First-time Kelt Capital Hockey Academy Girls coach Marcus Emery hopes to get another shot at his Queensland opponents after his outfit lost a scrappy encounter 1-0 against the Aussies in Napier last night.
In was the first of two games in the 5th Annual Queensland Challenge held at the Kelt Capital Hockey Stadium, Park Island.
In the second match, the Kelt Capital Academy Boys team were overwhelmed by their Queensland School Sport Boys team 13-1.
It was a big smackdown from the Queenslanders who last year lost to the academy boys team 2-1 and drew with the academy girls team 1-1.
The academy girls came close to scoring on half a dozen occasions against the Queensland School Sport Girls team but couldn't breach the Aussies' defence.
Emery said he didn't know what to expect from the Queensland team but was right in assuming they'd be "well drilled, nuggetty and wouldn't give up".
He thought his team's goalie Brearna Wiig defended well against Queensland, Romy Goodfellow played well at the back with Jane Bunworth.
"We've got a lot of talent up front, we've got four under 21 central district strikers, Amy Barry, Tinesha Carey, Michaela Curtis and Vanessa Martelli. But they didn't fire ... they need to start linking together and if we did that we would be a team to reckon with," he said.
Emery said there were seven players in his team from "out of town" which made it difficult for him to bring the entire outfit together for the half a dozen training sessions before the big Queensland game.
"Our players were pretty excited, some of them have had higher honours but it is a different level playing against an Australian team.
"They've just got that mongrel in them and that's something I hope our players can adopt," he said.
He hopes to coach the girls team again next year but also wants to have more time for preparation and perhaps a few more games for the Academy Girls team to follow on from the Queensland challenge.
"I suppose it all comes down to budget and the ability to get all of the players together, I thoroughly enjoyed coaching the team, I am sure the player would be keen for more games."
Queensland girls team coach Peter Hammett was happy with the win. It was his third time coaching the girls at the Queensland Challenge in Hawke's Bay. He was keen to improve on last year's draw.
"I still think though the team this year was a little bit stronger. I think the ball just fell our way a little.
"These games are extremely tough every time and this year the academy's defence was outstanding. And their attack had us scrambling in numbers to shut them down, we were really on a knife's edge," he said.
Hammett said he would welcome the idea of the academy teams playing the challenge games in Queensland.
"I think Queensland Hockey is looking to secure better ties with hockey in New Zealand, so I think it would be a possibility," he said.
The Queensland team now heads to Taupo to play two games against Midlands.
Results: Queensland School Sport Girls 1, Kelt Capital Hockey Academy Girls, 0.
Queensland School Sport Boys 13, Kelt Capital Hockey Academy Boys 1.