WITH the Hunter Power Cup now completed Newcastle hockey enthusiasts will turn their attention to the local premier league matches where the enigmatic Gosford appears certain to provide many headaches for opponents especially if can reproduce the form shown in last weekend’s cup.
Its opponent on Sunday will be University, who have the depth to play some excellent hockey but it does take time for the club to sort out its top team.
However, it has the nucleus of its team from last season and the youthful determination to compete for the entire 70 minutes.
That is if it can stop Gosford’s Liam Alexander from dictating play through the mid field, if not it is facing a difficult match.
Souths, who have promoted many of its star juniors this season will be competing under new coach Scott New and it could take a few games for him to have his players implement his game plans and adopt his coaching style.
Still, it does have the experience of John Fernanace, Tristan Hunt and Simon Vimpani to guide them around the field against a very young and new look Tigers outfit, who, during the Power Cup, showed glimpses of strong attacking plays.
Norths, the 2012 premiers, face off against Maitland.
Neither side has appeared as a combination as yet but according to sources both club have been training strongly and like in previous seasons will field strong competitive teams in a game whose outcome is very hard to predict.
The Entrance and Wests meet in the final match of the round and again only one team has made a public appearance with Wests reaching the President’s Plate final last weekend.
However, it is facing last year’s grand finalists and on paper The Entrance appears to have the depth to win.
In the first round of the women’s premier league on Saturday last season’s grand finalists, Regals and Souths, are expected to again have a tight and keenly fought tussle.
Regals have gained the services of Lisa Mould from Dubbo while Souths have added Tamworth teenager Ashley Ninnes to its squad but are expected to be without Jillaroo Mariah Williams, who is away on a school camp.
In other matches a new look Oxford team playing a much greater attacking game is expected to provide Tigers with strong opposition and could well supply the upset of the opening round.
The final match will see Central pitted against University with the students still striving to determine its first grade combination.
Team official, Murray Bennett said it could take a couple of weeks before the club could settle on its best side.
Central will be missing its captain and outstanding player, Kasey Cocking, who is preparing to undergo a knee operation that could see her miss the entire season, while sister Ashley is still struggling to overcome a foot injury.
Still it has recruited Newcastle representative Meagan Callahan and Emily Lane from University and should prove too strong for the students.