Canberra Lakers players defend a short corner in their AHL loss to Queensland on Friday.
Canberra Lakers coach Andrew Deane was happy with a bronze medal play-off in his first year in charge at the Australian Hockey League, despite suffering a 5-1 thumping by the Queensland Blades in Melbourne on Friday.
And Deane was hopeful Glenn Turner, Andrew Charter, Dan Hotchkis and Aaron Kershaw would all be named in national squads at the end of the tournament.
The loss meant the Lakers missed out on the chance of a gold medal and will instead face NSW for the third place. Deane felt the 5-1 scoreline didn’t reflect the game, but conceded Queensland deserved to win.
‘‘We’ve picked a lot of guys that have been unlucky to be picked previously. We’ve got those older guys in there and some of the younger guys have forced their way in,’’ Deane said.
‘‘I’ve been really happy with it, it’s been a really positive group to be involved with and this year was step one in a plan to get us to play very consistent hockey at this level.
‘‘We’ve managed to do it this year and then make sure we continue to improve through to next year.’’
He thought Turner, who played at last year’s London Olympics, Charter and Hotchkis had all done enough to make the Aussie senior squad, the Kookaburras, while Kershaw would make the junior World Cup side.
Kershaw was the lone goal scorer for the Lakers in the heavy loss to Queensland, slotting home a penalty corner just before half-time.
It meant they trailed 3-1 at the break, following a short corner, an own goal and a contentious third goal that could have been deemed dangerous after being lifted inside the circle. A goalkeeping error in the second half then helped the Blades run out easy winners.
Deane said the scoreline at half-time allowed them to let some younger players have a run in the second half and give them a taste against quality opponents such as Jamie Dwyer.
The Lakers play NSW for the bronze on Saturday at 2.30pm.
Meanwhile, Canberra’s women’s side fell 1-0 to Queensland in Tasmania on Friday.