Tasmania’s Victory League is back for 2014, with Football Federation Tasmania hoping this season will build on the foundations laid by the entertaining and exciting inaugural season of 2013.
As one of 8 National Premier League competitions around Australia, the Victory League is a statewide competition that is made up of Tasmania’s top 8 clubs: South Hobart, Glenorchy Knights, Tilford Zebras, Devonport, Launceston City, Northern Rangers, Olympia, and Kingborough Lions.
Round 1 of the Victory League kicks off on Friday night when reigning champions South Hobart travel to Glenorchy to take on the Knights.
South Hobart head into the clash coming off a less than desirable pre-season, with the side unable to travel to Melbourne for practice matches.
However the Summer Cup in Tasmania has provided head coach Ken Morton and his side adequate time to prepare for the season ahead.
“We’ve had to use our Summer Cup down here as a bit of a time to get to know the new players, and work out a way of playing again. We were a little off the pace, but the last couple of weeks we have stepped it all up a gear”.
Morton is looking forward to Friday night’s fixture with Glenorchy and recognises that the Knights pre-season has been much the same as South Hobart’s.
“They’ve had a difficult time also, they’ve brought a lot of new players in and have had as much difficulty as we’ve had in settling things down and getting a regular side out there”.
“I would expect them to bounce back and come out fighting on Friday night, they seem to want to turn up and play against us, and we would expect a difficult game”.
After winning the inaugural Victory League last year, Morton believes Northern Rangers are the biggest threat to his side going back-to-back in 2014.
“Rangers will be one of the contenders this year they’ve got an established squad. They’ve got a good base and they have been together a few years now”.
While closer to the state’s capital Olympia will provide stiff opposition for South Hobart.
“The signing of Jake Vandermey was a solid signing, along with (Alexander) Holmes at centre back makes them formidable.”
While there have been a number of strong signings across all the clubs, Morton is hesitant to single out players he believes will excel for South Hobart this season.
“I’d like to think we’ve become a better team rather than focusing on individuals”
“Though we do have some super individuals in proven goal scorers Andy Brennan and Brayden Mann, and our captain Hugh Ludford and vice-captain Liam Scott. They are only a few in a talented bunch of players”
“I would like to think we don’t have any standout players, but rather a standout team where we all combine and play well together”
Even though South Hobart’s Victory League season begins Friday, over the past months they have progressed through Tasmania’s Lakoseljac Cup. The cup this year provides even more importance as the winner will progress through to the final 32 of the newly established FFA Cup.
The importance of Cup success is not lost on Morton.
“Of course, without a doubt, there is no question about it. But it has always been a Cup we’ve wanted to win and we’ve been lucky enough to win it a couple of times”.
Morton is full of praise for the broader FFA Cup and says it can only be a positive for football not only in Tasmania but for the rest of the country as well.
“It’s what’s needed and I believe the FFA Cup will become very traditional and teams will want to participate in it and be hungry to be successful”
“I hope it does take off, it’s a wonderful way to get these lesser states and teams involved with the major players of Australian football. I think it will be super.”