The women’s WestVic Hockey team may not have won its grand final, but it has earnt promotion to Victorian league one.
In a huge move for the club, it now has both its senior men and women in Victorian league one which is a rung below the premier league – putting it among the top 24 clubs from upward of 200 clubs in the state given the three state leagues, pennant and metropolitan competitions in Victoria.
Coach Michael Poulton said it was a fantastic achievement for the club. He said the side was nearly promoted last year but were just outpointed by Casey. Poulton felt it would’ve been a premature elevation for the team and believed the women were now ready to take the next step.
“It’s a huge thing … I think we’re now ready to have a crack at the big league.” Poulton said.
Poulton said it was a “substantial” jump from Victorian league two, where it lost to Old Xaverians 3-1 in Sunday’s grand final.
Casey, who joined Victorian league one this year, ended the season in ninth position with Poulton saying it was an impressive effort to maintain the position in the league once promoted and that would be the goal for WestVic.
Unfortuantely WestVic looks likely to lose star player Hannah Maloney who is moving to Port Fairy next year. The untimely departure is set to be a significant loss given Maloney led the league goal table with 29 goals – 15 more than the next best – from her 21 outings.
It's a huge thing ... I think we’re now ready to have a crack at the big league.
Despite the loss of its best player, WestVic now has the ability to become a destination club given its inclusion into Victorian league one. Poulton said while the step up in standard will test the group, he was hopeful of luring players to club over the off-season to bolster its squad.
The benefits to being promoted are twofold when it comes to recruiting. Allowing clubs to not only draw talented players to the club but also secure some of its impressive youngsters given the promise of high-standard hockey in the future.
“What Vic league one does is give you a chance to attract players in from outside the area.”