Following a competition restructure, Victorian Hockey’s top flight has become the Premier League in 2013. And on the eve of the new season, Footscray Hockey Club played host to the Just Hockey Pre-Season Cup over the weekend of 23rd and 24th March. The Pre-Season Cup, now in its 5th year, ­has both Men’s and Women’s teams battling out for the top prize in both divisions after a rigorous two-day round robin competition.

This year the invite only event consisted of seven Premier League Men’s and seven Premier League Women’s teams. The event, initiated and hosted by Footscray Hockey Club, has grown in popularity with the round-robin format over two days favoured by many of the clubs. The tournament allows competing teams to play at least five to six practice matches against fellow Premier League clubs, whilst also having a chance to win the Cup and the prize money on offer.

The format also allows each club to field expanded playing squads over the weekend, a good test for competing coaches to see where their squads are at before the season starts.

With Footscray Hockey Club also competing in both the Men’s and Women’s Premier League competition this year, the hit out was an opportunity for both to get some game time and experience into young squads.

The Footscray Women’s team played 20 different players over the weekend, aiming to expose as many of their youngsters, many of them still juniors, to the highest level possible. The girls put in a great effort finished 4th on the ladder after some mixed results, which included 2 wins, 2 draws and a loss.  (Draw vs Haw 1-1, Loss vs Camberwell 3 – 0, Loss vs Essendon 2-0, Win vs MCC 3 – 0, Win vs PHSK 3 – 0, Draw vs TEM 1-1)

In a Women’s final though, it was Essendon who came out on top over Camberwell with a 2-0 win, champions for the third year in a row.

The Men’s draw also saw Footscray finish 4th after the round robin tournament, with Coach Travis Brooks also fielding a young and expanded squad. Mixed results greeted the Men as well, with 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses for the weekend. (0-1 loss vs Camberwell, 2-2 draw vs Hawthorn, 1-2 loss vs Greensborough, 2-0 win vs Essendon, 0-0 draw vs MCC, 3-1 win vs Southern)

The final had Greensborough’s men taking out back to back Cup’s after victory over Hawthorn.

Thank you to Just Hockey (major sponsor), Nudie juices, Hockey Victoria, HV Men’s Umpire Appointment Committee and all the umpires across the weekend.

Thank you to Tournament Director Nicole Virtuoso, time keeper & announcer @ FHC Giulia Virtuoso, Julie Stephens Hockey HQ, TD’s at Maribyrnong Secondary College Lisa Wroblewski, David Braiden, Lynda Thomas, Barry Allen & Natalie Howell, set up/pack up Colin Braithwaite, Linda Chambers, Marg Aked, Premier League girls for running a BBQ & bake sale, all the volunteers across the weekend who did a stint of canteen or esky duty!