ECHUCA MOAMA Hockey Club’s A men were expecting an average season having lost a number of players from 2016.
But they have exceeded their own expectations, now over half-way through the year and still managing to win games.
They went down the weekend prior to Sandhurst after a poor first-half gave the Bendigo side a commanding three-goal lead at half-time.
Adam Thompson admitted it wasn’t the Rats’ best effort.
‘‘Our pressure around the ball was pretty poor,’’ Thompson said.
‘‘They had more numbers at every contest and were first to get the free ball after a tackle.
‘‘We had a chat at half-time about getting numbers to pass to.’’
They turned it around in the second term, and instead of hitting the ball straight back to the opposition managed to find space and their own players.
A positional change saw Regan More moved to centre-half and Jayden Gulson went into centre-forward.
It added a lot more drive up forward and saw the Rats score the first three goals of the second half to level the scores 3-3.
The Dragons turned the ball over with 15 minutes to spare, resulting in a goal and another short corner saw them take the game, 5-3.
‘‘We played a lot better in the second half and can take a lot from that,’’ Thompson said.
‘‘Our work rate has been pretty consistent the first half of the year and we’re starting to know everyone’s positions and game style.
‘‘Considering the changes we’ve made from last year, we’re progressing along better than I had thought.’’
The previous round saw them take down the Bendigo side Senjuns 7-2 with plenty of good players to cover the losses.
There were still areas of improvement in their passing which would need to become quicker in order to compete against the stronger Shepparton sides.
‘‘We need to see the options and get the ball away quickly if we want to remain competitive,’’ Thompson said.
‘‘We’re still trying to beat two or three players on our own instead of passing off.’’