Wednesday, January 28, 2009

South Hobart off to Melbourne

State premiers, South Hobart, are off to Melbourne on Thursday morning to play friendlies against top Victorian Foxtel Cup sides Oakleigh Cannons and South Melbourne.

The match against Oakleigh Cannons is at Port Melbourne on Friday at 8pm, while the spar with South Melbourne is at Bob Jane Stadium on Saturday at 6pm.

"We're heading off with a group of 15 players," said South Hobart coach, Ken Morton.

"The purpose, obviously, is to get us playing at a higher level and to try and focus the players into playing with much more intensity and concentration for 90 minutes.

"And, obviously, it's to get us match fit and a little bit quicker than what we would naturally be if we just played games here in Tasmania.

"It's really to help us acquire our way of playing, our pattern of play, and to develop our fitness at the same time."

The trip signifies a new level of professional at South Hobart, which has not been noted for such intense pre-season preparation in the past, apart from competing in the northern Steve Hudson Cup pre-season competition, of course.

"I think it was something the players wanted to do after our challenge last year against Gladesville in Launceston City's fiftieth anniversary tournament," said Morton.

"When they weren't coming back this year, we had no interstate opposition, so this was just a way of providing it.

"Through my connections in Melbourne, we were able to arrange these two games.

"Oakleigh Cannons are a strong side and they were high up in the league last year, something like fifth or sixth.

"South Melbourne Hellas? Well, they're South Melbourne Hellas.

"They have a great tradition and are a great club with a fantastic stadium and some bright and gifted young players.

"So, we're looking forward to both of these games to extend us and to see if we are progressing along the right lines."

Morton said he was taking his strongest possible team.

"We're taking 15 of our 18 first-team players," he said. "David Cooper can't come because he has a wedding to attend, while Josh Heerey has only recently returned to Tasmania from Melbourne and has a new job and cannot take the time off.

"All the rest of our top players are there and I'm very happy to be taking such a strong squad.

"They'll include Ricky Eaves, Igor, Jonathon Ladic, Bart Beecroft, Garry Upton, goalkeepers Mark Moncur and Sam Kruijver, Liam Scott and Greg Downes.

"Yes, we're at full strength."

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