Werribee building for the future

It's been a tough start for Werribee. (Ljubica Vrankovic) 407988_03

Tara Murray

Werribee is embracing the start of a new era in the Hockey Victoria men’s Vic league 1 competition.

After a competition restructure and a number of things beyond their control in the off season, the Tigers are win less after seven rounds.

Coach Brendan Denning said they were expecting it to be a tough season, which is proving to be.

“I was open with the guys at the start of the season,” he said. “The bottom three teams last season got relegated and we were the fourth bottom team, so we were starting at the bottom of the ladder.

“There’s been a few other things out of our control that we weren’t expecting. Our first keeper did his ACL in a non-hockey incident and our second keeper has had a health scare and only trained once this season,

“One of our best players Ben Toogood got sick of the travel and is now playing premier league with Doncaster, which is seven minutes from home.

“My twos coach had a career change and is unavailable to come out to Werribee as well.

“It’s been a great experience for me.”

Denning said all the hiccups don’t explain the tough start on field, but give some context to where the club is at.

He’s taking the positives out of it all and sees it as an opportunity moving forward.

“We’ve taken a step back and playing a different style,” he said. “We’ll look to rebuild for one or two years and focus on longer term success.

“We had a couple of older guys step back and maybe play part time in the thirds. It’s an opportunity.

“I know what I know with the group and in terms of our position in the competition as well.”

Denning said they had fielded their second side full of younger players, with the majority of them 14 or 15.

He said while they would be disappointed with their results, he can’t argue with the growth and improvement he has seen.

Denning has also been looking at new ways to try and attract people to the club.

“I’ve found it hard to attract Melbourne-based players to Werribee, especially with a couple of premier league clubs in Footscray and Altona in our region.

“I’ve looked to tap into the Kiwi and the South East Asian population, which has a high population in Wyndham.”

Denning has also taken on the head of hockey role at Westbourne Grammar and is starting to see a connection grow between the two.

Denning said on field their first side had been competitive.

“We’ve played two teams that have come down from premier league and some top four teams from last year.

“Everyone presents a challenge. We’ve been close by there’s been no cigar, which has been the hardest thing.

“We just can’t forget how to win.”