THE memory of title success last season will motivate a group of former teammates when Warrnambool district soccer finals get underway.
Pertobe Surfers and Corangamite Creekers will put their seasons on the line in the first semi-final at Harris Street Reserve tonight.
The Warrnambool District Soccer League (WDSL) rivals finished third and fourth and must win to keep their title hopes alive.
But bragging rights are also up for grabs, with both sides featuring members of last season’s title-winning Surfers side.
League official Carlos Del Rio said striker Matt Boyle headlined a group of former Surfers who left to establish the Creekers, a new entry in the WDSL.
Del Rio said the presence of former teammates heightened the intrigue.
“Half stayed with the Surfers and recruited some players and half went to the Creekers and recruited some players,” he said.
The winner of the Corangamite-Pertobe clash will take on the loser of the second semi-final, between Hamilton Raiders and Merri Stingrays.
The Raiders and Stingrays have been the stand-out teams in the competition and enter the finals as joint title favourites.
Del Rio, also a Stingrays midfielder, said the sides had only lost to each other during the 15-round regular season.
“We lost to them when we had 10 players, and the other time we had 10 and had an injury,” he said.
“When we’re at full strength we match-up really well against them, and they know that.
“They treat us as their number-one danger.”
The WDSL expanded from five to six teams with the addition of the Creekers this year and Del Rio said the competition had generated more interest.
“We probably need to get another team from Warrnambool because Hamilton could possibly put in a second team in the next two or three years with the juniors coming through their ranks,” he said.
“The aim is to get to an eight-team league.”