'Flat' Cooloola Heat misfire in first loss of the season
HOCKEY: A LETHARGIC Cooloola Heat side lost their unblemished record for the 2019 season and top spot on the ladder with a "flat” 2-0 loss to Caloundra on Sunday afternoon.
Player-coach Dominic Stephens said his side lacked the energy and polish on the field "from the get go”, but acknowledged their opponents' strong performance.
"Credit to Caloundra, they were definitely the better team on the day, we didn't deserve to win that game,” Stephens said.
"We just weren't on, we were flat from the warm-up.
"Sometimes teams will just rock up to play a game without much energy, but we needed to improve on that as a group.
"I spoke to them during the game because we have more breaks now with the four quarters, and we addressed it again as a group after full time.”
Stephens said missing strikers Nathan Stephens and Thomas Fee had left a big hole in the squad, which went into the half-time break locked with Caloundra at 0-0 before their opponents broke through in the third.
He said the Heat was left to lament a margin which didn't reflect the balance of play but deservedly cost them the three points.
"We were just trying to score late in the game. I think they scored their second goal with 30 seconds left,” he said.
"We were playing quite aggressively trying to get that equaliser but we ended up conceding.
"We were down those two (Stephens and Fee) but the main thing was we were flat from the get go.
"I expect them to respond well at training and take it upon themselves to improve.
"It's a bit of an awkward point of the season, we had a bye, then a game, then an Easter break, then a game, so it probably didn't help with our energy on the weekend.”
The Heat will have time to recover from the performance with a week off, before tackling Maroochydore at their home ground on Sunday week.