This weekend we conclude the first month of Hampden League action and have there been many surprises? In my eyes, there haven’t been too many.
South Warrnambool and Portland enter this round of matches undefeated. We always knew South Warrnambool were going to be a dangerous outfit, due to maintaining their 2021 list but adding some missing components, that being a couple of forwards to assist Beks, Kelly and co. Portland is the other team that has impressed, they play an exciting brand of football, even across the ground and believe in the game-style devised by coach Jarrod Holt. The challenge over the next few weeks for the Tigers will be how they match up against the Roosters, Saints and Eagles. But they are in a good position to play their first ever finals series despite having qualified last season.
North Warrnambool have been interesting over the first three rounds, a huge win over Port Fairy, a nail-biting loss to Koroit and a recent loss to Warrnambool. The Eagles entered the season with much hype, and despite an indifferent start, don’t count them out. They have a great list profile, some players adapting to their new team and new roles having been given to others. As we all know, coach Adam Dowie would fully review the last few games, identified the teams improvement areas and organised themselves for the upcoming block of matches.
A team that I’m looking forward to seeing is Cobden. New coach Dan Casey has entered the 2022 season with a development mind-set with the Bombers and over the first three rounds, there has been gradual improvement resulting in a recent win against arch rivals Camperdown. I think this season will be one to be aware of the younger sides, as they are capable of getting under a team’s guard and causing an upset. Keep a keen eye on the Cobden squad this season.
Next weekend is a bye round and in previous seasons, the discussion this time of the year would be around inter-league. It’s a great shame that it is not occuring, especially with the momentum our league had under the guidance of South Warrnambool export Jonathan Brown. I would love to see us play some form of representative football again, taking on the likes of Geelong, Ballarat or Ovens and Murray at venues like GMHBA Stadium and Mars Stadium as a curtain raiser to an AFL fixture, celebrating country football. A match like this would promote our league and potentially expose some of our great young players to AFL, VFL and SANFL clubs.
Only four matches this weekend with South Warrnambool and Koroit having the week off due to playing Good Friday. My tips are:
Cobden vs Port Fairy – The Cobden Bombers are showing great early signs and will be hard to beat at home. Port Fairy are getting some more key experienced personnel back but it won’t be quite enough to get the win.
North Warrnambool vs Hamilton – Hamilton will enjoy playing at Bushfield, as its a similar size to Melville Oval. Whilst the Kangaroos will be competitive, expect a statement performance from the Eagles.
Portland vs Camperdown – I love the way Portland are playing and it’s becoming an extremely hard road-trip for teams. Camperdown will be competitive but won’t have enough fire-power to derail the Tigers winning streak.
Terang Mortlake vs Warrnambool – The Bloods are young and exciting and will be hoping to bounce back after a huge defeat last round. Warrnambool were outstanding last week against the Eagles and have set the precedent of how they need to play each week. The Blues have some nice kids in Radley and Mast, they’ll be hard to beat.
Have a great weekend at the football.