The Hampden Football Netball League season will slow up over the next two weeks with the introduction of a split round. As we have already witnessed the Round 4 encounter between Koroit and South Warrnanbool, we will have two standalone games this weekend and two more next weekend. A great decision for the league executive to implement, as it allows players from Hamilton and Portland to have enough days to recover and get ready following their Anzac Day clash, which would have been a four day turnaround if the fixture was as normal. Let’s hope we have some big attendances over the next two weekends, with Hampden League supporters wanting to get their football fix.
Portland’s Anzac Day Win
Much has been mentioned about the exodus of players from the Portland Tigers this season, losing well and truly over half of their semi-final side from 2022. Despite the player losses, it has opened the door for more young players to get their chance at senior level. The Tigers opening two matches have seen heavy losses of 113 points and 99 points respectively against quality opposition. As expected, Portland entered their Anzac Day clash with a fighting spirit against their old foes Hamilton, and fortunately recorded a 21 point victory. Former SANFL player Jake Wilson was outstanding and awarded the Ted Kenna Medal for best on ground. While the club has lost some quality players, to regain this star in 2023 helps boost their key defensive stocks but also their experience. I’ve got no doubt that this young Tiger outfit can enjoy more success this season.
Bloods on Fire
As anticipated, one of the big improvers to start the 2023 season has been Terang Mortlake. The Bloods finished last year on a high winning 4 out of their last seven games, including recording narrow losses to South Warrnambool and Warrnambool. So the big question, what has changed? The acquisition of some new faces in Scott Carlin, Alex Molone, Wade Rosas and Luke McConnell has given the team an extra boost, especially Carlin and Moloney in the midfield and in defence. The team still has Lewis Taylor to fit in and he will certainly add more midfield class when available. The improvement will again come from the club’s younger brigade. I can’t wait to see what the likes of Vickers, Hutchins, the Roberts brothers, Porter and Kenna can produce with another year of senior football under their belt. Whilst there is a lot of the season left, Terang Mortake have made a very promising start.
The U23 Interleague battle against Ballarat is still a couple of months away, I know the coaching staff led by Jonathan Brown is busy organising potential training squads in preparation for the clash at Mars Stadium. I was thinking about the possible line-up that could be assembled, and wow, what a team we could develop from all clubs. We have so many young emerging stars and the final 24-26 players selected will be a hard task for the selection panel. It would be wonderful to see one or a few of our young stars have some interest from the AFL clubs and potentially get an opportunity, I know big Browny would love this to happen too. We are so lucky to have a competition littered with many young guns and I can’t wait to see what the selectors come up with in the coming weeks with training squads.
An interesting two weeks of football coming up with the split round. South Warrnambool and Koroit have already played, and there will be two games each over the next two weekends.
North Warrnambool vs Cobden – Always a hard and physical contest between these two sides irrespective of the ladder positions held. Cobden have started the season well, they are playing an exciting brand and look to be a well rounded team. North Warrnambool have yet to play their best, injury and unavailability has hurt them and hopefully we’ll see their best over the coming weeks. The Eagles have unearthed some young talent and they will be better for the opportunity. A big match is coming up, I believe Cobden will get the job done at Eagle Park.
Camperdown vs Warrnambool – Camperdown are up and about after a surprise win over North Warrnambool. The Magpies look much better with the likes of Rowbottom and Arnold returning, whilst their emerging youth are 12 months better off. Warrnambool are going to be one of the top teams this year, they play a different brand and as they get the chance to execute it more and more, they will be much better. A great contest coming up with Warrnambool my tip in this match.
Hamilton vs Port Fairy – Both sides are searching for their first win of the season and have both shown some great glimpses of football. All eyes will be on Jason Rowan, who only needs one more goal to crack the 1000 mark, currently sitting on 999. The inclusion of Sandy Robinson is huge for Port Fairy, it gives them another target up forward and some valuable experience. I’m loving the form of Hamish Cook and Darcy Russell, a combination that could be very dangerous in the coming seasons. I think the Seagulls will win this contest.
Terang Mortlake vs Portland – A super Saturday clash where Portland will enter with some great confidence following their ANZAC Day win over arch-rivals Hamilton. Jake Wilson has been a rock of gibraltar in defence for the Tigers, along with Josh Edwards and Paul Proctor. The Bloods are flying and will be hard to match up on. I think Terang Mortlake will win this clash.
It promises to be a great fortnight ahead and potentially a massive one for Jason Rowan . If you love your Hampden League Football, don’t forget to tune into Hampden league Live on 94.5 3YB FM each Saturday afternoon from midday for all the action.
See you at the footy