Wanderers' striker Cooper Johnson will be a key figure in today's grand final against Souths.
Wanderers' striker Cooper Johnson will be a key figure in today's grand final against Souths. Allan Reinikka ROK080918ahockey8

Coach wants 'relentlessness' as team chases 15 straight

HOCKEY: Relentlessness.

That is what Wanderers player/coach Aaron Harmsworth wants from his team in today's A-grade men's grand final.

Wanderers are chasing a 15th straight premiership but standing in their way are Southern Suburbs who are determined to end that incredible dynasty.

The same two clubs will meet in the A-grade women's decider, where Souths are out to win a fifth consecutive premiership.

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Wanderers men will be at full strength today but five members - Clayton and Jayden Evans, Cooper Johnson, Regan Weatherhead and Callum White - will back up from the A2 final.

Harmsworth said Wanderers and Souths had enjoyed some close battles. In their past four games, they've had two draws and had one win apiece.

"They know they can beat us and we know we can beat them,” Harmsworth said.

"Relentlessness is what we'll be trying to achieve - non-stop attack, defence, everything.”

"It will be about us doing it for the entire four quarters, knowing that we've got 16 really competitive players in terms of their ability.”

Harmsworth said he would need his strikers Todd Harmsworth and Johnson to be "on song” today.

HOCKEY CQ LEAGUE FINAL:  Southern Suburbs' Robert Bell with the ball
Former Kookaburra Robert Bell will play a leading role for Souths. Jann Houley

Wanderers would also need to limit the influence of Souths defender and former Kookaburra Robert Bell.

Souths captain Nathan Christensen said his team would have to be "switched on” from the get-go.

"If you're not ready to go you can find yourself on the back foot quite quickly against Wanderers so we need to be switched on from the start,” he said.

"We've got the players to do it and the belief is definitely there. I won't be relying on any one player in particular. You've got 11 players on the field and you need all 11 to be firing at the same time.”

Christensen said he wanted his team to play with heart and not take anything for granted.

"If everyone does their job it should all come together.

"We're all keen for it and we're ready for the challenge.”

HOCKEY CQ LEAGUE A1 WOMENS FINALS: Southern Suburbs' Andrea Farrow
Souths skipper Andrea Farrow will look to lead from the front in the decider against Wanderers. Jann Houley

Little has separated the two women's teams this year, which was demonstrated in their 2-all draw in the major semi-final.

Souths coach Lisa Morgan expects another tight, tough game today.

She said it was vital that her team started strongly against Wanderers, who were very strong defensively.

"It should be a good battle. It's been that way all season,” she said.

"We need to score and ideally score early. If we can get a roll on I think we can score some goals.

"The longer the game remains tight, the more chance it becomes anyone's game, so we'll be going out hard and trying to put the pressure on early.”

Hockey: Wanderers' Cassidy Knuth.
Wanderers' Cassidy Knuth will be a player to watch in today's final. Allan Reinikka ROK230618ahockey3

Morgan would be looking for big performances from captain Andrea Farrow and strikers Melissa Dobbs and Aleesha Spyve, who was recently named in the Australian Country under-21 team.

Opposing coach Steven Evans said Wanderers would need a "solid team effort” to topple the reigning champions.

"We need 100 per cent concentration for the whole game,” Evans said.

"They're a very attacking side so our defence has to be very good. We've had close games all year and it might just be a bit of luck that decides it on Saturday.

"It will all depend on who shows up on the night and who takes their chances.”

Evans said skipper Demi Chellingsworth, Kim Reibel, Toni Chirio and striker Cassidy Knuth would have a big influence.

The women's final starts at 4.30pm at Kalka Shades, the men's at 6.30pm.

GRAND FINALS

Old turf

  • 9am Saturday: A3 women, Park Avenue Brothers v Winner of Preliminary Final
  • 11am Saturday: A3 men, Park Avenue Brothers Gold v Wanderers

New turf

  • 12.30pm Saturday: A2 women, Wanderers v Southern Suburbs
  • 2.30pm Saturday: A2 men, Wanderers v Southern Suburbs
  • 4.30pm Saturday: A1 women, Southern Suburbs v Wanderers
  • 6.30pm Saturday: A1 men, Wanderers v Southern Suburbs