride.
Perth Thundersticks player Shanea Tonkin said she has noticed a positive change within the squad throughout the season.
“Every game is a fight and every game has a bit more pressure but the girls are really stepping up to the challenge,” she said.
“There’s been a change this year where everyone’s really eager, really in it and we’re so competitive and it’s so nice to be a part of it.”
NSW Pride will be out to prove themselves as finals contenders when they go up against the Thundersticks, currently sitting in fifth place on the ladder with two wins, a shootout loss and a loss to their name,
While they currently sit outside the top four, the Pride cannot be counted out after notching a huge 8-1 win over Tassie Tigers last weekend.
As the Thundersticks continue to put the pressure on the competition, they will need to ensure they make a fast start and keep the likes of Laura Reid (six goals), Greta Hayes and Makayla Jones (two goals) quiet.
Tickets are still available for Sunday’s double-header via INTIX.
Use the code PTXJUNIOR to redeem a FREE junior general admission ticket with a paid adult. Find more information HERE.