'I think they were just that little bit keener than us'
HOCKEY MEN: Clocktower Hotel Royals have won through to the Grafton Hockey Association Premier League grand final with a narrow 3-1 win over City Bears.
With a guaranteed grand final berth on the line, it was the Royals who scored the first goal of the match before the Bears struck back about 10 minutes later.
Two late second-half goals gave the Royals the win, and left the minor premiers needing to win against Barbs in order to secure a rematch in the grand final.
City Bears veteran Mick Russ said the intent from Royals was clear from the pre-match warm-up.
"I think they were just that little bit keener than us.
"They probably turned up with a better head-space than what we did," Russ said.
"There's been nothing between the two teams all year, and 3-1 is probably the biggest scoreline we've had all season.
"Everytime we play them they've been really good games.
"They've been even and end-to-end and just really tough games.
"We had a couple of guys sent off too, which doesn't do your confidence any good, and I think there for a while we had two off at the same time which definitely doesn't help."
With Royals now through to the grand final, Russ said Bears would be keen to improve when they faced Barbs on Sunday.
"We've got to get past Barbs, that's our main aim," Russ said.
"The loss was disappointing, it's always a bonus to go straight into the grand final, that's what everyone wants to do, finish in the top two and then guarantee a spot in the grand final.
"Once you're in a grand final anything can happen, but we're not there yet.
"We need to turn things around from this match and get past Barbs, that's all we're concentrating on."