|Brayden Mann has already started scoring goals|
at will in 2013, and will be looking to extend that against
a top quality Zebras outfit.
Tilford Zebras will pit themselves against fellow Victory League title hopeful Devonport Strikers in what is undoubtedly the match of the round at 3pm pm Sunday at Birch Avenue.
After a disappointing loss to Taroona last week, Zebras will be looking to bounce back and let Devonport know what they are really capable of.
Zebras coach, Steve Pitchford is not taking the match lightly, and will be eyeing a showdown with South Hobart later in the tournament, and a win here will ensure it’s in the final.
Pitchford said “We are hoping to take in a full-strength squad for the match against Devonport. As we need to win to finish on top of our group.”
“We will be utilising the same attacking formation as we had for the first two matches in this competition. Devonport have shown themselves to be an efficient scoring machine and our defensive unit will need to pay particular attention to Port's Mann and Holden.”
“This match should be an excellent preview of what is to come in the Victory League in 2013.”
For Devonport Coach Chris McKenna, the match with Zebras will be as much about continuing development as it is about winning. After a couple of games against weaker opponents, the Strikers players will need to quickly adapt to a higher level of opposition, their ability to do this will be tested early, but Mckenna is confident given his sides preparation.
“We’ve obviously got our toughest opponent in the Hudson Cup this weekend & we’re looking forward to the game to get a more competitive outing. Tilford Zebras have a tremendously talented squad & have rightly been tipped as one of the favourites for the inaugural Victory League season. We’re not sure what the strength of their squad will be this weekend but, knowing the depth they have at their disposal, we know it’ll be a tough game. “
“We’ll have the same squad available as we used last weekend against Launceston United, however this weekend we’ll give all players not in Sunday’s starting eleven a game in the North West Summer Cup on Saturday to give them an extra opportunity to get miles into the legs, as opposed to limited minutes on & off the bench on Sunday.”
“We’ve had another intense week on the training track & hopefully we keep seeing improvement as we near round one of the season proper.” Chris McKenna said.
|City player Alex Sculli|
Launceston City will come up against Northern Rangers at 1pm, with City fielding their Victory League side and Rangers their Premier, the match should go the way of City, however Dane Hudson is not interested in what Rangers are doing, rather focusing on his clubs development.
Hudson said “I need to see the same level of effort this week against Rangers as I saw last week. I’m not concerned with Rangers as far as what they are trying to implement as a group as they move through the preseason, we have our own bridges to build and hopefully the opportunity will exist for that to happen.”
For Rangers coach Col Nicholson it will be a good test of his Premier League sides development, no wins on the board at present, but showing good signs in patches to date, Nicholson will be keen to see his side compete for 90 minutes and push for a result.
Premier League outfits Launceston United and Prospect Knights will finally get the opportunity to play on a more even playing field, as they wrestle to avoid a bottom of the table position.
Neither have been able to hold a candle to their State League opponents so far, so it’s anyone’s guess which way the game will go, Prospect seem to have the youth on their side, while Launceston are an uncharacteristic side of older players.
The final game is between South Hobart and Riverside Olympic, Riverside have shown some great form so far in the competition, Sam Hughes is a huge return for Riverside, chased by both Launceston Victory League clubs, Hughes chose club loyalty to remain with Riverside, and will be a huge boon for the club if he stays fit. Another young player to watch for is Mitch Jones who is quick and has a strong strike if given the opportunity.
Whilst matching it with the state’s most successful club in the modern era will be a massive task, it won’t be out of the consideration for the players who line up for Riverside.
South Coach Ken Morton would again look to bring a strong side for the game, focusing on his State League side development, but it will be without some key signings with Mark Ambrose, Josh Fielding and Chris Hunt not making the trip north at this stage.
Morton said this “South Hobart will bring a strong squad for our match against Riverside. Joseph Stevens will make his debut in this competition. We are expecting Mizael to be passed fit by the medical staff to play some part in the game.”
“We will have a good mix between youth and experience.”
The expected squad to travel for South will be: Matthew Ferguson, Nick Becker, Ned Clarke, Lucas Hill, Hugh Ludford, Cam Williams, Joseph Stevens, Shae Hickey, Hye Min Yun (Xavi), Nick Morton, Cam Rogers, Kostas Kanakaris, Harrison Thomas, Jackson Nugent, Max Clarke,
Week 3 - Sunday, March 3rd,
11.00am Group A Launceston United (NPL) v Prospect Knights (NPL)
1.00pm Group B Launceston City (VL) v Northern Rangers (NPL)
3.00pm Group A Tilford Zebras (VL) v Devonport City (VL)
2.00pm Group B South Hobart (VL) v Riverside Olympic (NPL)