Around the Grounds with Hilly: Round 13

Around the Grounds with Hilly: Round 13

13th July 2023

It was one of the wettest and coldest days the Hampden League community witnessed last round, with most games played in muddy and slippery conditions, causing significant damage to a number of venues. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks we will have better weather and it allows clubs to repair their ovals in readiness for the end of the year. 

There were plenty of changes on the ladder on Saturday with a number of results moving the ladder positions. This once again highlights the toughness of the league and how important it is to bring your best football with you each week. We have another great round of football coming up this weekend, once again, with some crucial matches that could have significant impact on the ladder positions, especially those already in the top five.

Milestone Men

A total of 450 games will be celebrated at the Reid Oval this weekend, with three players set to play in major milestones. Warrnambool pair Jackson Bell and Darcy Graham will play their 200th and 150th senior respectively while Camperdown co-captain Charlie Lucas will play his 100th senior game in the black and white stripes.

Jackson has been one of the most consistent players in the league over the past decade. He is dangerous in the midfield whilst his forward craft is slick. The number two has been a regular Hampden League representative and also featured in the Blues most recent premiership teams under Scott Carter. It would be fair to say that Jackson is arguably the best player in the competition below his knees, he can pick up the ground ball at pace and use it effectively.

Darcy is another terrific story, to reach this milestone is a great achievement after enduring recent injury setbacks over the past few seasons. Darcy, a hard-working midfielder, was one of the key players in the Blues back to back premiership wins in 2012 and 2013. He is an accumulator who opens up territory with his strong leg. His family, a synonymous name with the Blues, will be proud to see a major milestone reached.

Camperdown first year captain Charlie Lucas will be hoping his team can continue with their good form and upstage the Blues on their homedeck in his 100th outing. Charlie has stepped up to the plate and led by example in his new leadership role and has been one of the major reasons behind his team’s emergence this season. Charlie was given his first senior taste under Phil Carse in 2016 and will join father Murray and brother Fraser and Eddie on the 100 game honour roll. 

Three terrific milestones to be achieved this weekend and we wish Dinga, Darc and Charlie all the very best.

Melville Oval Over and Out

The Hamilton Kangaroos will have an alternative home base for the remainder of the year with the multi-million dollar redevelopment of Melville Oval about to occur. The venue will be first class once completed, adding a new community pavilion, upgraded change rooms underneath the old grandstand and relocated netball facilities. The project is going to provide a first class venue for the Hamilton Kangaroos as well as the local community.

Versatile Seagulls

The major emergence of the Port Fairy Seagulls has been impressive this season as well as great for the competition. Each week we marvel at the versatility of gun player Matthew Sully. Matthew is usually rolled in the midfield, defence and attack most weeks, dominating wherever he plays. 

The Seagulls have found a Matthew Sully clone this season, with new big man Tyson MacIlwain also able to fulfil a similar role. Last weekend against the Saints, Taylor was used in defence while the opposition were kicking with the wind, moved into attack when his side were kicking with the breeze and has featured a number of times in the ruck. He is a great height to dominate in the air while his ground ball skills are equally as good. What a find Tyson has been for the yellow and purple in 2023.

Round 13 Tips

South Warrnambool to Koroit – The Roosters will have one of their strongest sides hit the ground on Saturday afternoon where the Saints will be missing some senior players in Gow and Pulling. It will be interesting to see how the ground will hold up after a heavy weather week last round. I think South Warrnambool are the yardstick of the competition and will win this week’s clash.

Warrnambool vs Camperdown (HLL Match of the Day) – Another fixture that could be season-defining for both sides as home and away fixtures are becoming less and wins becoming extremely important. If the Blues are to win, they purely need to kick goals, they’ve registered just two goals in their past two matches. Camperdown will be on a high following last rounds win but are playing with a side that has continuity. Huge match, for the loser, it could be almost finals hopes over. I think Camperdown.

Cobden vs North Warrnambool  – It is fair to say that Cobden play their best when Mark Marroit and Jesse Williamson are in the team. Both were outstanding last weekend and will fancy their chances at home. North Warrnambool will miss Nathan Vardy but have brought in experienced ruckman Ben Mugavin to fill the gap, which in my mind is a handy in. The Eagles will be hoping to rebound but I think Cobden just edges them out.

Port Fairy vs Hamilton – A huge game for the Port Fairy Seagulls as they are only one game outside the top five, so winning is crucial over the next few weeks. Mercovich, Sully, Harwood and McillWain are in strong form. The Kangaroos last month have seen a lot of positives and they’ll be confident their best can record the four points. I think the Seagulls’ form is just a little better and they will win.

Portland vs Terang Mortlake – The Bloods have dropped their last couple and will be keen to return to the winners list as there is pressure from sides below them. Portland always plays their home ground well and will be hopeful of recording their second win of the season. Terang Mortlake just looks a little more polished at this current stage of the season.

See you at the Footy!


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