What a first round we had in the Hampden Football Netball League, it had a bit of everything.
We saw high scoring, new recruits flourishing, strong crowds and new facilities unveiled. The newly redeveloped Reid Oval surface looked amazing on Saturday, a project that was much needed and from player feedback, was like running on carpet. Only a few tiers of the new grandstand were in use, but once all of the compliance has been ticked off, it will be great to see it used in full.
It was terrific to see Portland first-hand last weekend, registering a strong win over the Warrnambool Blues. If you are wanting to watch an exciting, fast-paced brand of football, make some time this season to watch the Tigers. The young side ran all day, played on at all costs, used the corridor strategically well and their forward line was flexible and mobile. Some names to follow this season include Lochie Huppatz, Jack Walsh, Kade Lovell, Josh Edwards and Martin Curtis.
North Warrnambool flexed their muscles in a mammoth win against an injury-riddled Port Fairy. The Eagles were 38 points from equalling the highest score ever, set by Warrnambool in 1946. Regardless of the score, the Eagles have placed themselves in a great position to contest strongly for this year’s premiership, also knowing Koroit and South Warrnambool will be thinking the same and rightfully so. It was terrific to see another ex AFL product perform well with Nathan Vardy kicking 6 goals in his debut game, he is going to be a real handful to contain this season.
Still on North Warrnambool, congratulations to Adam Wines who plays game 200 this weekend. Winesy has been an integral cog in the Eagles for many seasons and in my opinion has been one of the competition’s best swingmans in the last decade. Adam has been a great representative of the Hampden League and hopefully we see a few more seasons of great football to come.
Some blockbuster matches are coming up this weekend before all clubs have the Easter weekend off except Koroit and South Warrnambool who will feature in the Good Friday clash.
North Warrnambool vs Koroit – I think North Warrnambool will get a win in a close encounter. I look forward to seeing how Saints coach Chris McLaren looks to restrict the influence of Nathan Vardy. A terrific battle of the midfields.
South Warrnambool vs Camperdown – I like South Warrnambool in this encounter. If the Roosters kicked accurately last weekend, they would’ve registered a big win. A great opportunity for Camperdown’s young midfield to tackle one of the competitions strongest.
Hamilton vs Warrnambool – Both sides will be looking for their first win of the season. Warrnambool were great in patches last week when they were able to move the ball fast inside their forward 50. If they can do that, they’ll be hard to beat. The Blues for me.
Terang Mortlake vs Port Fairy – On last week’s performances you would suggest Terang Mortlake should win this game. Without knowing who Port Fairy might get back this week, I’m expecting a big response from the Seagulls. I think it will be close but the Bloods for me.
Portland vs Cobden – A Super Saturday clash coming up. Portland were impressive last round and if they maintain that style and pressure, they’ll be hard to beat. I have the utmost confidence new Bombers coach Dan Casey will have his chargers improving again this week but not enought to get the ‘W’.
And lastly, please say a big thank-you to a club volunteer this weekend. We are very fortunate to have so many great ones in the Hampden League and volunteers are absolutely critical to the running of our league and clubs. As we know, getting volunteers is getting harder and harder, so please say a big thank-you to the great ones we have.
I hope your team wins this weekend.
See you at the footy