Sport

Central women book grand final berth as they try to end 10-year title drought

A decade ago they celebrated their 50th birthday with grand final glory, now Central has a chance to end its title drought after upsetting Tuggeranong 4-2 in the Capital League women's hockey preliminary final on Sunday. 

Tuggeranong won the minor premiership, but exited the finals in straight sets after Central set up victory with a 3-1 first half. 

Central will now shoot for its first title since 2004 against defending champion St Pat's next week, with both teams looking to cap their 60th year in the league on a high. 

Having finished third at the end of the regular season, Central will start underdogs in the decider but coach Richard Apps said they've generated belief after two straight semi wins. 

"Coming from the bottom half of the draw is always tough, but last week's game against ANU gave the girls confidence to take on Tuggeranong, who have been the form team all year," he said. 

"I told them if they have the confidence they could win it would get them through, and that's what they did."

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The average age of Tuggeranong's squad is about 17 and while his players were shattered afterward, coach Jason Toole said their youth puts things in perspective. 

"It was pretty hard to tell them that in the change room after the game, there was a few tears but I can see it for what it is," he said. 

"I would have loved to have been there next week, and we were good enough if we played to our potential. 

"I think there was an experience factor there. The group's young and they haven't played a lot of finals hockey.

"It's a different game altogether, it doesn't matter what sport you play."

Toole praised Central goalkeeper Katie Parr's performance as outstanding, and the main difference between the two sides. 

WOMEN'S PRELIMINARY FINAL 

Central 4 (Bella Apps, Kyralee Bunt, Trina Dooley, Tonina Staunton) bt Tuggeranong 2 (Kristy Martens 2) 

Grand final: Sunday, September 21: St Pat's versus Central at National Hockey Centre, Lyneham, 3.45pm