TALKING tactics with her Dad who just happened to be a master coach - that is how grand final week has played out for Kristy Ekert so many times over the years.
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But this year things are a different for the St Pat's hockey star known as 'Little'.
It's because Ekert's father, Geoff 'Chicka' Conroy, died three months ago.
So this week instead of chatting with her Dad about how to take down Lithgow Panthers on grand final day, the build has been different.
"I'm pretty nervous, I don't normally get like this. It has been awhile I suppose, but I think it's the emotion," she said.
"He was a pretty good coach, he had it down pat there.
"He was always on edge in grand final week, he loved to talk about it, love to analyse it with you. Yeah, he would talk to me about it for the whole week."
Chicka was the man who coached St Pat's to the most successful premiership streak ever witnessed in women's Premier League Hockey.
They won four consecutive grand finals between 2003-2006, with Chicka at the helm and his daughter leading the way as a strike weapon in attack.
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But not only did he know how to get the best of out his players, Chicka was a humble man as well.
After his fourth title win he said: "I have a great bunch of girls who always play for each other, but I think a better coach could lift the bar again."
"It was pretty cool having him as coach, I loved it, and Mum managed a bit too, so it was all I knew," Ekert said.
"Wherever I went Mum and Dad were always there and Mum still says now, 'Until you tell me to stop, I'm not going to stop'. I'm never going to say stop.
"Mum says 'I'm going to keep going until she tells me to stop', that was the running joke when I was growing up, Mum always said that."
Though best known for coaching the Saints, Chicka also led Bathurst junior sides - under 11s, under 12s and under 15s - to state titles.
He met, and was respected by, so many members of the Bathurst hockey community. Even Ekert didn't realise how many people her Dad had an impact on until after he died.
"Dad met so many people through hockey," she said.
"We were so overwhelmed, there were so many gifts and flowers. Some of them only came with one name and you'd have to sit and think 'Who is that?' then we'd think about it and be 'Oh, of course'.
"Then the funeral, that was unreal, and the wake after, there were so many people. Growing up Dad coached the under 15 district boys with Sandra Naylor and a lot of those boys, who I went to school with too, came out of the woodwork for Dad's funeral.
"It was just so nice to see them all come and pay their respects. He left his mark on a lot of people."
This year Ekert, her brother Shane Conroy and husband Jaden Ekert, were all contemplating not playing.
But this Saturday all three will be in the blue and white playing grand finals. Kristy and her Saints face Lithgow Panthers, Shane and Jaden will battle Lithgow Storm.
"I wasn't going to play hockey this year, either was Jaden," Ekert said.
"But then Jaden decided to play and that was fine, I work every second weekend so it eased the blow a little bit for me.
"But then Dad got a little bit worse and then he deteriorated again. I was just sitting down with him one day and I thought 'You know what? He would want me still to play hockey. He would want me still play.
"While I can still run, and it's a pretty average run, but while I can still do it, why aren't I? He would want it too, so that's why I decided to play. I was like 'Okay, stop making excuses, this is what Chicka would want me to do, let's go'.
"I missed the girls, I just missed the environment so much. They are my best friends, they really are my best friends.
"Everyone is so busy these days, seriously the only time I get to see them is to play a sport. Yes we whinge and whine about how busy we are and how hard it is to get to training, but you do it and you get there and you love it.
"Shane was umming and ahhing too this year, but Cameron Liles told Shane if he came back then he had to.
"Plus he loves playing with all the juniors, the young boys who have come up."
The Saints Ekert will play alongside in Saturday's grand final will include a number who had Chicka as a coach.
The person who now coaches the Saints - Bec Clayton - is one of them.
"He used to call her big bird," Ekert laughed.
While Chicka won't be there on the sideline to cheer on his beloved Saints or offer advice, Ekert knows he'd be full of pride with what has unfolded this year.
She also knows he would be crossing his fingers for other Saints triumph.
"Wouldn't it be amazing?," she said.
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