Werribee banked a point from its 4-4 draw with Greater Dandenong Warriors in the Hockey Victoria men’s Vic League 2 at President’s Park on Saturday.
But it was more two points missed than one point gained. While the crowd went home breathless after an eight-goal classic, Tigers’ players and officials pondered what might have been had their best hockey lasted longer.
Tigers’ captain Jayden Street told Star Weekly the game was played on Warriors’ terms.
“Our basics were pretty poor, and we let them dictate the game,” he said.
“We let them play their brand for 60 or 70 minutes; we played our brand for about 10 minutes and, in those 10 minutes, we probably slotted three of our four goals.”
Werribee’s defence has been more holey than Swiss cheese in recent weeks.
The Tigers have conceded 12 goals in three games, and this has put the brakes on their quest for a top-four position.
“It’s not good enough,” Street said.
“The last few weeks we’ve been conceding too many goals.
“We’ve got to try and rectify it on the track.”
Conversely, Werribee’s attack is scoring goals at will.
Their early season woes in front of goal appear to be a thing of the past, after they banged in 13 goals in the past three outings.
The move of Sam Huxtable back to the front line has seen the Tigers scoring go up, but has it robbed Peter to pay Paul?
Huxtable was a significant presence in the Tigers’ midfield before the move forward.
Street believes the straight swap of Huxtable with Luke Simpson in the line-up, and the return of Sean Gardner, will pay off in the long run.
“They’ve stepped up and covered that role,” Street said.
“It allows Sam to have a bit more freedom up forward.
“Luke and Sean are strong voices on the ground, so having them through the midfield helps settle the middle a lot more.”
Huxtable fired in a double for Werribee on Saturday.
Ross Cowlishaw and James Alfredini were the Tigers’ other goalscorers.
The Tigers are one of seven teams from second to eighth on the ladder still with a mathematical chance of reaching the finals.
A victory over second-placed Monash University on the road on Saturday would provide a huge boost.
“We’ve showed that our best matches up with the top teams,” Street said.
“We’ve got a young team, so trying to get the consistency across the whole game is the part we’re struggling with at the moment.
“We’ll be a chance if we can play 70 minutes of hockey, instead of 10 to 15 minute patches.”