Around the Grounds with Hilly: Round 15

Around the Grounds with Hilly: Round 15

27th July 2023

It has been a big week in Hampden League Football, with a number of coaching appointments made and major milestones coming up. Hamilton is on the search for a new coach in 2024 while Portland and Cobden have locked in their leaders, with Lachie Hupputz and Brody Mahoney taking on the roles. Warrnambool stalwarts Sam Cowling and Damian McCorkell will this weekend play significant milestones, further etching their star status at the Blues.

Hamilton Kangaroos Coach Search

The Hamilton Kangaroos will be looking for a new leader in 2024 with current senior coach Hamish Waldron stepping down at season’s end. ‘Hammer’ has been at the helm for the past two seasons, and whilst the club has not won as many games as he would have liked, I think he would be proud of the amount of youngsters he has given a senior opportunity to. The Kangaroos have a wealth of great young players including Darcy Russell, Rory Gill, Hamish Cook, Ethan Knight, Deacon White and Lachie Urqhuart. 

Hopefully the club can find an outstanding replacement, continue to build on these kids as well as bring in some top end talent, to potentially see the club make a debut finals series appearance in the coming seasons. Well Done Hammer, a terrific Hamilton Kangaroos representative who will leave a special coaching legacy at the club.

Portland and Cobden 2024 Coaches

It has been a busy week on the coaching front with Portland and Cobden both locking away their leaders for next season. Lachie Hupputz will guide the fortunes of the Tigers whilst Brody Mahoney will lead the Bombers soley. Lachie, an excellent ball-winner, will be playing coach of Portland in 2024, replacing Jarrod Holt. Portland will be concentrating heavily on recruitment this coming pre-season to bolster their young list with experienced players, the addition of Hupputz already boosts their midfield and hopefully will be a drawcard for other players to return. A terrific appointment and hopefully it will enable the club to climb the ladder in 2024. Brody, who has shared the role with Dan Casey this season, will lead the Bombers by himself after Casey had to step aside next season due to family circumstances. It’s a loss for the Hampden League, as Dan has really helped the fortunes of the Bombers. What an opportunity for Brody and no doubt his experiences playing SANFL and GFL football will hold him in good stead for the position.

Cowling and McCorkell Milestones

The Warrnambool Football Netball Club will celebrate two major playing milestones this weekend with skipper Sam Cowling lining up in his 200th senior match, whilst tough midfielder Damian McCorkell will play his 150th game. Both have been outstanding stalwarts of the Blues, important cogs in the teams premiership years of 2012 and 2013, as well as being Hampden League representatives on numerous occasions. Sam is one of the most consistent key position players we have seen over the past decade. He has strong hands, is an outstanding contested mark and is equally reliable in the front and back halves of the ground. He has been the skipper for a number of seasons now and always leads from the front. Damian is an absolute beauty. A tough, uncompromising midfielder who always hits the contest with vigour as well as being a fine effective using of the football. His surname is synonymous with the Blues and this would be a very proud moment for his family. Congratulations to Moo and Damo, two great footballers but more importantly, two outstanding individuals.

Saints Reunite

One of the most famous Hampden League Grand Finals of the modern era is the Koroit premiership of 2003. The Saints at the start of that season had endured a long premiership drought, last winning one in 1973.This weekend, members of the premiership team will gather at Victoria Park to reminisce about one of the great premiership victories of all-time. On the last day of September, 20 years ago, Koroit met Camperdown in the Grand Final, it was a perfect sunny day, ideal season ending conditions. 

The Magpies were red-hot in the opening half, kicking 10 goals to four in the opening half, leading by 49 points and appearing to have one hand on the trophy. A rejuvenated Saints emerged from the changerooms after half time and changed their defensive mindset into an attacking one, eventually kicking 13 goals to five. 

Whilst there were some great contributors including Simon O’Keefes 31 disposal game, Brad Cassidy up forward with three majors and Chris McLaren in defence, the heroics of playing coach Jason Misfud were unmatched. An eight goal haul and some clutch finishes was a major reason behind the Saints victory. We think of the brilliance Gary Ablett produced in the 1989 VFL Grand Final, from a community football level, this performance is almost if not equivalent. I’ve got no doubt there will be many beverages consumed and memories of the famous win discussed long into the morning at Victoria Park this weekend.

Round 15 (Split Round – Week 1)

Warrnambool vs Hamilton (Reid Oval) – It would be fair to say both sides are coming off disappointing results from the last round. The Kangaroos were completely outclassed while Warrnambool are finding it very hard to score over the past month. Hamilton’s side is young, so expect their form to fluctuate from time to time, while Warrnambool’s best can be very hard to stop. I think the significance of the two milestones will be a motivating factor for the Blues, so I expect them to hold out Hamilton to honour the contributions of club favourites Sam Cowling and Damo McCorkell. 

Koroit vs Camperdown (Victoria Park) – A big day for Koroit with reunion celebrations, but also equally important on the field with a security of a top three up for grabs. Whilst Camperdown have won two of their last three and playing a nice brand of football, you can’t help feel that Koroit are building for an 8th consecutive flag, albeit with a young emerging list. It’s always a tough task at Victoria Park for opposition and I think Koroit will win at their home ground.

See you at the Footy


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