ELOISE McCormick is putting this year down to experience.
The Strikers forward admits the shift from Victorian State League champions to Canberra’s Capital League has been a baptism of fire.
But the 18-year-old believes the Strikers will grow into a formidable opponent in the ACT competition and but for circumstances, may have already been playing finals this year.
Today the Hockey Albury Wodonga women, now six points outside the top four with six rounds to go, play at home against second-placed Central.
Earlier in the year Central beat the Strikers in Canberra 1-0.
McCormick said the Capital League was a step up in class from last year’s premiership-winning year in State League 1.
“It is a different style of hockey to last year and you have to be really strong on the ball,” she said.
“We have had to learn to play smarter.
“But there have been any number of games that we have lost by a single goal, games where we have been more than competitive.
“We have also had a number of key players in and out during the year and that hasn’t helped — Nan Latta was away with the Australian Masters team and she comes back in this week and we lose Sadie Butler out of defence.
“Had everyone been here week-in, week-out it would be a different story.”
The Beechworth apprentice hairdresser said the journey to Canberra had been as challenging as the cold.
“It is unbelievably cold up there,” McCormick said.
McCormick, previously part of the Border’s under-17 rep sides that went back-to-back in the Victorian titles in 2012 and 2013, believes the future is positive for the Strikers.
“We will be better for the experience and the 16 and 17-year-old girls who have been training with us this season will start playing more regularly next year.”