Kasey Cocking reckons there are no secrets at this time of the year but Central's player-coach couldn't help but have a "bit of a glance" at the other end of the field.
Incredibly, Central and Oxfords train on the same pitch at the same time each Wednesday.
On Saturday, the friendly rivals will fight for the right to take on Gosford in the Newcastle Women's Premier Hockey League grand final.
"It's definitely a friendly match-up," Cocking said. "Earlier in the season, we played a couple games against each other at training. On Wednesday, we practiced quite a few penalty corners. We were having a bit of a glance over that way every now and then. By now we know each other's game pretty well."
On match day, defending premiers Oxfords have a slight advantage. After a 1-all draw in the first encounter, the Red and Whites came from behind to win 2-1.
"We have had the upper hand, but in saying that, they have had some tough games of late and we had a fairly easy run into the finals," Oxfords coach Thea O'Sullivan said. "They have been tested all the way and have been performing."
Central beat Gosford in the final round before edging out Souths 2-0 in a shout-out after the scores were locked at 1-all at full-time.
"We are a young side with a lot of girls who are 14, 15, 16," Cocking said. "We certainly gained a bit of confidence from a few good wins against teams who, maybe, we were perceived to not win against. "
Minor premiers Oxfords went down to Gosford 2-1 in the major semi-final.
"The last couple of years, we have lost the major semi and still got through," O'Sullivan said. "I know the girls are capable of it."
Both coaches are certain of one thing - the match will be tight.
"First game it was a 1-all draw and we were really unlucky there," Cocking said. "We were on top for the majority of the game but unfortunately couldn't convert past their keeper Jess Parr. We were still super stroked with a draw at the time.
"The next game, we thought we could beat them. We were leading 1-0, and fatigue got us in the last quarter and a few defensive errors cost us.
"They aren't a team you can give opportunities too. The moment you do, they have the strike power up front to convert. [Former Hockeyroo] Kim Tuckwell might be a little older but she still carves it up. Her touch on the ball and her shots on goal. If you let the ball get near her, she has that knack of scoring goals. They also have a couple of other young ones with speed."
O'Sullivan was equally wary of Central's attack.
"They are very strong through the middle," O'Sullivan said. "Kasey Cocking and her sister Ashley Tsakissiris. Ash makes it look so easy and can get a cracker of shot away in the circle. We have to look to contain them."
Central needed a shoot-out to get past Souths in the minor semi-final, and with Oxfords having NSW goalie Jess Parr on guard, they practiced one-on-one situations at training Wednesday.
"Our goalkeeper usually can't train, but I talked her into coming this week so we could practice the one-on-one situations," Cocking said. "Jess Parr is very good at most aspects. You won't a straight shot past her. The only way is to get a touch that wrong-foot her. Then in the one-on-one situations, she is awesome at reading play, coming out quick and getting on top of you."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- Rescue helicopter boss Richard Jones flies past 25-year milestone with the service
- Supercars wants Newcastle as 2022 season-opener, Chevrolet Camaros' championship debut
- Ammunition, milling machine seized from Belmont South by Strike Force Roche police as part of bushfire fraud investigations
- US Election 2020: Trump falsely claims election has been stolen from him, as race narrows in battleground states