Wests and Robertson renew hostilities

Nathan Wright

Nathan Wright

ILLAWARRA HOCKEY

Albion Park and University have long dominated Illawarra's first grade, but the minor semi-final battle between Wests and Robertson carries its own share of history.

The two teams have met consistently in the opening knockout final in recent times and they will add another chapter to their storied rivalry on Sunday.

Wests claimed victory in last year's fixture in a 5-1 demolition of the Southern Highlands club but Robertson's Nathan Wright hopes to reverse the result this time around.

His men handed understrengthed Wests' an 8-1 beating this season, before losing 4-0 to them in round 20.

He expects Sunday to be another seesawing affair.

"Last game they beat us 4-0 but it was ridiculous conditions, so I think this will be pretty even. I think if we can match them at the start and get into the game, it will be a tussle," Wright said.

"It usually goes one way or the other between us. Either we get a bit of a go ahead and run away with it, or they do.

"Hopefully, we can get a close one and still be in the game near the end to give us every chance."

Wright said memories of a devastating opening in the 2011 minor semi in which his club trailed 4-0 to their top-four rivals within minutes, still plays on many Robertson players' minds.

But the big 8-1 win earlier this campaign will give his men confidence.

"I know they were missing a couple of players in the game we beat them 8-1 but they still had a fair few guys, so we took a lot out of that," Wright said.

"We were missing a couple last week. We will come back in and it will be pretty even. Whoever wants it the most will take it."

The winner of the duel will meet the loser of the major semi-final between Park and the Students.

From there, Wright says anything can happen.

"Our aim was always to get that third or fourth spot, so hopefully it is a bit of a new competition starting now," he said.

SUNDAY

Illawarra Credit Union Field

Minor semi-final

Wests v  Robertson, 2pm

Major semi-final

University v  Albion Park, 3.40pm

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