SIX Warrnambool and District league teams will use a new pre-season competition as a launching pad for the 2014 season.
Old Collegians, Merrivale, Dennington, South Rovers, Allansford and Russells Creek will com-pete in the inaugural CUB Mid Strength Cup at Friendly Societies’ Park on February 22.
Melbourne-based clubs Heatherton and North Old Boys have also thrown their support behind the competition.
Old Collegians and its Once Were Warriors coterie group instigated the tournament, which will follow a similar format to the Hampden league’s Boag’s Cup.
Old Collegians organiser Jason Moloney said teams would be split into two pools and would play two shortened games of 17½-minute halves.
The top two teams will play in a grand final for a $1000 winner’s cheque.
Moloney said the first game was pencilled in for 10am, with the decider to start at 5.30pm.
Gold coin donations at the gate will go to Peter’s Project.
He said organisers hoped the competition would become a permanent fixture on the Warrnambool and District calendar.
“One of the things that has been difficult over the past two or three years is organising practice games,” Moloney said.
“These things are running in metropolitan areas and the Hampden league has obviously got one and I’ve had conversations for 12 months with coaches in the WDFNL saying ‘how about it?’ and they said ‘great’.
“We’re running it earlier than we hoped to — February 22 is early.
“We were hoping mid-March but it didn’t eventuate because of the early start to the season.”
Moloney said there was room to expand the competition in future years.
“This is something annual, all going well. Hopefully it will hang around for a long time,” he said.
“It could grow potentially. We went with eight teams because it fit the draw relatively easy but we are looking to grow in teams and are looking at potentially putting netball on next year.
“We thought we’d just go with football this year and get it right.”