A PRE-SEASON lightning premiership for football clubs from across the region will be hosted by Sebastopol Football Club in the lead-up to the 2013 season.
The competition, to be held on Thursday and Friday nights, will be run from February 21 until the end of March, with a grand final on April 3.
Central Highlands clubs Ballan and Bungaree, and new Western Region Football League club Manor Lakes have already indicated an interest, with the Globe Hotel Kookaburras still hoping that between four and eight more clubs will nominate.
Each match will consist of two 20-minute halves with no time-on, and two games will be played on each night.
Each side is guaranteed a minimum of two matches.
Sebastopol football manager Ken Norman, who is organising the carnival, said match practice was one of the best forms of training ahead of a new season.
“I would presume that practice matches were an important part of every team’s and every coach’s pre-season, and this is an advancement on that,” Norman said.
“Being one of the few clubs with a football-only oval, it allows us to host other clubs that might have to wait until the cricket finishes.
“I don’t think we will make anything out of it financially.
“It is more about being a progressive club.”
The shortened format and midweek timing is an attempt to avoid clashes with full-length practice matches that clubs may have already started to schedule.
It would also allow players who may be playing summer sports finals to get football match practice, Norman explained.
“Like most clubs, we have a lot of players who either cannot commit to weekend practice matches,” he said.
“Or we struggle to provide all players on our list with enough practice match game time in the lead up to a season.
“This format provides clubs with another opportunity to provide their players with valuable match practice ahead of the season proper.”
Clubs fielding sides will be subject to an entry fee to cover costs.
The Ballarat Football Umpires Association will provide umpires, while prize money will be up for grabs by the winning club.
Clubs can flag their interest in fielding a side by emailing email@example.com.