Central coach Phil Jorgensen said his team still had "more in the tank" to defend its Men's Capital League Hockey title, despite almost running out of petrol in Saturday's grand final qualifier against Goulburn.
Central was first team through to the grand final with a 5-4 win over Goulburn at Lyneham, but not before it got an almighty fright from the first-year team.
Central led 3-0 and then 5-1, before Goulburn came back with a flurry in the last 20 minutes. Goulburn had a penalty opportunity on the buzzer to draw the match but was unable to convert.
Central has been dominant all season, losing just one match - the final round against Old Canberrans.
Jorgensen said the late-charge from Goulburn would serve as a wake-up call for his team before the decider in a fortnight.
"They really put the wind up us - we were lucky to hang on," Jorgensen said.
"They got more aggressive and put the heat on us, and mentally we probably switched off a little bit, They were running over the top of us.
"It's probably a good wake-up call because I've gone easier on the guys at training in the last fortnight, trying to get ready for another final onslaught. It probably showed in the last 20 minutes. We were running out of legs rapidly.
"But we can go a little bit harder in the next fortnight to build up to the grand final. We've still got more in the tank."
Goulburn will play Old Canberrans next weekend for a place in the grand final. Old Canberrans easily beating United 4-0 in the elimination final.
Australian Kookaburras representative Glenn Turner, who has spearheaded Goulburn in its inaugural ACT season, said his team could take heart from its comeback.
"The way we finished gives us a lot of confidence if we play Central again, but we can't worry about them too much at this stage because Old Canberrans are a bloody good team. We'll have to be on our game to beat them," Turner said.
Having played for Australia at the World Cup, Turner was overlooked for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. But the Kookaburras striker said he had enjoyed the opportunity to lead his home-town team.
"To see how much they're enjoying it drives me along as well. If I never played for Australia again I'd still be doing this every weekend."
Central 5 (Matt Hotchkis, Jason Donohoe, Chris Jorgensen 2, Richie Howson) bt Goulburn 4 (Glenn Turner, Tod Devlin, Dean Roberson, Jake Staines).
Old Canberrans 4 (Seyi Onitiri, Nil Escude 2, Santi Donoso de Paz) bt United 0.