THE three Malaysian teams which made their debut in the Australian Hockey League (AHL) fared miserably against club as well as junior sides in Perth.
Malaysian Tigers, the national team minus three players, finished sixth among 12 teams while the Malaysian Blues (back-up squad) only won one match to finish second from the bottom.
The Malaysian women's national team, Tigress, were at the brink of semi-finals and then almost became the Losers Pool champions but broke down on both occasions to end seventh among 10 teams.
Missing from the Tigers were inspector trainees Razie Rahim and Nabil Fiqri and injured Marhan Jalil -- and there was almost a total collapse.
Marhan's ankle injury, picked up during the Malaysia Hockey League, is so bad that we will be out of action for at least six months.
And hopefully Razie and Nabil are released from their training base in Pulapol for the Kuantan Asian Champions Trophy on Oct 20-30.
For, players in the back-up squad would find it difficult to fill their shoes in Kuantan when playing against India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea and China.
As for the women, coach K. Dharmaraj said: "For my players, this was a golden opportunity in our preparations for the World League. We had two chances to first qualify for the semi-finals, and then finish at the top of the Losers Pool but over enthusiasm and failing to capture the moment when opportunity presents, was the fumbling block."
Dharmaraj will next lead his women into Singapore for the Women's Asian Champions Trophy on Oct 29-Nov 5 where China, India, Japan and South Korea await them.
HOW THEY FARED -- Tigers: Drew 1-1 with New Zealand Futures, lost 5-2 to Queensland Blades, beat NT Stingers 3-1, lost 5-2 to NSW Waratahs, lost 4-1 to Victorian Vikings, beat Canberra Lakers 3-0 and lost 4-2 to Queensland Blades.
BLUES -- lost 4-2 to India Juniors, lost 2-0 to WA Thundersticks, lost 4-0 to SA Hotshots, lost 3-1 to Canberra Lakers, drew 1-1 with Tassie Tigers, lost 5-1 to NT Stingers, beat New Zealand Futures 3-0.
TIGRESS -- lost 3-1 to New Zealand Futures, beat NT Pearls 7-1, drew 3-3 with NSW Arrows, beat SA Suns 4-2, lost 6-2 to Victorian Vipers, drew 1-1 with New Zealand Futures and lost 3-1 to WA Diamonds.