Wimmera Hockey Association | Round One Preview
||Wednesday, April 18 2018
| ||Wimmera Hockey Association
| ||Rachel Clark|
|With the recent Commonwealth Games success by both of the Australian senior hockey teams as motivation, local players will take to the field for the first time this season on Saturday at Nhill’s Davis Park when the 2018 Wimmera Hockey Association season hits off.
The early rounds of a new season are usually a bit of a mystery, as off-season player movements and recruiting is usually not revealed to opponents until the teams run onto the field for the first time.
The feature game of round one will see a rematch of the 2017 Open division grand final when the Yanac Tigers meet the Kaniva Cobras at 3.30 pm. The Tigers had the better of their last encounter, but the Cobras now have a taste of grand final hockey, having made the ultimate game last season for the first time, and will have the hunger to go one better this year. A win over the reigning premiers would be a confident start.
The other two finalists from last year, the Warrack Hoops and Dimboola Burras, meet in an earlier game and both will be looking to start with a positive result to mount a challenge to the 2017 leaders.
The opening game in this division will hold as much interest as the grand final rematch, with the Horsham Hurricanes meeting the Nhill Rangers. These two teams have struggled in recent years but at least one of them will start with some points and an opportunity to gain early momentum.
Finishing positions from last season will mean in the Women’s division.
The first game will see last year’s vanquished grand finalist, Yanac, take on the Kaniva team that qualified for the finals in 2017 for the first time in ten years and will be looking to continue that improvement into 2018.
The Horsham Jets should go into their game with the Nhill Thunderbirds as favourites, given they narrowly missed the grand final last year and their opponents finished outside the top four, but with the addition of a couple of experienced recruits the Nhill team will be more of a challenging opponent this year.
Above - The 2017 Premiers in the Women’s division, the Dimboola Roos, will commence their premiership defence on Saturday afternoon against the Warrack Women at Nhill.
Even the matchup between last year’s premiers and wooden spooners may not be as straight forward as expected.
The Dimboola Roos will be below their 2017 form as they will be missing a number of players from their grand final team, whilst the Warrack Women will run out under the guidance of their new coach for the first time and with another year of experience in their younger players will also challenge the leading teams.
The Under 16 competition is always difficult to predict early in the season with most teams losing a number of players who must move up to senior competitions due to age, and the balance of the new-look teams an unknown until they have played a few games
The reigning premiers, Warrack Revengers, always have a good game against the Dimboola Kangaroos, as do the Yanac Warriors and Kaniva Raiders.
The Horsham Bombers were on the verge of mounting a serious challenge to the top teams last season and will be looking to assess where they are against the Nhill Leopards.
The Under 12 Development Program, which is moving into its third season, is now showing results with all clubs benefitting from players progressing from this level into the Under 16 competition, which in turn is providing the opportunity for the older Under 16 players to gain experience in their senior teams.
Round One Fixture - Davis Park, Nhill
9.30 am - Under 16 - Yanac Warriors v. Kaniva Raiders
11.00 am - Women - Yanac Women v. Kaniva Women
12.30 pm - Open - Horsham Hurricanes v. Nhill Rangers
2.00 pm - Open - Warrack Hoops v. Dimboola Burras
3.30 pm - Open - Yanac Tigers v. Kaniva Cobras
9.30 am - Under 16 - Horsham Bombers v. Nhill Leopards
11.00 am - Under 16 - Warrack Revengers v. Dimboola Kangaroos
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Warrack Avengers v. Dimboola Kookaburras
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Horsham Black Hawks v. Nhill Bandits
12.30 pm - Under 12 - Yanac Lowan Stars v. Kaniva Rampagers
2.00 pm - Women - Horsham Jets v. Nhill Thunderbirds
3.30 pm - Women - Warrack Women v. Dimboola Roos
Share this article on Social Media