Cooloola Heat are confident
THE Cooloola Heat is confident of defeating minor premiers Flinders and bringing home the 2015 premiership title today, but is aware a big challenge lies ahead.
Cooloola Heat player-coach Dom Stephens said the Heat had a confidence boost after winning the preliminary final against Flinders 5-1 two weeks ago, earning the Gympie team a position in the Sunshine Coast division one grand final in Buderim.
The Heat is raring to go after taking advantage of a week off to rest a few niggling injuries.
"We are confident with ourselves but know it is going to be tough," Stephens said.
Stephens said Flinders had a couple of good fullbacks and quick strikers and the best way to limit their effectiveness would be to starve the players of options.
"We want to play simple hockey," he said, adding the side would need a high conversion rate of its chances at goal.
Gympie tidied up a few set plays during Tuesday's training session and will furnish a full-strength side today despite missing members earlier in the week.
"The boys looked sharp by the end," Stephens said.
The Heat has rarely had a full rank this season with at least two or three players out each week, but have shown they are dangerous with a complete side after their victory in the preliminary final.
The team does not want to stray from a game plan that has been working well the last few weeks but knows composure in pressure moments will be key.
"Whether we are up or down, we need to say focused - that is the main thing," Stephens said.
Both teams have been on an equal footing all season with Flinders and the Heat winning, losing and drawing against each other.
"Whoever plays better on the day will take the win for sure," Stephens said.
The Heat will look to Nathan Stephens for another blinder today after he scored a hat-trick against Flinders two weeks ago.
"He is playing well at the moment," Stephens said.
The Heat player sheet features many experienced players and it is hoped that experience will come to the fore today after competing in the final last year.
The Heat lost to the seven-time premiership winners Buderim Rebels last year 2-0 and has kept the same line-up with the addition of Dean McKewan and Alec Lee in 2015.
The Heat is keen to see Gympie fans come along to support the team at Ballinger Rd, Buderim.