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Hockey SA launches first of its kind, exciting new competition structure.

Hockey SA is pleased to announce a new competition structure for the 2024 Season.

Following an exhaustive process of consultation, analysis and collaboration, Hockey SA has officially received confirmation on alterations to the 2024 Competition. The Hockey SA Board last week endorsed the changes, which will now come into effect for this season. This new competition structure will only impact the format of the Belgravia Sports Apparel Premier League and Metro 1 fixtures. 

Hockey SA is always looking at ways to improve our competition. This new initiative reflects our drive to work with our community and to do things better. I acknowledge the work of the Hockey SA Staff and Board, Premier League and Metropolitan Clubs for their collaboration and hard work in bringing these changes to life.” – Anne Collins, President – Hockey SA Board.

The new competition structure is the first of its kind for hockey in the country. It is innovative, unique and unlike anything seen in hockey fixturing before. Hockey SA is thrilled to be the first state sporting organisation rolling out this exciting new format. 

“In line with our strategic plan, our team has been working hard to give our top-level local competition a new format and an opportunity to help grow our sport. This new structure is unique in it being the first format of its kind and one that we’re proud to be rolling out for hockey, right here in South Australia.” – Geoff Riddle, Chief Executive Officer – Hockey SA. 

The foundation of the restructure rested on participant data collected through the Premier League and Metro 1 Player, Coach and Manager Surveys, as well as competition data gathered by Hockey SA. This inclusive approach ensured that the experiences and perspectives of those actively engaged in the competition were adopted. It demonstrates a commitment to gathering insights and feedback from individuals contributing to the competition's vibrancy and success.

“Hockey is a sport that continues to push the boundaries in its approach to rules and competition structure. The introduction of the extended finals series exemplifies this ethos and presents North East with a new and exciting challenge. We are wholeheartedly embracing this challenge and cannot wait to get started in 2024.” – Ashley Thompson, President – North East Hockey Club.

The new structure supports the Hockey SA Strategic Plan in refreshing the metro competition, in collaboration with clubs, to innovate and help grow participation. 


Overview of the changes … 

The new structure for the 2024 Premier League and Metro 1 season unfolds strategically, blending traditional elements of the regular season with innovative post-season and finals dynamics. 

The new structure features – 

  • 4-week Pre-Season competition
  • 14 regular Home & Away rounds 
  • Post Season Play-In’s (4 weeks, Home & Away, best of 2 Series, 8 Teams)
  • 4-week Finals Series (Quarter Finals, Semi Finals, Preliminary Finals, Grand Finals, 6 Teams)

The introduction of a pre-season competition allows teams to refine their strategies, fostering heightened competition from the outset. 

The regular season, covering rounds 1 - 14, maintains traditional home & away matchups, providing a solid foundation for the post season.

Innovation in this restructure is particularly evident in the post-season and Finals, where the introduction of "Play Ins" brings a refreshing twist. This two-round series, strategically placed at the beginning of the post-season, adds excitement with its unique format. The subsequent knockout rounds, culminating in the Grand Final, follow the knockout format, intensifying the competitive spirit as teams progress through the decisive stages.


What this means for clubs and players … 

The new structure allows each club to host 9 home games throughout the season. 

It is anticipated that this change will create more competitive games throughout the season, to help Adelaide Fire become the pathway to the national team, by increasing the number of locals participating in the Adelaide Fire program.

Ultimately, the new structure gives more opportunity for clubs to feature in the Finals Series through the play-in’s. 

The 2024 pre-season competition will commence on Tuesday 27th February, as was announced late last year. The Finals will now be played a week later, being Tuesday 19th and Thursday 21st March, in line with the new finals play-in’s structure.

The 2024 Premier League and Metro 1 home & away season will commence round 1 on the weekend of Saturday 6th April, as originally announced. Following the 14 rounds, post-season play-in’s and final series, the Grand Finals will still be played on Saturday 21st September as previously announced. 

Hockey SA thanks all parties involved in this restructure process, and for their supporting the betterment of the competition. 

Fixturing around the new structure is currently being developed. Premier League and Metro 1 clubs will be receiving the first draft of these fixtures next week for their review and feedback, with the final fixtures due for release early March. Metro 2 – 6 and Junior fixtures will follow in late March. 





Some of the key principles driving Hockey SA’s strategic plan are to innovate and collaborate with our community. Furthermore, one of the key drivers of our Strategic Plan is to refresh and invigorate the Metropolitan Competition. This driver empowered Hockey SA to conduct an extensive consultation period, combining feedback from club presidents, players, and volunteers; to design the newly created competition format we are implementing in 2024.

Additionally, Hockey SA conducted exhaustive analysis of the past five seasons of match data. This identified a trend that teams were becoming less competitive due to lack a perceived incentives, after being ineligible for finals. Combining feedback and data analysis, the fixture change was created.

The new competition format was developed with a desire to increase the overall motivation and competitiveness of the competition, by creating opportunities for all teams to participate for a finals position for longer, during the season.

The decision to re-develop the competition framework was motivated by Hockey SA's Strategic Plan to refresh the Metropolitan Competition, in conjunction with feedback received from club executives, coaches, officials, players and extensive competition data research. Thus began the long process of designing a competition to reflect the goals and desires of all parties.

The new competition structure was created in consultation with club delegates, before being unanimously approved by the Hockey SA Board, on Tuesday 6th February 2024. 

Yes, one of the core goals of the Hockey SA Strategic Plan is to refresh the Metropolitan Competition. This was a key driver in the decision to revamp the competition format, and it is strongly expected that results will fulfill this goal.

This is not a trial. The new approach to our competition was designed to improve upon the old, and will strengthen and grow in the coming years. 

Clubs and players partaking in season 2023 would have become accustomed to the regular season Hockey has been playing, consisting of 19 - 21 rounds and a 3 week finals campaign. Whilst this format had proven to be a staple, the community resoundingly provided feedback that a change was necessary. 
In 2024 HSA have heard the community, altering the format of the competition this season comprising of four phases.

  1. Preseason Competition – All participating teams will play a minimum of 6 half-length games which include play-ins and progressing teams will participate in the Pre-Season Finals Series. The Competition will span over four weeks commencing on the 27th of February and concluding on the 21st of March. 
  2. Main Season – The main season will consist of 14 games with everyone playing eachother twice, both home and away. 
  3. Play-In Series – Every team will participate in the play-in series which will take place over a 4-week period, and consist of 2 x 2-game series. Each series will span over two weeks, with each team playing a home and away game against the same opponent. Two teams will be eliminated during this phase.
  4. Finals Series – The remaining 6 teams will play a finals series over 4 weeks. All Finals will be played at Mate Stadium.

Hockey SA wants to ensure each participant thoroughly enjoys their hockey experience, by not compromising the ‘games played’.

A minimum of 21 full-length equivalent games will be played by each team, with finals, providing additional games for qualifying teams.

  • 3 x full equivalent games, comprised of 6 x half games, over 4 weeks
  • 14 x full regular season games, over 14 weeks
  • 4 x full games in the Play-ins, over 4 weeks
  • Up to 4 x additional full Finals games, over 4 weeks

These changes will only be actioned in Metro 1 and Premier League competitions, for both Men and Women in 2024 and beyond. 

As it currently stands, there are no plans to roll the new competition out to Metro 2 and below. However, this is something that may be looked at in years to come.

The pre-season competition is separate from the regular season, meaning that there will be a separate trophy and medals for clubs to compete for.

As the community becomes more accustomed to pre-season competition, Hockey SA hopes to include additional teams and divisions, to assist clubs and players in preparation for season and see this as a tremendous opportunity to grow deeper connections within hockey. 

No, it does not mean it is a shorter season as pre-season, post season and finals are taken into consideration.

The start and finish dates are therefore the same as previous seasons. However, we are ensuring that players experiences are more relevant for the different phases of the hockey season. 


Hockey SA is aiming to provide players the possibility of developing their match awareness under pressure, subsequently inspiring players, coaches and officials to challenge themselves, whilst immersed in highly competitive matches towards the latter part of the season. Matches they may not have been able to experience under the old Metro Competition model. These two Play-In rounds are a best-of-two series (home and away), which will be played across 2 weekends each, with the opportunity to play-in for a final spots.

After the second round of the Play-Ins, the loser of Play-Ins #5 and #6 (please refer to diagram above) will be eliminated, leaving the top 6 remaining teams to continue their campaign through the finals series.

If results are tied up after the 2 weeks of play-ins (eg: 1 draw each or 1 win each), the victor will be determined based on the following factors in this order - 

  • Away Goal Difference
  • Total Goal Difference 
  • Ladder Position at the end of the regular season

The main season determines the ladder position of every team, and higher placed teams will have an easier fixture come play-ins, to give them a greater chance of qualification.

Whilst everyone has a chance to play in finals, winning more games during the main season will ensure a higher ladder position, and therefore a preferable run through finals. 

All finals will be played at Mate Stadium. However, the Play-In Series will see clubs get the opportunity to host games at their home venues, providing a finals-like atmosphere and spectacle for members to enjoy.

Absolutely! The new competition has been designed to allow all teams a chance at making finals even at the conclusion of the main season. Despite how difficult this may be.

Clubs are guaranteed to have 9 home games a season, although in the past, clubs have had between 9 – 11 home games. This number will remain consistent rather than fixture dependent, such as in previous years, allowing clubs to better plan events and club days. 

Relegation and promotion will stay as outlined in the competition rules. Competition rules can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Player eligibility will remain as outlined in the competition rules, with the utilisation of the double-up rule and players needing to play 33% of matches in the regular season, to qualify for finals.

Player eligibility will remain as outlined in the competition rules.

If you have played 33% of games in M1 or lower, you would be eligible to play finals in M1 and PL.

Competition rules can be FOUND HERE.

The extensive survey responses from the players outlined that midweek games were less than desirable. Therefore, along with the fixturing change, Hockey SA has ensured the only midweek games, except for reschedules, will be on the Thursday and Friday evenings leading into the June long weekend.

No, they will not be affected. All match start times and lengths will remain the same. 

Final fixtures are due for release early March. We are currently awaiting feedback from clubs. 

Hockey SA is coordinating forums for each of the Metro 1 and Premier League Clubs who wish to host a session, to provide an update on the changes.

If your clubs feel the need for a forum, they can work with Hockey SA on dates to ensure all players, officials and coaches can disseminate through their clubs members for the proposed dates.