After a long preseason, the La Trobe University Hockey Club is about to embark on its 2016 campaign. Like most years, and most clubs, we’ve had some retirements and departures over the off-season but this has been offset by some big additions across the board.
The Men’s VicLeague will be without David Usher who has decided to stay at the club but will be taking a step back to play in the Reserves team to help develop younger players and give himself some more personal time. Nick Hudson has left to continue his MBA studies in the US – we wish him all the best with his travel and studies!
One of the new recruits to watch is Tim Grgec who joins us from the New Zealand Premier League. Tim will add another level of depth to the squad with his extensive experience and high quality skill level. Nick Rees is continuing as the 1s Captain, whose skills and hockey knowledge allow him to create something every time he’s near the ball. Club stalwart Ash Morphet never seems to age, and someone who will continue to show us why he is arguably the most versatile player in the team by leading from the front and adapting to a number of different roles. In his second year at the club, reigning Best and Fairest winner Fergus Poynter will be our X-factor with the pace and skill to open a game wide up and most importantly will continue to grow in confidence, especially after such a great season in 2015.
The Women’s VicLeauge squad has experienced a few departures over the off-season mainly due to family, study and work commitments. Among them is Meryl McGlone who retires after many years at the club, including seven Best & Fairests.
New blood in the team for 2016 includes Mitch Dickin signing on as an Assistant Coach. His experiences with state teams, representative teams and more recently coaching Footscray Pennant A proves that he will be a great addition to the squad and will work very hard with the younger players.
The girls have two new captains in Katie Moloney and Jess Boyd. Katie has been at the club for several years now after representing and managing the Uni Games team. She is a strong leader and a well-respected member of the club whilst Jess is well known around hockey circles as one of the most dangerous strikers in the competition.
Newly appointed Co Captain Jess Boyd is adamant that her side will continue to improve throughout the season and especially with a new assistant coach that has so much experience, the results are inevitable.
“For us it’s about improving and getting better,” said Jess, “this group has a real opportunity and the girls are all excited. Naturally, we’re here because we love hockey and we’re all great friends. We’re here to get better and we’re here to do well.”
Two star players the girls have recruited over the off season are Annie Charlton and Hannah Willmott. Annie who moved to Melbourne for study, is extremely strong on the ball, fast and improving with every training session. It is also her first season playing in a metropolitan league. Hannah is a very strong and aggressive defender, some have called her the Glenn Archer of Women’s Hockey (her boyfriend). Hannah is the cousin of Liz Baglin and sister of Molly Willmott who represented Victoria last year.
The Men’s VicLeague host Mentone this weekend whilst the women host Powerhouse St Kilda in the afternoon. The Metro and Pennant teams start their seasons on the 16th of April which coincides with our first club function of the year, First Round Pub Crawl.
Get down to the club and support everyone starting this week. Go Gunners!