High-flying United are easybeats no longer

UNITED has gone from cellar dwellers to title contenders in women’s Division 1 hockey.

Last year Corowa-Rutherglen played an entire season without a win, this year it is sitting second with four wins and a draw from the opening six rounds.

United was too good for Magpies on Sunday, with Georgia Bartlett, Chloe Jones and Brooke Martin all on the scoresheet in the 3-1 victory.

Coach Robert Hill said it was testament to a team ethic.

“At the start of the year we came together as three new coaches in women’s hockey and the girls have embraced the structures and discipline — the results have followed,” he said.

“The team hasn’t changed greatly but they are a year older and more experienced.

“In the past two years the club has been in a development phase and a lot of the girls are still very young.

“The average age is probably somewhere between 15 and 20 and we have added one or two players who travel from Wagga and Melbourne each weekend.”

Hill, who coached the men’s Division 3 team to three premierships in the past four years and last year also led Division 2 to the title, said there were no grand visions pre-season.

“We thought it would be a much better year but the aim was simply to make a gradual improvement each week — just aim to have a better structure to our hockey,” he said.

“Nothing has really changed.

“We take our position on the ladder as meaning we are travelling well at the moment.

“It has meant we are able to continue to refine our structures and processes at training.

“It has been an across the board improvement.”