Ian North backs Souths to make an impact in women’s Premier League Hockey

LOOK out – Souths are coming.

SHE'S BACK: The experienced Mandy George has returned to Souths' women's Premier League Hockey ranks for 2018. Photo: PHOEBE MOLONEY

SHE'S BACK: The experienced Mandy George has returned to Souths' women's Premier League Hockey ranks for 2018. Photo: PHOEBE MOLONEY

That is the message Souths coach Ian North has sent to his women’s Premier League Hockey rivals as he settles into his new mentoring role.

North has taken over the job of guiding the a two blues outfit which missed out on finals in 2017, but from what he has seen thus far, he’s confident that they will be more competitive.

“A number of years ago with the Kelso club I coached A reserve and had stints around that sort of level to help out,” North said.

“I got approached early this year to ask would I consider coaching the Premier League women – I was sort of ‘Me? Okay.’

“I had a good chat to them, they’re a wonderful bunch of young ladies and I’ve really, really enjoyed it. I think we can really shake up the competition this year.”

Souths opened their campaign against Lithgow Zig Zag last Saturday in Lithgow and came away with a share of the points following a 4-all draw.

Though North’s side surrendered a four-goal led in that contest, he saw plenty he liked.

“I was extremely impressed. We came out with a couple of injuries at the start of the second half and we had to change our structure, but the girls held in strong,” he said.

“We scored four very strong team goals away, structured goals, and that’s what it’s all about with me – the team and the structure.

“It is really important to get that first game under your belt. We’ve got a few junior girls coming back, girls who haven’t played in a while, so they’ve got to get a feel for each other.

“Whether it’s knowing a nickname or the calls – the first week was very much about that. For me, walking away from Lithgow with a 4-all draw was as good as a 2-0 win.

“I was impressed from the ’keeper to the centre forward and reserves, everyone did their job very, very well. I honestly mean it, the other teams should look out, Souths are coming for them.”

Aside from what he saw at Lithgow, much of North’s confidence stems from the balance he has in his playing roster.

Not only does he expect some the club’s developing talents to further step up, but he has plenty of on-field leaders to offer guidance.

Mandy George and Carly Guihot have returned to Souths this season, as has Nikki Braun, adding plenty of experience to the two blues’ roster.

“They’ve got that experience and knowledge and wisdom that comes from being around for a few years. I’ve said to the young ones to learn off those players because their experience is really important,” North said.

“I’m really, really comfortable with the mix I’ve got, I’ve got a squad of 18.”

This Saturday Souths will play on their home turf at Bob Roach Field against Ex-Services.

The Orange outfit went down 3-0 to Bathurst City in their season opener.

“We had a trial game against them earlier in the year and you can never judge things on a trial, but we had a good win against them,” North said.

Souths and Exies will square off from 1.50pm at Bob Roach Field.