THEY’VE experienced relief, now the Saints want to experience glory.
After falling at the preliminary final stage the past two seasons, this year St Pat’s has qualified for the women’s Premier League Hockey grand final.
The blue and whites will face a Lithgow Panthers team which has qualified for seven consecutive deciders at Lithgow this Saturday.
While the Saints took the hard route to get there – falling to Panthers in the major semi-final then downing Orange CYMS in an extra-time thriller – coach Jaden Ekert feels they deserve their spot.
“I think there’s more a relief feeling now we are there, it’s been a long time in the making,” he said.
“When you finish first and don’t get through in that first semi, there’s always that anxiety. The stress levels go up until you make it there.
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“The girls trained awesome on Tuesday night and I think you could see that they were happy just to be there. The round games, they played really well, but to finally get there in the grand final, the monkey’s finally off the back so to speak.
“But they’ve just got to understand that they’re there now and they’ve just got to give every little bit of energy in the tank to get across the line, because that’s what it’s going to take.”
Pat’s has only suffered two losses so far this season, its success stories including a 3-2 win over Panthers.
Ekert says Panthers “have been a quality side all year” and will fight hard on Saturday, but knows he has experienced players within his squad who will rise to the challenge.
Lucy Weal, Kristy Ekert, Alana Webber and Amy Glenn all played in the 2013 premiership winning team.
“I could name six or seven of them and to have those girls there and to help the young ones keep things in check, it’s great. You know at the back end of the game it’s going to be those girls that stand up,” he said.
The grand final starts at 2.45pm.