Canberra Chill into Hockey One semi-final against HC Melbourne

Prior to last Saturday, the Canberra Chill women's Hockey One season was all but over.

Thrilled: The Canberra Chill are into the inaugural Hockey One semi-finals, and Jess Smith believes they have what it takes to upset the tournament favourites. Photo: Jamila Toderas.

Thrilled: The Canberra Chill are into the inaugural Hockey One semi-finals, and Jess Smith believes they have what it takes to upset the tournament favourites. Photo: Jamila Toderas.

They had impressed in the early stages of the tournament, but losses to the Perth Thundersticks, HC Melbourne, and Adelaide Fire had relegated them to fifth position.

The only hope which remained for the women was that the Tassie Tigers, who were without a win from five games, could upset the fourth-ranked Thundersticks.

And on Saturday, November 2, that's exactly what they did.

"When we played Tassie, they played really well, so we knew that if they played well they could definitely win," Chill player and Crookwell local Jess Smith said.

"There were a few nerves, but there's nothing we could've done. Relying on someone else's results isn't the best way to make semis. We were all sending our well wishes to Tassie [laughs]."

Tasmania's 5-3 shock win over Perth saw Canberra leapfrog the Thundersticks on the ladder, into fourth position and a semi-final against HC Melbourne this Sunday.

While the result was ideal for the Chill, they now have to prepare for the hardest possible beginning to their finals campaign.

Up against the competition leaders, who have lost only one of their six matches to date, Smith said the match is "our toughest game by far".

"When we played them, we played our best hockey [and lost 2-0]," she said, "but they've got quite a lot of Hockeyroos coming back into their squad.

"So do we, we've got three. It's going to be a different game to when we last played them."

The Chill will welcome Edwina Bone, Brooke Perris, and Kalindi Commerford back into their ranks from national duties, which Smith believes will boost Canberra.

"It's going to be a big change for our squad, especially [having] Eddie [Edwina Bone]," she said.

"She's a leader on the field as well, I'm not sure who's been named captain but I'd say she will be. Her experience and knowledge helps all us young ones."

This weekend's semi-final will be played in Melbourne, which means Canberra players will need to be prepared for a hostile opposition crowd. But the thought does not perturb Smith.

"Personally it fires me up even more because you want to prove the crowd wrong," she said.

The match between the Canberra Chill and HC Melbourne will take place on Sunday, November 10, from 2.30pm at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne.

The winner of this semi-final will play the winner of the match between the Adelaide Fire and Brisbane Blaze in the grand final.

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