Royals triumph in perfect start to season
HOCKEY: THE grand final replay between Clocktower Hotel Royals and Grafton City Bears went the way of the defending premiers, as they continue their perfect start with a 3-1 win.
The match lacked star fire-power from both sides, with Thomas Smith, Harry Fahey and Callan Clare missing from the Royals line-up, while Bears were without midfielder and captain Michael Russ.
Bears stand-in skipper James Wilks said it was disappointing to come up short against Royals.
"We came out firing in the first ten minutes and then just ran out of legs, couldn't keep that pace up," he said.
"We are probably lacking a bit of match fitness early in the season, after half time we didn't come out with the same intensity."
Wilks said the team was looking forward to the return of Russ to the side, who has been out on representative duties for Australia at the Masters World Cup in Canberra.
"Russ should be back next week, which will make a real difference to the side," he said.
"He makes a big difference as a senior player, keeping everyone calm and composed, so it'll be good when he comes back."
Wilks said despite the loss, he was confident his side has what it takes to go far this season.
"It's only early in the season, so we're still getting back into the swing of things," he said.
"Some of us haven't picked up a stick in months so it might take a few games to get the touch back, but it's only early days."
- IN THE other match Barbs Hagars defeated Sailors 3-2.