Around the Grounds with Hilly: Round 14

Around the Grounds with Hilly: Round 14

21st July 2023

Five home and away season matches left and the make-up of the top five is still well and truly up in the air. The next two rounds could give supporters a clearer picture on what might occur but the way the competition has been, that could also be unlikely too. It appears the only near certainty is that South Warrnambool should take out the minor premiership if a win is achieved this weekend.

Portland Tigers Stay

It was terrific news received last week, with the announcement the Portland Tigers will be remaining in the Hampden League. 

Whilst it has been a tough year on-field for the Tigers, they have been a welcomed addition to the league since 2013, highlighted by their finals appearance in 2022 and the Maskell Medal win by Daniel Jackson. It was warming to read that a large portion of the decision to remain was player driven, especially to keep playing a higher level of football, in comparison dropping back in standard if they move had occurred. Moving forward, I would think Hanlon Park will host a final this year based on the leagues two year rotation system and no doubt, the search for a new senior coach is well and truly in action as Jarrod Holt will step aside at season’s end. It’s an important coaching decision coming up, as player development and recruiting will be at forefront in hopefully seeing Portland returning to finals action.

Goal-Kicking Chase

Whilst we have one tight race in relation to teams chasing positions inside the top five, we also are witnessing an intriguing battle in the goal-kicking ladder. After a slow start with his new side, Jason Rowan’s last six weeks have been strong, enabling to hold the lead currently after 13 rounds with 45 goals. The young emerging Bloods focal point, Will Kain, is only a sniff away with 43 goals while 2021 champion Sam Gordon is on 36. I think the winner will be one of the trio but also, you can’t underestimate Cobden’s Jesse Williamson, a proven goal-kicker with 33 on the board this year. 

Vic Country Acknowledgement 
Just a big shout out to our three Hampden League exports that represented Vic Country in the U19 National AFL Championships recently. George Stevens was a major contributor and leader with Vic Country, accumulating some great numbers during the carnival and hopefully exciting a lot of AFL recruiters. The dialogue written about Luamon Lual during the championships was extremely positive, with the running half back having a consistent championship. He was awarded the Team Spirit award for upholding the team’s values. And lastly Finn O’Sullivan, a bottom age player at this championships, also excited those who watched him. He is a beautiful mover and will obviously get another opportunity next season when it becomes his drafteable year.  

Round 14 Tips
South Warrnambool vs Hamilton – Both sides will be happy playing on the Reid Oval. South Warrnambool is building nicely with each week more personnel returning. The Kangaroos will have a dip but I think the Roosters have more experience and class in this clash.

Koroit vs Warrnambool – The Koroit Saints are building very nicely for September and again will be dangerous. If Warrnambool maintain game-style and improve goal-kicking, their chances of winning improve greatly. I think Koroit’s system is hard to break and I will stick with the Saints.

North Warrnambool vs Portland – A lot on the line for the North Warrnambool Eagles this weekend, they’ve dropped their last two games and need a win to stay in double chance calculations. Their absent list is significant, no Rodda, Wines x 2, Keast and Vardy. The Tigers can’t be underestimated, their best is pretty good and with Wilson and Jennings returning, the team looks far better. I think North Warrnambool will take the four points in a close game.

Camperdown vs Cobden – Wow, what an encounter coming up. Both are in good form, and like so many other matches, plenty at stake. Two sides that love to move the ball fast to place the opposition defence under pressure. The midfield battle will be great to watch, especially Marriott vs Rowbottom, two in-form ruckman. It’s a toss of the coin job here, but I’m going to stick with Camperdown at home.

Terang Mortlake vs Port Fairy (HLL Game of the Day) –  This match has some important outcomes for both sides. A win for the Bloods helps their top three aspirations while a loss keeps their nearest rivals close to the double chance. POrt Fairy need a win to stay in top five calculations while a loss makes it a little harder  for finals. It promises to be a great clash in Mortlake, with two young sides that play an exciting brand moving the ball forward on the wider ground. I think Port Fairy might take an unexpected win.

I hope to see you at the footy!


Get the HFNL Record