After going winless in the first four matches of 2021, the Goulburn Geckos have now entered a two-match win streak with emphatic victories in the last fortnight.
The most recent of these, a 5-0 victory over ANU on Saturday, was played in front of a home crowd at the Goulburn Hockey Arena.
Co-coach and key player for the Goulburn men's side, Jake Staines, said the team expected this year to be tougher following the departures of a number of key players, including Ben Staines and Dean Evans.
"We've lost a few older players that have been here for five or six years, and we've got a few young blokes coming in," Staines said.
"You can't have a perfect year every year. There's probably five or six brand newies, and a few of them are real young."
The Geckos have been a mainstay of the Hockey ACT Capital League finals over the last decade, with one premiership to show for their efforts.
This year, with an influx of youngsters into the side, Staines said the side had an overabundance of "bloody good" players, but needed time to develop experience.
"The talent that we've got coming through is pretty good," he said.
"The new guys are getting used to the group and how we play ... I think it's a matter of everyone getting used to one another and getting used to the pace of the Canberra competition. It's a bit of a shock to a few of them."
With the development of their young players at the forefront of the Geckos' focus, Staines said the side has not discussed any specific goals for the season.
"We just want to get decent numbers to training, and if we can reach the top four by the end of the year, anything can happen after that," he said.
This weekend, Goulburn has another chance to continue its ascent up the ladder with a home game against Albury.
Albury is currently last on the ladder with six losses from six matches, but Staines knows better than to take any opposition for granted.
"I haven't really seen their team, so I haven't played the game too much in my head," he said.
"We'll just play what's in front of us really. In the past they've not been one of the stronger teams, but we don't know what they've got."
The Goulburn Geckos will play Albury in Goulburn this Saturday, May 22, from 1.30pm. This match will be followed by a clash between the Goulburn women's team and OCHC at 3pm.
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