A DERBY at any point of the season is always an exciting an intense affair, but when there's finals positions on the line it elevates to something special.
Spectators and players can expect this Saturday's Souths versus St Pat's women's Central West Premier League Hockey derby to ascend to that next level when they meet at Bob Roach Field.
The match of the round brings together the second and third placed teams in a tight and enthralling finals battle with four games to go.
The Saints are looking to lock down a top two spot while Souths are trying to put some distance between themselves and a big chasing pack of teams.
A win has even more value for both sides given that they both still have a bye to serve.
Souths assistant coach Annie Pakinga said the build up to the game this weekend has been exciting.
"It's really important for us over these next few games to hold pretty tight onto our position," she said.
"The girls have been training really hard. The girls and us coaches want the same outcome so everyone's on board with what we're doing, helping us work towards that goal."
Pat's come into the game off a 2-1 win over CYMS while Souths watched their lead crumble in the second half during a 3-1 defeat to Orange United.
Pakinga said the effort was still there from the two blues when the scoreboard started to go the other way, and that's the kind of enthusiasm she'd like to see more of in the derby.
"I think the girls really played well. We were leading 1-0 up until half-time," she said.
"When we went behind the girls never dropped their heads and we couldn't have asked for much more from them.
"Pat's are second on the ladder so this is going to be a massive game between these two teams. They'll be wanting it just as much as we do, and I expect the girls will be digging deep."
Souths went on a three game winning streak in the opening half of the season but have spent the last five games chasing a victory with no luck.
The team have made some minor changes over that stretch to try and get back to those winning ways, and they've been integrated well.
"From a coach's point of view it's important for our girls to focus on what we've been training on. We're aware of their structures and players but I think it's more important to focus on what we're doing because it's been working," Pakinga said.
"We've changed the structure of play a little bit, changing a few things in defence, as well as our strikers' movement in the forward line."
Souths skipper Danielle Fisher said it's important for the team to mentally reset after the previous round.
"It's always a bit nervous when you play in the home derby and with the points the way they are this year there is a bit more pressure on us," she said.
"At training everyone turned up with a good attitude considering what happened last week. We played well as a team, we know we just have to keep our heads up and go into this one with a fresh mind.
"We picked up on a few things that we could have done better and I feel that with had a strong training session leading up to this game."
The derby gets underway from 12.20pm.
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