Lions remain stuck at the bottom of the competition

11-07-2018 by admin

Jack Busch in action for the Lions during Saturday’s match at Orange. Photo: STEVE GOSCHTHE Dubbo Lions’ hunt for a Premier League Hockey (PLH) victory goes on after a 5-2 loss against Orange Wanderers at the Orange Hockey Complex on Saturday.

The Lions opened their 2016 season with a win but it was then taken away after they were punished for playing unregistered players.

That punishment and points deduction saw the Lions slip to last on the ladder and that is where they remain after Saturday’s loss.

The last time the two sides met Orange ran out 5-0 winners so there were signs of improvement as Matt Waters and Stuart McKenzie got their names on the scoresheet.

But there was no doubt the hosts were the better side, creating a glut of opportunities in their three-goal triumph, with Keiran Gentles and Nick Sharp proving their class in front of goal with a double each while Luke Skelton managed to find the back of the net in the big win as well.

Despite the impressive performance by the Wanderers, co-coach Matt Johnson knows if his side is to be a serious threat this season it simply has to get better.

While pleased to see his side create so many chances, Johnston knows execution is just as important as the Orange club looks to secure a place in the men’s PLH top four.

After round eight, just four points separates the top five teams, Lithgow Panthers (24 points), Bathurst St Pat’s (22), Bathurst Souths (20), Lithgow Zig Zag (20) and Wanderers (20) while the Lions languish at the bottom on zero, four points behind Bathurst City.

“It’s both positive and negative,” Johnson said of his side’s attack.

“It’s great that we’re creating plenty of chances but the next step is making those chances goals.

“Keiran and Nick have that experience having both played at the top level with Sydney [with the Burwood Briars] … it’s up to the young guys now to learn from those guys.

“It’s a really close competition this year. Aside from the couple of bottom sides, there’s genuinely six teams vying for a place in the top four and with Souths beating St Pat’s any of those sides can win the minor premiership.

“It’s great, it’s exciting for hockey to have a comp like this.”

The Lions will again look to regroup during the week before they host second-placed Bathurst St Pat’s next week.

ORANGE WANDERERS 5 (Keiran Gentles 2, Nick Sharp 2, Luke Skelton)def DUBBO LIONS 2 (Matt Waters, Stuart McKenzie)

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