Souths' skipper Ali Stanford has respect for the Panthers

WHEN Souths captain Ali Stanford talks about women’s Premier League Hockey rival Lithgow Panthers, it is easy to detect her tone of respect.

She knows how tough it is to earn competition points against the defending premiers – something she and her team-mates will attempt to do on Saturday.

“They are in a league of their own aren’t they?,” Stanford said.

“Gosh they’re a good team. They are freaks, I love watching them play, they’re awesome.”

While Panthers, who beat Souths 11-2 earlier this season, head into the match sitting second on the ladder, the two blues are in seventh and will not take part in the finals.

Still, Stanford said the mood amongst the two blues players is upbeat.

Gosh they’re a good team. They are freaks, I love watching them play, they’re awesome.

Ali Stanford

“They’re all okay, they are fine with it. We pretty much want to go out there now and have fun and do what we can for each other,” the captain said.

“We don’t have so much pressure to win, or must win, we just will go out there, try a few things and be good at what we do, and that’s sticking together.”

That attitude very nearly saw Souths upset Ex-Services last week, the Orange side coming from behind to win 2-1.

“We were happy with ourselves and walked away feeling like we had won. We’ve still got about six out this weekend, same thing, so we are just going to give some of our young ones a go and start to blood them in Premier League,” Stanford said.

Young talent Kirsten Fitzpatrick, who impressed at half against Exies, will get another chance against Panthers, while Georgie Betts will also be given more Premier League game time.

Saturday’s game between Souths and Panthers at Bob Roach Field will commence at 1pm.

RESPECT: Souths captain Ali Stanford (left) knows beating Lithgow Panthers this Saturday will be a big ask for her side. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

RESPECT: Souths captain Ali Stanford (left) knows beating Lithgow Panthers this Saturday will be a big ask for her side. Photo: PHIL BLATCH