After suffering their first defeat of the season against long-time rivals, Wests, on August 28, the Goulburn Geckos have bounced back in resounding fashion.
Since their narrow 3-2 loss, the Geckos have recorded wins over United (4-2) and St Patrick's (7-0 on Tuesday September 8 and 3-0 yesterday, September 12).
Goulburn stalwart Scott Grant said the team is pleased with its reaction after the Wests defeat, and said the Geckos are focused solely on taking the competition one week at a time.
"The tussle against Wests was pretty tough and we went down by one goal and probably didn't play our best hockey," Grant said.
"We're taking it game by game, and we've followed that match up with three wins. We take one game at a time and as long as we keep winning, it's good."
As the defending champions, Wests are unequivocally the favourites for the 2020 season. But after a tumultuous start to the season, Grant believes Goulburn has closed the gap on their rivals and put its name forward as a fellow title championship contender.
"When we started the season, we were scratching around for a team and we thought we mightn't get one," he said.
"We got one together after COVID-19 hit and we kept getting better and better.
"Wests won the competition last year and we're not too far behind them at the moment. We're going pretty well and headed in the right direction."
Though their hat-trick of wins in the past fortnight has been pleasing, the Geckos are readying for an even tougher couple of weeks ahead.
As St Patrick's sit at sixth on the ladder, and United at fourth, Goulburn was the heavy favourite in both of those matches.
This week, the Geckos take on last-placed ANU on Wednesday night, before backing up against third-placed Central on Friday night.
As two matches in a week wasn't a tough enough ask, Goulburn will then rematch Wests the following weekend.
Throughout the crazy schedule, the days grow longer and warmer as spring weather takes over. The players' fitness will be further tested as temperatures increase, but Grant praised the intense pre-season training through which the Geckos put themselves.
Now, along with maintaining their fitness throughout an extended season, the focus for Goulburn's players is smoothing out their transitions between defence and offence.
"I play in the back group and ... we try to set a platform back there so the forwards can feed from us," Grant said. "In the back group at the moment, we're trying to stay solid and set the platform."
Goulburn will play ANU at Powell Field on Wednesday, September 16, from 7.30pm. This will be followed by a clash against Central on Friday, September 18, from 7.50pm at Carter Field.
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