After months of waiting, the day has finally arrived, the commencement of a new Hampden Football Netball League season.
For the second straight year, we were unable to complete a full season and no premiership was awarded, but all things appear positive for 2022. No doubt there will be some issues to address in regards to COVID, but hopefully all clubs can get through the year with a near full bill of health.
Last week, the Hampden League held their season launch at the Warrnambool Racing Club and the vibe around the room for the season ahead was extremely positive,there was much hype and enthusiasm, and all ten affiliate clubs appeared ready to get into action.
In 2022, we will welcome a new leader, with former Port Fairy and Terang Mortlake coach Shane Threfell taking over the reins as league president. Shane is absolutely passionate about his local football and is the perfect person to steer the league into the coming years. I know all the decisions made from Shane and the board this year will be for the greater good of the league in the short-term and long-term.
What am I expecting to occur this season in the Hampden League, there are a few things. I expect Koroit to maintain their mantle as one of the teams to beat, they’re well coached and their processes stand up every season. I expect North Warrnambool to be inside the top two. The recruitment of ex AFL big-man Nathan Vardy as well as Grovedale’s Scott Morter and a number of local juniors to hold them in good stead. I expect Portland and Hamilton to show an upward trajectory, both clubs have had a terrific pre-season and will be pushing to play finals football for the first time. I expect Sam Gordon, Sam Dobson and Will Kain to fight out for the League Goal-Kicking Award. And lastly, I expect Terang Mortlake, Camperdown and Cobden to unveil some exciting new talent with the departure of some key experienced players.
There is so much to look forward to this year and one of highlights will be seeing football being played again at the Reid Oval on the newly redeveloped venue. The playing surface looks immaculate and the new grandstand looks first class. Hopefully all clubs enjoy the opportunity to play at this outstanding facility this season.
My Round One Tips
South Warrnambool – Terrific recruiting campaign and have a very deep midfield. A top three team for mine and will be too good for the Cobden Bombers.
Warrnambool – A terrific matchup against Portland. Two exciting teams that I believe will be playing finals. The Blues will be eager to win on their new deck.
Koroit – Despite Hamilton going to improve immensely in my mind, the Saints still have too many guns to contain.
North Warrnambool – A star-studded line up with too many match-winners, the Eagles are going to be too strong.
Camperdown – The battle between two young sides will be sensational, the spine of the Magpies still reads with Gordon, Spence, Dundon. This will be a nail-biter.
To finish, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the Baulch family on the sudden passing of Clinton. ‘Baulchy’ was a great football person, throwing enormous support behind the Hampden League Live broadcast as well as many Hampden League clubs through playing, an off- field capacity and sponsorship. Clinton will be remembered for being a great community person and someone who loved sharing a chat and joke. RIP Baulchy.
I hope everyone enjoys being back at the footy this week.
See you at the footy