Werribee is producing one of its most complete seasons in Hockey Victoria women’s Vic League 2.
The Tigers punished opposition sides in the regular season, scoring a massive 113 goals and conceding just 10 for a remarkable plus-103 goal difference en route to the minor premiership.
The Les McAlinden-coached side only had the one blemish while winning 15 games and drawing twice.
“That’s just phenomenal – you don’t see teams like that often,” McAlinden said, reflecting on a dominant year.
Werribee was challenged by second-placed Monash University in the semi-final at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
The game was deadlocked 1-1 at full-time before the Tigers pounced to get the spoils with a 4-2 result in the shoot-out.
“It was a good game, a good top-of-the-ladder challenge,” McAlinden said.
“Our cool and collected heads prevailed in the shoot-out.”
No matter what the Tigers have achieved to this point in the season, the scoreboard will read 0-0 when they step out for the grand final against an in-form PEGS on Sunday.
The Tigers will need to dig deep one more time to truly complete a fairytale season.
McAlinden has sensed a focused and determined group in training in the past week – not one reliving glories of the previous 19 matches.
“All our focus is on next Sunday,” he said. “We’ve got one more game to win.”
The foundations of Werribee’s run to the grand final were set last season.
McAlinden showed unwavering faith in the exciting youngsters in the team, giving them valuable experience at the top level.
However, the addition of a few veterans has turned the side from an also-ran to a dominant force.
Holly Stewart played only seven games last season, but has missed just one this season and scored a remarkable 32 goals.
Stewart has formed a lethal attacking combination with Brittany McIntyre, who has a league-best 34 goals, including Werribee’s only regulation time score in the semi-final.
“Her experience coming into the team has really shown,” McAlinden said.
Werribee is ready and raring to rip into the grand final.
The players know what they can produce and will go in with confidence.
The coaches have done their homework, having scouted the preliminary final game while their side rested at the weekend.
Should they need it, the Tigers have the best insurance coverage in the league in top-ranked goalkeeper Rachel Catania.
So if the grand final does go down to the wire and another shoot-out is needed, the Tigers can use their experience from the semi-final win and just leave the stress to McAlinden.
“Trust me, I was stressed on the sidelines,” he said with a laugh. “But the confidence from the girls was just perfect. They all knew what to do and how to execute it.”
Meanwhile, Werribee bowed out of the men’s Vic League 2 finals with a 3-2 loss to Old Xavarians at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Sunday.
The Tigers led 2-0 at half-time, but Old Xavarians scored three unanswered goals in the second half to move through to the big dance.