FORMER Grafton hockey star Peter Kelly bagged himself a goal-scoring double as the NSW Waratahs improved their Australian Hockey League season record to 3-1 with two crushing defeats over the Northern Territory Stingers in Darwin on Saturday and Sunday.
The Brent Livermore-led Waratahs prevailed 5-1 on Saturday before repeating the dose on Sunday with Kelly adding two goals in a 5-0 drubbing of the Stingers.
With the Northern Territory buoyed by a home crowd, much was expected prior to Saturday's clash, but a more clinical and experienced Waratahs side easily accounted for the enthusiastic, but out-gunned, Stingers.
NSW were on the board in just the third minute after Mark Paterson broke through the NT defence to register the first goal of the match.
And when Australian player Matthew Butturini converted two penalty corners in the 12th and 23rd minutes, the match was quickly slipping from the Stingers.
Jarrod Lockley built on some great work by the NT midfield to score his first goal in the 52nd minute, giving the Darwin crowd some hope of a revival.
But it was short-lived.
Two 'soft' goals were let in by the NT defence in the 55th minute to Ian Paterson and Mark Paterson 65th minute, and the score had blown out to 5-1.
Things did not improve for the home side on Sunday.
The Waratahs began strongly with solid work from their midfield keeping the Stingers players on their toes.
This pressure lead to an early field goal to Kelly in the 12th minute.
Kelly, along with Livermore, is one of four Grafton players in the NSW side, the others being Robbie Green and Nick Russ.
Great keeping by Leon Hayward, and good work by the Stingers backline, prevented several other shots over the next 40 minutes, except for a penalty corner conversion by Matthew Wark in the 26th minute.
Good discipline by the Stingers kept the score to 2-nil at the break and this continued in the second half until Josh Miller found his way through to score in the 56th minute. While this put the game out of reach for the Northern Territorians, they never gave up and made NSW work hard for their next goal, a second to Kelly, in the 64th minute. With the game all but over, NSW were awarded a penalty stroke and Butturini slotted a perfectly placed shot past the hard-working Hayward.
NSW head coach Larry MacIntosh was understandably happy with both performances.
“It was pleasing to come away from the weekend with two wins,” MacIntosh said.
“Sunday's performance was particularly pleasing for the discipline we showed and that we are working towards the patterns of play that we need to succeed.”