The Regional Super League season has been extended this year to enhance the standard of the tournament.
Teams from the Goulburn Valley and Bendigo will compete in 10 rounds of the competition, interspersed with their local league games.
Goulburn Valley Hockey Association spokeswoman Lauren Willmott-Murphy said the added matches would raise the quality of the Regional Super League.
‘‘The regional tournament will have three extra rounds from last year to improve the competition and make it a little more exciting,’’ she said.
After a few years of considering a name change, the Regional Super League will be called the Regional Hockey League in order to incorporate the sport’s name in the title.
Four GV teams will be represented in the men’s and women’s division, with Bendigo adding in another female side.
This year’s women’s competition will increase to nine teams, with Willmott-Murphy pleased to see Loddon Murray enter a female side to play alongside their men.
‘‘The more the better, that’s what we want, a bigger competition with more variety,’’ Willmott-Murphy said.
To accommodate for the added rounds, the competition will begin earlier on March 19.
A Shepparton blockbuster will begin the season with Mooroopna coming up against Echuca-Moama and Shepparton Youth Club playing Strikers at the Numurkah Rd hockey pitches.
The men’s River Rats side will be aiming to achieve back-to-back titles on regional grand final day on July 9.
Echuca-United reigned supreme in men’s competition last year, inflicting a 7-2 defeat on SYC in the grand final. Strathdale took out the women’s competition, with Willmott-Murphy saying the Regional Hockey League continued to remain relevant.
‘‘It’s a great thing for hockey that we’re still doing it and have the partnership with Bendigo and that they’re in on it,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s the highest standard competition in the region and it’s pretty important because it’s the last step before state league and premier league teams in Melbourne.’’