|Thors Nimely has 2 goals already in the Hudson Cup.|
Launceston’s strong pre season form is set to be put to the test this week as they come up against reigning Hudson Cup champs South Hobart. In fact South Hobart has owned this competition since 2008 when they first won it.
Launceston’s coach Mark Egan would be quietly impressed with the seller dwellers form going into this match, two wins in the Mies Family Cup and a big win over Prospect Knights last week, has the supporters of the Birch Avenue club hoping for more success in 2012. Earlier in the pre season, Launceston lost 3-1 to South Hobart in a friendly match hosted by South Hobart, interestingly Launceston scored first in that match but South were victorious in the end. Mark Egan felt his side played better in the loss to South than they did in the win over Prospect last Friday night.
South will be screaming hot favourites however, even in light of the early kick off, Derwent United have withdrawn from the Southern Summer Cup, so Ken Morton will be looking to take a fully fresh, full strength team up north and put a show on for the locals.
|Mizael will be hard for Launceston to contain.|
Morton should bring his Frenchmen and vice captain in Loic Feral for this match, and expect Brazilian Mizael to be in top shape after a week to recover from the jet lag that knocked him out early in the game last week. Northern signing Robert Eaves will hope to take a greater role in this game and make amends to the South Hobart faithful after he cost his new club a win in last week’s Southern Summer Cup against New Town Eagles where he netted a header for the Eagles and missed his spot kick in the resulting penalty shoot out.
For Launceston they will be keen to get Dezephery Bart back into the line up and a few of their other key players to ensure a good show is put up against the Southerners. Re signed keeper Shannon Rumble will be a while away from a comeback, with cricket commitments with Trevallyn Cricket Club.
This match will kick off on ground 1 at 11am.
At 1pm Northern Rangers will play their second southern opposition in two weeks when they come up against New Town Eagles. Eagles face off with Glenorchy Knights in the Southern Cup on Saturday and will have 20 hours to recover for their next match.
Nathan Pitchford is not available for the match, which will be a relief for the Rangers front men, who know full well of Pitchford’s talent through him training with the club while he is in the North.
It appears that the Southern sides are focused on the Southern Cup first and foremost, so Rangers may benefit from a sore Eagles pack following their Southern responsibilities.
Rangers will be without Mark Ambrose this week who is un available. The only other change to the Rangers line up will be young keeper Alex Bligh in for Brendan Lichtendonk.
Riverside and Ulverstone will fight it out on the smaller number two ground, both teams look to be well prepared this year, with Riverside managing without the Hughes brothers so far. Olympic have had a promising start to date with a 3-1 win over Beachside in a friendly and a 1 all draw against Glenorchy Knights last week.
Mark Littlechild will resurrect his senior career as their first choice keeper, a job he has always been handy at.
Ulverstone are yet to settle on who will keep for them this year, but they continue to strengthen their outfield line up with Jason Singleton signing back on with the club during the week, and this week they will debut Michael Wolfert who has returned to the game after a year off. This means this week’s squad is getting closer to what Ulverstone should look like during the season, and will be a good test for Riverside.
|Launceston City's Mitch Dent|
The final match will welcome Launceston City in for their first game of the tournament and they will go head to head with Glenorchy Knights.
City have lost Steve Throupe from last year’s squad, but apart from that appear to be for the most part on par with last year’s squad, perhaps even a touch stronger, and a top four will be well in their sights for the Premier League season.
It’s hard to know what Glenorchy will bring north for this fixture, but the Knights are a proud club and will be looking to secure all 3 points.
This Week Hudson Cup Schedule:
Friday, 17th February
Ground 1 - 6.00 pm - Launceston United (U18) vs. Northern Rangers (U18)
Sunday, 19th February
Ground 1 11.00 am South Hobart vs. Launceston United
Ground 1 1.00 pm Northern Rangers vs. New Town Eagles
Ground 1 3.00 pm Launceston City vs. Glenorchy Knights
Ground 2 10.30 am South Hobart (U18) vs. Launceston City (U18)
Ground 2 12.30 pm Northern Rangers (Women) vs. Launceston United (Women)
Ground 2 2.30 pm Riverside Olympic vs. Ulverstone
Byes – Prospect Knights (Seniors), Glenorchy Knights (U18)