It has taken three weeks to complete Round 4 of the Hampden Football Netball League, but we have finally done it. South Warrnambool and Terang Mortlake are now the only two sides undefeated and playing a serious brand of football. Last weekend was a historical weekend with Jason Rowan passing the 1000 goal mark at Melville Oval, it was a great occasion in front of many supporters and family. Another great weekend of matches are coming up.
Rowan 1000 Goal Milestone
After great anticipation over the last few weeks, league superstar Jason Rowan became the second ever player in the Hampden League to kick 1000 career goals. Entering the 2023 season, Jason needed only 5 goals with his new side Port Fairy to pass the milestone and he was able to achieve it during the 7 minute mark of the second term last Saturday at Melville Oval. What a modern day great Jason Rowan is, he boasts an impressive CV which includes multiple premierships at the Warrnambool Blues, eight league goal-kicking awards and numerous Team of the Year accolades. The next big milestone on the horizon is the league record, with the Seagulls no.1 only needing 20 goals to pass the long standing record held by Tony Russell. Irrespective on whether he achieves it or not, Jason Rowan heroics last weekend will be spoken for a long long time.
Small Forwards Dominating
One of the elements of the game I have enjoyed calling and witnessing over the past few weeks is the energy and goal-kicking dominance provided by the small forwards. If you have a look at the Hampden League goal-kicking table after round four, there are a number of the crafty smalls that are leading the way, including South Warrnambool’s Will White (15 goals), Cobden skipper Paul Pekin (13 goals), exciting Port Fairy youngster Rodush Mohan (7 goals) and zippy Warrnambool crumber Cooper Hoffman (7 goals). It has been an award dominated by the competition’s key forwards for an extremely long time, especially the modern era (Rowan, Dobson. Gordon, Korewha and Ewing), so could we witness one of the smaller forward stars of the competition take over the mantle in 2023.
One of the clubs I have closely followed over the past month and been impressed by is the Camperdown Magpies.The Magpies were hit hard in 2022 with departures, all to key players and had no choice to blood a plethora of youngsters. Whilst it was a tough season which featured only 5 wins, the game-time given to the next generation will hopefully pay dividends in 2023 and beyond. Two wins against traditional top five sides already this year and a narrow six point loss to Terang Mortlake suggest Camperdown will be a side to showcase great improvements that has been not expected amongst the wider football community. The return of Will Rowbottom, Riley Arnold, Sid Bradshaw and Brendan Richardson can not be underestimated while Archie McBean, Dom Absolom and Myles Sinnott will get better as the season progresses. I am a huge fan of coach Neville Swayn and I’m rapt the Black and White hoops have started the season with much excitement and promise.
Round 5 Games
Port Fairy vs Terang Mortlake – The Port Fairy Seagulls will be on a high after their first win of the season. The Seagulls once again started the game slowly, to then again use their strong fitness to out-score their opposition in the second half. They will want to be on their game early against the undefeated Terang Mortlake, who have ripped shreds through some teams already this season. Mercovich vs Carlin will be the head to head contest in the midfield that will be a must watch. I think the Bloods make it 5 straight.
Hamilton vs South Warrnambool – Hamilton face a tough encounter against a very good and deep side South Warrnambool. The Kangaroos showed great glimpses last weekend across the ground and have some exciting young talent in White, Cook, Urqhuart and Gill. I think the experience of the Roosters will help them stay undefeated as well as their strong method. South Warrnambool to make it 5 on the trot.
Cobden vs Camperdown – The arch rivals clash under lights in what should be an intriguing battle. Both teams are sitting on two wins and have showcased some great football. Paul Pekin has been lively up forward and a very important player for the Bombers while Zach Sinnott has started the season on fire. I think Cobden will win by a goal.
Portland vs North Warrnambool – North Warrnambool looked sharp in their previous match, unearthing some great young talent in Duke and Jarvis Bermingham as well as Luke Kenna. The Eagles are hopeful of regaining some key personnel in Vardy, Rodda and Wines in the coming weeks. Portland are improving each week and play their home ground very well. I think North Warrnambool will record the win.
Warrnambool vs Koroit (HLL Match of the Day) – Two sides that I expect to be at the business end of the season and have relatively new playing groups. Warrnambool and Koroit are tinkering around to get the right mix for their forward line structures and as we’ve already seen, it’s still a work in progress. The midfield battle will be one of high quality, and it will be a determining factor in who wins this game. I expect the Blues to bounce back this week in a tight encounter.
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!