Souths are on the verge of winning this season’s men’s Premier League Hockey minor premiership title but they’ll have to take care of the ever dominant and second placed Lithgow Panthers on Saturday.
It’s building up as the biggest game of the season, with Souths just four points ahead of Panthers but anything but a win will deliver the minor title to the two blues with one round to go.
With the minor title comes hosting rights for the major semi-final the following week but it won’t be easy, with the tough trip to Lithgow looming for Souths this weekend.
Jono Baillie can’t remember the exact year Souths last won the minor premiership but said “it’s been a while”.
“It’s definitely been a while [since we won the minor premiership] and it’s definitely something that is in the back of our mind,” he said.
“However, we’re out there to play a good game and play our style. If we do that, we should come away with the win and we would come away with the minor premiership. That’s always good.
“We just need to play to our structure and play to our game.”
Previous encounters – Souths defeated Panthers 8-2 away in May, Panthers defeated Souths 7-3 in Bathurst – could suggest Saturday’s game could by a high scoring affair, with 20 goals score in just two games between the sides in 2018.
However, with so much on the line, Baillie believes the game will be low scoring and much closer than the games played between the two sides earlier this season.
“I think it’s going to be a lot closer this time, with finals coming up in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“Since we’ve played Panthers last, we’ve had some good games. We’ve come away with some good results, some hard fought wins and our defence has really stepped up and played really well.
“If we can keep them up in defence and score some goals, we should be sweet.”
Baillie agreed that there is a good mood at the club, with the men’s side going so well.
“It’s always good to be sitting on top of the ladder but you’ve always got to be wary because Panthers, Zig Zag and St Pat’s and all the teams are stepping up towards the finals,” he said.
“We’re just concentrating on winning all our games from now on.”
The game starts in Lithgow at 3.30pm.