The coach of two-time Regional Challenge Trophy finalist Cobram Victory hopes to see other clubs in the region take aim at a cup run this season.By Damen Francis
The coach of two-time Regional Challenge Trophy finalist Cobram Victory hopes to see other clubs in the region take aim at a cup run this season.
Entries are now open for this year’s edition of Football Federation Victoria’s State Knockout Cup, a competition that has been kind to the Victory in recent seasons.
Craig Carley said his club had every intention of entering the competition again.
‘‘The cup has always been good to us, we’ve had some great outings against some quality teams,’’ Carley said.
‘‘It would be fantastic if more teams around here got to experience the sort of opportunities we’ve had the last couple of years.’’
The Victory has been the best performing club outside Melbourne in both editions of the cup, since it was reintroduced in 2011, reaching the final six last year.
Those teams from the Regional Premier League that enter will compete with other teams from north-eastern Victoria in the early rounds for a place in the open draw.
Shepparton, Shepparton United and Cobram were all part of last year’s competition, with United also reaching round four, before being ousted by VPL club Moreland Zebras.
The profile Cobram Victory has developed throughout Victoria in recent seasons has had its benefits as well.
‘‘It’s just a fantastic opportunity to get some games under your belt in the pre-season,’’ Carley said.
‘‘I’ve formed good relationships with a couple of the teams we’ve played against and we’ve been able to organise pre-season games and things like that.’’
With FFV organising friendlies for those clubs knocked out in the first and second rounds, participation guarantees clubs at least two pre-season matches, which fits into Carley’s plans.
The club kicked off a busy fixture of pre-season matches last night against Wodonga Diamonds, with plenty more to follow.
‘‘The plan is just to mix it up a bit more than we have in the past, with plenty of friendlies, more like what they do in England,’’ Carley said.
‘‘It’s looking like there might be less games this season, so a cup run is a good way to get a few more games.’’
Entries to the competition close on February 12, with round one scheduled for March 2, round two for March 9 and round three for March 23, before the top 16 seeded teams enter the cup in round four.
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