WHEN Damien Carter last coached Souths in a women’s Premier League Hockey match it was disappointment at full-time, so he is hoping for much better in his return this Saturday afternoon.
After guiding Souths to the 2014 qualifying semi-final where the side lost to hosts Parkes in a penalty shoot-out, Carter has been lured back to the job this season.
He still feels the disappointment of that last campaign, but is keen to make the new season one of positives.
“Losing to Parkes in Parkes, I know the girls were frustrated and upset at the end of the game. I think we had the team to give it a good shake that year and probably should’ve made the grand final, we beat Bathurst City twice that year,” he said.
“I had two years off after that, which I think I needed. But I’m back now on a one year deal and we’ll see what happens.”
From last season’s outfit which was eliminated in the first week of finals, Souths have lost experienced defender Michelle Somers, who has made the switch to St Pat’s.
But two Oberon talents in Shannon Fisher and Meg Booth have joined the two blues’ ranks and Carter says they bring a new asset to the club.
“It was a big disappointment losing Mish, but we’ve picked up Shannon and Meg and that’s speed I haven’t had before,” Carter said.
“It will come with those two, a couple of games up front and they’ll click.”
While both Tahlia Cranston and Sarah Watterson are absent for Saturday’s season opener against Confederates in Orange, Carter plans to use them in combination up front with Fisher and Booth.
In defence Carter will use experienced duo Amelia Burke and Tahnee Isedale, while goalkeeper Kate Brown impressed during pre-season training.
Souths prepared for Saturday’s season opener with a trial match against 2016 grand finalists Bathurst City on Wednesday night, and Carter liked what he saw.
"We played three 20-minute periods. They probably started off the better because we have a few new girls, but the second and third periods we dominated, I think they probably came into our half four times,” he said.
“For our first hit-out it was great. We had two one-on-ones with our new girls Shannon and Meg.”
Carter is not 100 percent sure what to expect against Confederates on Saturday given the outfit has added state under 21s representative Rachel Divall as well as defenders Ellen Van Hoek and Rach Pengilly to its ranks.
So instead he is concentrating on his own side and making sure they pick up points early in the shortened season.
“The two years that I coached we lost our first game, we never started well. This year I am going to Orange with an open mind,” Carter said.
“I’ve told the girls to just use the ball and use their speed, easy one-twos set the goals up.
“If we can use that against Confederates, if I don’t get the win then a draw would be fantastic. Making sure we get some points, that is the priority.
“With it being a late start to the season, a shorter season, you’ve got to make sure you are picking up those early points.”
Saturday’s match gets underway at 3.20pm.