Thursday, 9 February 2012

Round One of Hudson Cup set to test the North.

The Conkie Boys will be on show for Ulverstone
at this year's Steve Hudson Cup.
2012 is upon us, and for most people, it seems to have crept up a little too soon.  For some of the Northern teams, this will be their first real 90 minute hit out, while Southerners Glenorchy Knights and South Hobart have nearly played 10 games each since the end of the 2011 season.  Who is best prepared? Sunday will provide the answers.

Proceedings kick off on Friday night this year with Launceston and Prospect Knights going head to head.  Form and past meetings mean nothing in the Hudson Cup, and little can be taken from teams performances in the early stages, though with one massive group of 9 teams and the oddity of Launceston’s rostering for this season’s competition, it will be all but impossible to reach the final for those who drop points along the way during the next four weeks as only 4 teams will observe a bye, and all of those teams are rewarded with 3 points with no goal difference attributed to the result.  This means before a ball has been kicked, Launceston City, Prospect Knights, South Hobart and Launceston United all begin the tournament on 3 points.
Common sense might suggest that on one weekend multiple teams are given the bye to ensure all teams play the same amount of games and have a similar chance of success, however this logic was not observed.   Perhaps the gate takings take precedence?
Onto the important stuff however, Launceston look to be marginally stronger than 2011, retaining much of their list, and adding some names to it, along with everyone being a little older and more experienced, Mark Egan will be hoping 2012 brings more in terms of results.  Friday night should be first taste of this with Prospect Knights experiencing some trouble attracting their 2011 Premiership players back to the club for preseason at this point, so they should be well below their standards of 2011.  Dane Hudson has also stepped down from his position and this is reported to be his last match in charge of the club.
Riverside will need to be at their best to beat Glenorchy Knights
Sunday’s 11am fixture sees Riverside come up against Glenorchy Knights, who  knocked off South Hobart not so long ago in a friendly.  Riverside has had a good hit out against Beachside which they won but will struggle against Knights without the Hughes boys and Joey Simmons in goal.

Chris Hay seems to have the Southern team ticking along nicely and should be too strong for Riverside.
Newtown Vs Ulverstone at 1pm should be a fine match, its Newtown’s first hit for the year and the State Wide Championship runners up will be eager to hit the ground running.  Steve Pitchford has a stronger side at his disposal this year, but the Eagles have been keeping a low profile and it’s hard to know what to expect.
Ulverstone on the other hand will be a team to watch in 2012, and they traditionally put on a good show in the Hudson Cup matches.  The much discussed return of the Conkies and Brayden Mann will fill Nick Owen with great confidence, particularly with the likes of Prospect Knights and Northern Rangers experiencing large outs from last year.  Neither team have the luxury of the bye, so a win is a must in round one.
Northern Rangers will be tested against South Hobart, but both have got very different looking teams in 2012. Rangers have said farewell to Sam Luck, Marshall Pooley, Andrew Nicholson, Derek Schipper and Scott Murray, while South are lamenting the exits of Daniel Brown, Tom Roach, Jon Lo, Luke Huigsloot, Brayden Mann, Jim Pennicott , Pat and Jon Foley Donoghue and Nick Cuthbertson. 
For both it will be about getting the clubs youth out and into a big match first up, but South should be too well prepared for this clash and should start their defence off on a strong result.


  1. are the hughes boys and joey still playing for river or have they left? sounds like a few teams have lost some quality players a shame for the npl, the exception being ulverstone who have gained some.

  2. My understanding of the hughes boys is surgery, hope they will be back as they are good for the game and quality players.
    Joey playing footy with Lucky at Old Launcestonians. We should lay a good old football riot on them to stop them paying our players to kick easter eggs!

  3. what's going on in the npl? will be a very weak comp.

    Rangers River knights all really weakened. christian boys and knights losing 2 of the few decent coaches too


  4. What is happening with the NPL? It is disappointing to see so many players with talent leaving not only our league but also the game. Is there something that clubs are not doing right? After having conversations with players of the late 90’s early 00’s, it seems that our league has been in a gradual decline of quality players and overall skill level. What can we do to arrest this situation? How can clubs keep their talent and how can our league improve our quality? I believe that these are important questions that need to be address before state league or else the South will dominate the competition and NPL teams will languish at the bottom of the ladder and eventually the state league concept will collapse. I am keen to see the game move forward and in particular the NPL go from strength to strength. I am interested to hear people’s thoughts or suggestions on how we can keep quality players and improve the standard of the NPL.

  5. With all the outs of other clubs, the reds must be firming as favourites for the comp, especially with their pick up and failed southerners.

  6. When you have local AFL teams offering players $100+ per game then soccer teams can't retain their players. When you have to outlay $250 for subs and pay $6 every week for gate entry why wouldn't you accept an offer from an afl team.

    At my club no players are played. There are no secret deals with people outside the club payi ng money to players and the club certainly doesn't pay or want to pay players unless they can afford to pay everyone. Money talks.