Wests, Mittagong primed to tackle hockey heavyweights

HOCKEY 

Wests and Mittagong are doing their best to ensure the Illawarra first grade hockey competition is far from a two-horse race in 2014.

Both teams have been in imposing form in recent weeks and have pushed perennial league heavyweights University and Albion Park in several marquee encounters.

Mittagong only just went down (2-1) to the Students last Sunday after beating Park two rounds earlier, while the Devils secured a draw against the defending premiers between wins over Dapto and Robertson.

Albion Park's Kurt Miller makes a pass during last weekend's victory over Robertson. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Albion Park's Kurt Miller makes a pass during last weekend's victory over Robertson. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

It moves the pair into third (Wests) and fourth (Mittagong) on the ladder behind last season's grand finalists.

Their strong form lines will meet this weekend when Wests host the Southern Highlands club at Unanderra.

"You cannot underestimate them," Wests' Paul Burns said.

"They have quite a few younger players in that team who have now got two, three and four years' experience in the first grade competition under their belt and are really starting to come into their own.

"We have to really make sure we are not complacent at the start of the game.

"They have also got some key players we need to do a good job on otherwise we will be in some trouble."

Wests can take their undefeated run to four games if they can secure a win on Sunday.

The Devils beat Dapto 3-1 last weekend courtesy of a brace to Elliott Ashby.

"It was a sloppy win but it wasn't a good win," Burns said.

"It is good to get the points no doubt. I think Dapto showed they are an improving side which is pleasing to see.

"I think we were probably a little complacent and I think you can't afford to be complacent against any of the teams."

Dapto will get another chance to secure their first win of the season against Robertson in round seven.

Robertson were defeated 11-5 to Park last round but are still well within finals contention.

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