SINCE joining St Pat's Paige Hay has created a whole host of attacking chances, but in Saturday's Central West Premier League Hockey season opener she was the one finding the mark.
A Hay double helped the Saints on the way to a 3-0 win over hosts Orange United.
"She hasn't scored too many goals in prem, I think she said that's the hoodoo off the shoulders now that she's got those couple of goals," Saints coach Bec Clayton said.
"Hopefully that means she'll start putting a few more away too now."
While Hay has in the main filled a midfield role for the Saints since making the move from Parkes four seasons ago, against United she was deployed as striker.
It was an opportunity she seized upon some seven minutes out from half-time when, despite being off her feet, she manage to steer the ball into the net.
Hay struck again early in the third quarter before Millie Fulton iced the win with another goal in the final period.
Hay's efforts in attack alongside Millie and Macey Fulton, plus the threat that new recruit Hannah Kable creates has Clayton excited about the season ahead.
"Hannah, I hadn't seen her play before, she certainly didn't disappoint, she got our players' player today," Clayton said.
"Hannah was just so strong attacking up that right-hand side, so I've got some thinking to do about the middle there.
"Paige, Millie and Macey were all up the front. With those girls, I honestly think I've got the best attacking combo in the league. I'm really lucky ... we've just got to utilise it."
While she has plenty of attacking options, Clayton knows she also has a strong defence to back it up.
In the opening minutes of the contest when United came at her side, the experienced Amy Glenn shut down plenty of threats.
It's a good platform on which to build.
"For the first game, first hit out having everyone there, I'm really stoked with a 3-0 win. There were some really, really nice pieces of play, so it's looking up, we can only improve from here," she said.
Clayton also paid tribute to United, who went into the contest under strength but showed via their emerging talents that they are not a side to take lightly.
"I have to be honest they had four or so people out with COVID and they had a lot of young'uns playing, but they stood up, they were really good. Probably in the first quarter they stuck it to us more, we then started to find our feet in the second quarter," she said.
"Their goalkeeper played brilliant, she was fantastic, she made a lot of saves. Rach Divall at the back there was unreal, silly us kept trying to hit the ball through her and every single time she'd trap the ball.
"The other standout for them was Eva [Reith-Snare], Eva and Rach, they work really well together and I think they had a lot of responsibility on their shoulders."
ST PAT'S 3 (Paige Hay 2, Millie Fulton) defeated ORANGE UNITED 0
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