The under-16 Wanganui roller hockey team has won back-to-back national titles going through the New Plymouth tournament unbeaten over Labour Weekend.
Last season the team dealt a killer blow to its nemesis Wellington to finally take out the title for the first time in sevens years. This season, the Wanganui side demolished a strong Papatoetoe team 8-3 after making a slow start to the New Zealand Roller Hockey Championships.
Under-16 coach Carlin Barry said it was a total team effort that grew in confidence as the tournament progressed and ended in success.
"We had most of the players from last year's team, I think there were only two new players," Barry said.
"There was no Wellington teams this year, although the Motueka side had a few players from the capital and the Auckland team from Papatoetoe was very strong. Early on we should have been winning by far bigger margins than we were.
"I told them they needed to start attacking the goals and they improved dramatically. In fact, the Papatoetoe goalie was especially good. In the final the game was extremely close with only a goal separating us, but they took my advice about attacking the goal and we extended out to an 8-3 win."
Barry was reluctant to single out any individual for praise preferring to describe the win as a total team effort.
However, three of the under-16s, brothers Mitchell and Cody Lockett and Eli Zinsli also lined up in the division 2 Wanganui team alongside elder statesmen Blair Lockett and Robbie Organ, goalie Kyle Downey and last years under-16 player Jimi Blinkhorne. The team finished runner-up to a Manawatu division 2 combination.
The Wanganui premier roller hockey side finished third in their grade at the nationals.
"The division 2 side effort was pretty good. They weren't expected to feature really but rose to the occasion," Barry said.