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Northstars fine-tune icy skills in pre-season triumphs


The Newcastle Northstars will head into 2023 with form on the board after a highly-successful weekend on the ice.

The Kevin Noble-coached outfit faced the Central Coast Rhinos in a pre-season double-header.

Following a 6-4 victory on Saturday night, the local squad backed up to prevail 10-3 on Sunday afternoon, thanks to hat-tricks to Daniel Berno and skipper Liam Manwarring.

Newcastle Northstars captain Liam Manwarring.

The Rhinos opened the scoring early in the first period, via David Jeremy.

But, Newcastle captain Manwarring tied it up at 1-all heading into the break.

The Northstars then powered their way through the second stanza, with John Kennedy, Mackenzie Gallagher and Berno adding their names to the list.

Manwarring also grabbed a double.

Central Coast’s Joakim Erdugan responded, however his team trailed 6-2.

In the third period, Newcastle went on with the job, with Berno securing another two goals, along with Patrick Ward and Tim Stanger.

Cameron Hughes was the lone Rhinos’ scorer.

“It is obviously good to win,” Noble said.

“I said to the guys, I thought both sides worked hard.

“As a team, we showed a lot of good things in tonight’s game.

“It was a great chance to see some of our younger guys and where they are at in their development.

“In fact, it was just a really excellent opportunity to get to look at everyone.

“You know, now we have the pre-season games behind us and we look ahead to Melbourne in two weeks… and, it’s gonna be a big, big task going down there.”

Noble said there were a lot of things the Northstars “did well”.

“I liked our game [tonight] more than yesterday,” he explained.

“Their urgency was excellent; and we really looked like we were competing.

“There were a lot of details that weren’t there yesterday that we’re getting to see, that we’re going to need in the regular season.

“These games were a good opportunity to get some of the bad habits that players pick up over summer out of the match and start to focus back on our way of playing being detailed, strong systematically, getting our energy and pace back up a bit.

“It’s great to get some of the ugly habits out of our systems this weekend and set the tone for how we need to play for the remainder of the year.

“Manwarring and Berno are big parts of our team; and we are going to need them all season.

“We need them to be leaders and to help carry this group, and each of them getting a hat-trick is a great reward for them.

“I thought they were excellent last year and to pick back where they left off is really terrific to see.

“We were playing, and we were playing the right way, and that’s the most important thing.”

Berno admitted it always felt good to score.

“Netting a hat-trick feels great, especially when the boys played well and played hard all game,” he said.

“All that really matters is that you get the win – and it helps get us off to a good start for the season.

“Getting our systems back intact and playing well with each other was great this weekend.

“But, there is always room to improve.

“We have a long season to get better and better with each practice and game.”

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