MacVean keeps it simple for Wombats

Jeremy Maggs on the ball for Magpies in their 3-3 draw with Wombats. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Jeremy Maggs on the ball for Magpies in their 3-3 draw with Wombats. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

KEEP winning.

That’s Wombats captain coach Josh MacVean’s instructions to his emerging side as the race for the final-four hots up in Hockey Albury Woodnga.

Last year’s premiers finished in a 3-3 draw with fellow top-four hopeful Magpies at the weekend after the game was cut 10 minutes short because of an injury.

“It was a great game, it’s always the same when we play against them — always tight, always pretty clean,” MacVean said yesterday.

“One of our boys, Leigh Foulston, hit his head on the pitch so we had to call an ambulance — but the good news is he’s fine now.”

Wombats lost four key players in the off-season including star keeper Ben Hooppell and then coach Peter Barber after the first few rounds.

But MacVean said a group of young guns including Jamin Barrett were filling the void.

“Pete was a big loss but Jamin has risen to the challenge,” he said.

“He’s an 18-year-old who has come through the juniors and just worked his way up — for the Spitfires he plays on the forward line as one of the wingers but since Pete has gone I’ve moved him into centre half and he controls the game.

“The simple answer to the rest of the season for us is to keep winning.

“The top-five teams are pretty close — anyone of those sides could take the title but I guess most people would still have United favourites.”

Wodonga coach Craig Pontt, fresh from a 5-2 win against Falcons on Sunday, is another favouring United as title fav-ourites.

“But outside of them there are four of us fighting it out for the other three spots,” he said.

“We have a very young side mostly made up of teenagers and early 20-somethings that have been playing together for the past two seasons.

“The improvement has been phenomenal — the Cullen boys are our strikepower but players like Nathaniel Conlan have really developed after a year of first-grade hockey.

“But it has been one of our older players — Brent Innis in the backline — who has really provided the leadership, he’s a great influence on the side.”