Hume Hockey Club went into the Hockey Victoria Winter competition with no expectations this season.
Having claimed a title last year in their first season, the Highlanders know that anything can happen come the pointy end of the season.
And after going from one men’s team last season to two men’s teams, a women’s and junior side, the club is focused on development.
Highlanders president Hayden Whitten said it was exciting to see the growth at the club with a number of first-time players.
He said the top men’s side, which was playing in pennant G, was starting to settle in at the higher level.
After struggling early, the Highlanders have won their past four games to sit inside the top four. On Saturday they defeated Frankston 4-0.
Whitten said being in the top four was acceptable at this stage of the season.
“The team from last season has gone up” he said. “If we’re being realistic, if we make the finals that will be a successful year.
“We’ll always set that as the benchmark to make finals, and anything else is a bonus.”
Whitten said the metro B north team had struggled, but is developing as the season goes on.
It is fifth with one win, having lost 6-0 on Saturday to Craigieburn Falcons (1).
“It’s been challenging … most of the guys have never played before.”
The women’s side has probably been the most impressive out of the four sides. Whitten said the side was thriving under coach Richard Moore in Metro B north.
On Saturday, the Highlanders lost to Parkville women’s 2-0 in a top of the table clash.
“There were a few weeks early [in the season] which were challenging getting players on the field, there was a couple of games we only had 10 players,” he said.
“They are going so well and getting a lot of positive feedback by people such as umpires who are saying their skills are higher than the level they are playing.
“We’ve got high hopes, anything can happen.”
Whitten said the junior side was slowly making inroads.
Only two players of the team had played before, so it was a learning curve for everyone.
The club is unveiling its premiership flag from last year on Saturday, with all three senior teams playing at home.