A necessary evil for Black Sticks midfielder James Coughlan, who's joined a small number of the Olympic team in turning out in the National Hockey League.

Coughlan, Stephen Jenness and Hayden Phillips, as well as Liz Thompson and Sally Rutherford are back playing for their provinces just a few weeks after suffering agonising defeats in Rio.

Coughlan says it's been good to get back on the turf for North Harbour, but concedes he's only just relived their quarter-final defeat to Germany.

He says it took him two weeks to watch it, and it wasn't great viewing.

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Coughlan's Harbour take on Canterbury today in a top of the table match in Whangarei.