Providing room to develop

THE Latrobe Valley Hockey Association has welcomed a new team to its women’s A grade division ranks – the Latrobe development team.

The side will offer B grade female players an opportunity to test their mettle in the top division.

“We have a lot of players in B grade who are A grade standard or are on the brink, and we also have a number of developing players in the under 16s who could do with higher hockey experience, so that’s why we created that team,” team manager Linda Reid said.

“There are also a number of current A grade players who are happy to help out with the team and fill in and make it fairer.

“We use current A grade goalkeepers and they change from week to week and provide the defence with the skills and tactics from a higher level.”

The team, which also includes boys from the under 14s division, was also introduced to remove the bye in the women’s A grade division, which Reid said received overwhelming support from fellow clubs.

“Not one club spoke out against it; people wanted to be considered for the team,” she said.

Reid said matches against the Latrobe development squad would not be played for competition points, as the team effectively filled in for the bye.

Instead, she said, A grade teams facing Latrobe had the opportunity to experiment with their tactics and could utilise their players in unfamiliar positions across the pitch.

“It’s a chance for them to take a bit of a risk on some things,” Reid said.

“The game involving Latrobe will be the last game played on the Saturday, so that way the B grade team is not disadvantaged and the players are instead tired when they play for (Latrobe at the end of the day).”