Topics:  all blacks, bundaberg, hinkler park, inter-city premier league, sports

All Blacks fresh for womens semi

Rovers’ Dean Wightman protects the ball against an attack from Cities’ Josh Stacey in last year’s Bundaberg Division 1 men’s grand final.
Rovers’ Dean Wightman protects the ball against an attack from Cities’ Josh Stacey in last year’s Bundaberg Division 1 men’s grand final. Max Fleet

HAVING the last-round bye tomorrow will be an advantage for Inter-City Premier League women's minor premiers All Blacks ahead of their semi-final game at Hinkler Park on Sunday.

Their coach Craig Martin said it would be especially beneficial for their older players as they would be missing three young guns who are away with the Wide Bay girls' team at the schools' state championships - Jacki Greiner, Emily Clark and Ashleigh Martin.

All Blacks' opponents will be decided by the results of tomorrow's last round match-ups, with four teams battling it out for the three positions - Wallaroos, who are on 20 points, Granville Rovers (18), Cities (17) and Uniteds (14).

Cities need at least a draw at home against Roos in order to qualify, but Roos will be hungry for maximum points as Granville takes on Brothers, while Uniteds will have to beat Arrows also at Hinkler and rely on Cities losing.

Martin said he had not given a thought to who they may play and he was just focused on having their house in order for the match.

He is "over the moon" with how they have performed this season.

"The girls have really matured as a group - given that a majority of them are still under-21, I'm hugely proud of them - we have played nice, strong hockey and we stick to our game plan well," Martin said.

Martin said Clark and her elder sisters Caitlin and Brit had been consistently among their best.

"All three Clark girls have been very strong in different ways, and Kayla Osborn has been very good - she's exceptionally quick and very strong on the ball," he said.

"It is disappointing for us to have those three out and we'll have to change things around at the back but we've had a pretty large squad of 16 players.

"Hayley Elder has been back in the last two games, Brit Roberts has returned after a numbers of years and is scoring valuable goals, Amanda Wightman has been very good up front and Stacey Neller will be a key after missing the last few weeks - she can put the ball away too."

Men's round-robin matches finished last week, and in Sunday's semis, minor premiers Rovers and reigning champions Cities will do battle at Hinkler at 2.30pm.

But before that, they have local Division 1 fixtures tomorrow.

Rovers will be favourites after defeating the Blues 4-1 in round one back on March 10 and finishing six points in front of them.

Granville and Roos will duel in the other semi in Maryborough.


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