Hunter United are back on the road to a potential playoffs berth after a 46-41 victory over previously third placed Northern Suburbs on Thursday evening.
The Emeralds sit in ninth place with a 5-8 record over the course of the season, but despite their low standing the club is just four points outside a finals position.
It may take three wins from the final three weeks, but the club can certainly return to finals assistant coach Janine Hobbs said after their five goal win, especially if they can pick up form on the run home.
“If the right teams lose and the right teams win, we’re in with a very good chance now – there’s only four wins between the very top of the table and the bottom,” Hobbs said.
“We’re looking to have a few cards fall our way in the final weeks, but overall the win last night was great for us no matter what it means for the standings. It was a good trip home after a big win like that.”
Hobbs also believes the team’s controlled style was a key part of United’s five goal win, and praised not only Veronica Smith and Angela Williams – who were joined by Laura Nolan as keeper in one quarter – in the defensive circle but “everyone from the front to the back” for their willingness to just never give up in defence.
“Those turnovers were a credit to how defensively strong we are from the shooters all the way back to the defensive circle,” she said.
“The girls have worked very hard in training on those defensive talents and it shows, we contested every single ball and made sure that every centre was a chance for us to score a goal.”
United’s victory in the top grade also opens a pathway to the finals that Hobbs believes the team has the talent to take, with Baulkham Hills (seventh), Ku-ring-gai (eighth) and Randwick (third) now standing in their road.
“We will go away and focus on the positives that we have in defence, we’ve had so many close games and stay in the contest until the final last minutes,” Hobbs said. “The girls have seen now if we can stick with it and control the final moments of the match we can walk away with the win.”
“That’s all it’s going to come down to in the last weeks, we’re very competitive and it’s just a matter of getting over those final challenges to potentially get into one of those final positions. Because of our new playing roster we’re not focused on making finals, we’re happy with how they’ve developed.
“The whole team has improved so much for a new roster, and it’s exciting no matter how the season ends.”
In the Metro League third division United’s Diamond squad suffered a 59-32 defeat at the hands of Randwick, leaving them eight points adrift of a top four finish with just three matches left to play.
First published as: United back in the race for finals