In terms of our strategic planning, I mentioned in the last Banter that our finances were tracking ahead of budget across a range of key performance areas this year. Initiatives developed by last year’s Board (developing a 12 month cash-flow projection plan for 2014, the capturing of a 4th major event to be hosted at McIvor Reserve, and really importantly the collection of fees prior to Rd 1), combined with all of the hard work carried out this year by all at FHC, has given us another year of aggressive but stable financial management.

What of our on-field performances though? Under our 2012 -2016 Strategic Plan, 2014 was the year in which we would start to reduce our young squad’s reliance on overseas and other experienced support players, and over the summer our squads were substantially reshaped. As a result, we may well be the youngest squads in both mens and ladies PL this season. Out from the mens squad went 2012 B & F Tynan Whight and our three ‘internationals’, whilst out of the women’s squad went Vic player Sam Ellis and our one ‘international’. That’s a substantial hit on the teams experience levels, yet the teams will finish 2014 with similar points to 2013, and a new batch of young kids will have been introduced to both squads. The expected ‘hit’ on our squad’s performances have been managed brilliantly by our wonderful coaches and team leaders. In response the Board of Directors are looking at a range of very important new initiatives to support these programs, coaching staff and players going forward.

Presentations by our senior coaches to the Board this past week made us even more aware of the monumental challenge we’re taking on in trying to build a new Premier League standard club, given their observations of the impact of not having (as per long-term PL clubs), a core of experienced PL players on which your top elevens are built, and on which your junior coaching programs are based. We are a decade away from having that experience behind us, so our challenge is to always find other ways to achieve our objectives.

Anyway, our progress as a Club continues, and we are almost a season closer to when our developing squads will be really major players in the Victorian hockey landscape.

Keep up the great work everyone!