SINCE Lisa Quinn first pulled on a Bathurst City shirt in 2013 she has respected the strength of Lithgow Panthers, so it is little surprise she sees that side as the biggest hurdle this season.
Now in her third year as coach of Bathurst City, Quinn is still on the hunt for a women’s Premier League Hockey crown.
The last two years it has been Panthers who denied City that honour and Quinn once more feels the Lithgow heavyweight will be hard to beat.
The rivals have met twice so far this season, City winning the first encounter 4-1 while last Saturday’s rematch ended in a 3-all draw.
Quinn admitted a 6-0 penalty corner count in the first half of that latest match had her thinking of a defeat, a below full strength Panthers reaffirming its attacking threat.
Panthers currently boast 14 more goals than any other team in the competition.
“I actually think they played a lot better this second round game than the first time we played them, and I do now think that they are the team for us to beat,” Quinn said.
“They play smart hockey and that is why I rate them and have always rated them.
“They know how to move the ball, they have good structure and they are in good form.
“I give them credit, they definitely came out and played better against us than in the first round when we faced them. I thought they played really well.”
As well as giving her rivals credit, Quinn was pleased with how her squad performed.
They are the team for us to beat. They play smart hockey and that is why I rate them and have always rated them.Lisa Quinn
Andrea Seymour was missing from defence and Brooke McFadden from the midfield, while both Kelly Baker and Kelsey Willott battled nausea throughout the contest.
“It was an opportunity for us to grow as players. When you have to shuffle different players around and deal with injury and illnesses, it is a chance for players to grow,” she said.
“It is only going to make us stronger for the finals.”
The draw against Lithgow marked just the third time this season City has not managed to claim full points.
Quinn’s side also drew with Ex-Services (1-all) while the only team to have beaten the competition leaders is St Pat’s.
Though the Saints are currently in fourth, a 2-1 victory over City is proof the blue and whites are also genuine contenders when they click.
The Saints also have the chance to climb into third this Saturday when hosting Confederates. The Orange outfit currently holds a two-point buffer.