Shea’s girls march into national semi-finals

A RESOUNDING 8-1 win yesterday had guaranteed NSW a place in the Hockey Australia Women’s Under 21 semi-finals.

Orange’s Pete Shea is the assistant coach for the NSW team and he said after yesterday’s win, the side was on track.

“They’re coming along,” Shea said.

“We’ve worked on a few things. They seem to be progressing quite well. They’re heading in the right direction.”

Yesterday’s victory was the side’s fifth win after they downed Tasmania 6-0 on Saturday and ACT 2-1 on Sunday.

Last week the side downed Western Australian 2-0 and Victoria 1-0 before being edged out by Queensland 1-0.

This means NSW will feature in the semi-finals which start on Friday in Hobart.

Shea said the side had improved its attack after the initial games.

“If we’re scoring goals that indicates what’s happening up front is quite positive,” he said.

“That’s an area they’re going well in. Their ability to put the ball in the best spots for scoring opportunities is excellent at the moment.”

At the same time, their defence is also solid in conceding three goals over six games.

The NSW also includes Bathurst’s Esther Hotham and Claire McGarity and Shea said they were getting strong as the tournament goes on.

“They’re both growing and learning. They’re starting to fit into the mould of things,” Shea said.

“Esther has had a big realisation of what’s required. She’ getting in better attacking positions around the circle.

“Claire took on a more senior role against Northern Territory. She played at the back and organised things quite well.”

NSW will play their final round robin match today when they go up against semi-final contenders South Australia.

Shea was confident the side could secure another win.

“They’re heading in a good direction,” he said.

The NSW men, which includes Orange’s Nick Hill, have suffered one loss during their pool matches at their national championships in Tasmania.

On Sunday they lost 3-1 to Northern Territory but bounced back yesterday to topple Tasmania 4-1.

Today they go up against Victoria in their final round robin match before Friday’s semi-finals.

Pete Shea

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