Same time, same place, different year.
Gosford and Norths meet for a second straight season in the Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League grand final to decide who will hold aloft the sought after silverware.
The 2016 clash, which takes place at Newcastle International Hockey Centre on Saturday (3pm), comes 12 months after Gosford defeated Norths 2-1 to clinch their maiden premiership.
But this time around Newcastle-based Norths, playing their seventh straight decider, are keen for “redemption” according to 23-year-old midfielder and 2010 youth Olympian Jordan Willott.
“For the first time I’m pretty nervous actually, because we got beat by them last year,” Willott said. “Hopefully we can get some redemption this weekend.”
On the other hand Gosford goalkeeper Nick Holman, who will represent NSW at the Australian Hockey League in Perth next week, wants his Central Coast club to prove that last season wasn’t simply a one-off.
“There’s a bit of added pressure there,” Holman said. “Last year being our first time winning it, to make sure we show we deserved it and we can do it again.”
Gosford were leap-frogged by Norths on the competition ladder earlier this month after being docked points for an unregistered player breach.
It meant the Magpies dropped out of the top two and were forced to take the scenic route to grand final day – knocking off Maitland 5-1 at home in the minor semi-final a fortnight ago before a penalty stroke in double extra-time saw them get past minor premiers Souths 2-1 last week.
Holman said this has given Gosford much-needed confidence and momentum ahead of the big showdown, especially without the services of injured star midfielder Liam Alexander (knee).
“It means we can play the long game and go all the way to the end,” Holman said. “You just feel like you have that tough match fitness.”
Norths qualified for the main event with a 2-1 major semi-final win over long-time rivals Souths on September 11 and have been strengthened by this season’s return of key trio James Piper, Dane Pettit and Waratahs representative Nick Hill.
Norths are now chasing a seventh crown in 10 years but for Willot it would be a first with both brothers – Josh and Ky – in the team and father Dave as coach.
“It’s not something you see very often and it would be pretty special to win it all together,” he said.
Earlier at the same venue Central attempts to defend their title when tackling minor premiers Regals in the Newcastle District Women’s Hockey Association premier grand final (1.30pm).
2015 – Gosford
2014 – Norths
2013 – The Entrance
2012 – Norths
2011 – Norths
2010 – Norths
2009 – Souths
2008 – Norths
2007 – Norths
2006 – Souths
2005 – Souths
2004 – Souths
2003 – Norths
2002 – Souths