Wests chase hockey grand final berth with win over Albion Park

University's Simon Beaton tries to elude Albion Park's defence. Wests play Albion Park on Sunday.Picture: CHRIS CHAN

University's Simon Beaton tries to elude Albion Park's defence. Wests play Albion Park on Sunday.Picture: CHRIS CHAN

ILLAWARRA HOCKEY 

Veteran Wests player Paul Burns is confident his club can buck the trend and qualify for a historic Illawarra hockey grand final.

The competition has been in the shadow of two clubs for the past decade as Uni and Albion Park have dominated an era.

Burns is one of just a small handful of Wests players who have experienced a grand final, and wants the club's younger players to get their opportunity.

Wests have consistently played finals for several years but it has been a long time between drinks when it comes to winning the premiership.

"We've been knocked out at this stage for, I don't want to think how many years - it's been a few," Burns said.

"It would be really nice for us, and also for Illawarra hockey to have something different in the grand final.

"That's what we've been working for, to take that next step and make a grand final.

"It would be good for the club."

Wests will take another shot at qualifying for the decider when they take on Albion Park in the preliminary this weekend.

Wests scored a thrilling draw against their more fancied opponents early in the season but were beaten convincingly last time the two clubs met.

Burns knows how tough Sunday's clash will be.

"They've got a quality short corner battery so it's going to be critical not to give away short corners on the weekend," he said.

"We know who they are and we know what we've got to do against them, it's just a matter of executing it on the day.

"If you don't compete for 70 minutes, you've only got to be off the game for 10 minutes and they can score three or four goals."

Uni is already into the grand final following a 4-2 victory over Albion Park last weekend in the semi-final.

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