After 20 weeks, we have hit the final round of the Hampden League season. Without doubt, it has been one of the most even and exciting years we’ve had for some time and the upcoming finals series is going to be something else. This weekend Port Fairy, Camperdown, Warrnambool, Hamilton and Portland will end their 2023 campaigns, but all five clubs have plenty to look forward to in 2024. We farewell Jarrod Holt and Hamish Waldron from the coaching ranks this weekend, two unbelievable leaders from their respective teams, Portland and Hamilton.
Swayn the Magpies Man
The Camperdown Magpies are the latest club to announce their coaching panel for 2024, with current leader Neville Swayn appointed for his 6th consecutive season. The Magpies have made significant inroads this season, especially off the back of a tough 2022 campaign with multiple senior players leaving for lifestyle changes in the northern states. Neville would be super proud of the efforts in 2023, a season that has netted 9 wins and has also unearthed some exciting young talent. Their list is building, there is noise that the likes of Fraser Lucas and Billy Arnold could be returning, which would complement the list even further. Some youngsters that have flourished even more in 2023 include Harry Sumner, Dom Absolom, Archie McBean and Myles Sinnott. A great appointment, Neville is passionate about the Camperdown Magpies and hopefully their rise up the ladder can continue and finals football is their next destination.
Chatfield State Draft Combine
Over the last few months, there has been a lot of media attention on local duo George Stevens and Luamon Lual potentially getting drafted into the AFL next season. Some welcoming news this week was that former Koroit premiership forward Josh Chatfield has been invited to the AFL Draft State Combine this year, following his standout season with Footscray in the VFL. Josh has been playing at both ends of the ground for the Bulldogs and will be an important piece of the jigsaw for the team when they play in this year’s VFL Finals Series. It’s inspiring to see a former Hampden League export performing well at the top level and potentially be given an opportunity to take his football to the next level.
Martin reaches 150
Reliable Koroit premiership defender Tim Martin will line up in his 150th senior match this weekend. Coincidently, Tim will play the milestone game against his old club in the Eagles. Tim has been an integral part of the Saints defence during their supreme reign in the Hampden League. He has the ability to play on the big forwards and smalls, and has a terrific football IQ and is very highly regarded for his leadership. Tim will play an important role in the team finals campaign this season, helping guide and mentor the next future champions of the Saints back six.
Round 18 Tips
South Warrnambool vs Portland – South Warrnambool will head into the match as overwhelming favourites and will be seeking a good hit-out before their 2nd semi final in the coming weeks. The Roosters have been outstanding this season and deserve the minor premiership. Portland, it has been a long season, but on reflection, one that has seen a number of youngsters given an opportunity to play senior football. It’s too hard to tip against the Roosters.
Cobden vs Warrnambool – Cobden will be eager to return to form ahead of the upcoming finals series while Warrnambool will be looking to take a casualty in their final match of the 2023 season. The Bombers were disappointing last weekend and will be attempting to move the footy more cleaner on their home deck. Warrnambool have shown great signs throughout the season and are not far away from building a finals team. I think it will be a tight match with Cobden running out victorious.
Terang Mortlake vs Hamilton – Terang Mortlake have a big opportunity to make this year’s top 3, they can achieve this in two ways. The Bloods need to win against Hamilton and hope that Koroit falls short against the North Warrnambool Eagles, or the Bloods need to record a huge win in excess of 120 points if Koroit win, potentially surpassing North Warrnambool on the ladder by percentage. So many scenarios, but it will be a game that Terang Mortlake will win, and comfortably at that.
Port Fairy vs Camperdown – What a season it has been from both sides in 2023. Both the Seagulls and Magpies have made significant improvement and should be proud of their journey this year. With both squads locking in their coaches for next season, planning is well underway. A great match coming up with Port Fairy winning.
North Warrnambool vs Koroit (HLL Match of the Day) – What a way to finish the season with a blockbuster clash which has so much importance. The equation is simple for Koroit, win and book a spot inside the three. North Warrnambool are more than likely to stay inside the top few, the only hurdle is if Terang Mortlake winning by a huge margin against Hamilton and percentage could be in play. Both sides will be keen to play finals with a win under their belt. A close game coming up with the Eagles just getting the job done.
See You at the Footy