Around the Grounds with Hilly: Round 9

Around the Grounds with Hilly: Round 9

8th June 2023

We are at the half-way mark of the Hampden League season and the common conversation around the football traps is how competitive the year has been. South Warrnambool and Terang Mortlake are sitting nicely with a 7-1 record, but from 3rd to 8th, there are only 10 points that separate them. It would be fair to say the next couple of matches before the interleague bye are extremely important, because you don’t want to start having to chase hard in the final nine rounds to make the five. It’s been one hell of a season so far, I can’t wait what the second half brings.

Port Fairy Seagulls

Last weekend local football fans witnessed one of the best performances displayed by Port Fairy before the pandemic. The Seagulls defeated Camperdown by over 10 goals in a flawless four quarter performance, ending the Magpies five game winning streak. It’s hard not to admire the rapid improvement by Port Fairy, especially after completing the 2022 season winless. What has helped Port Fairy begin stronger? Well there are a few reasons in my mind. The first one is the appointment of Dustin McCorkell as coach. Dusty is a real people’s person and teacher, his football journey is highly credentialed and he knows the game well. There is a young core at the club and the guidance Dusty can provide the likes of Pollock, Myers, Mohan and Lucardie is significant. Secondly, the Seagulls recruiting method was well planned and executed – bringing back locals to the club in Gunning x 2, Forrest, Robinson and then filling some holes with some experienced and emerging players in Rowan, Hopper and McIllwain. And lastly, the Port Fairy Seagulls have had a change in leadership personnel and they’ve enticed Rob Evans as president. Rob is a highly successful business person, he loves local sport and is a very hard-worker. The professionalism he brings to the club and working alongside the already strong executive group is a great match.It’s important the Hampden League have a strong Port Fairy, it’s great for the competition and whilst they are coming from a long way back, this season in my mind is already a very successful one.

Vic Country Representatives

The Hampden League has been a great breeding ground for many great AFL/VFL careers. Three young guns will begin to throw their name in front of AFL recruiters, especially allowing them to follow their progress over the next couple of seasons when they become the right draft age, as they were selected in the Vic Country U16 team this week.

Warrnambool’s Sam Niklaus, North Warrnambool’s Charlie McKinnion and Cobden’s Archie Taylor will wear the Big V at the AFL U16 National Development Championships. 

A terrific opportunity for the trio who all were a part of the GWV Rebels U16 program this year. An exciting time for Sam, Charlie and Archie, and we wish them all the best. Hopefully we will see their names on the big stage in the coming years.

Round 9 Tips

Cobden vs South Warrnambool – Historically these two sides have had a great battle at the Cobden Recreation Reserve. Cobden are a slick moving unit that likes moving the ball fast and scoring fast, while South Warrnambool are a possession based team. The inclusion of Shannon Beks is a big one for the Roosters and while they still have a few players to return, I think they will be strong enough to register their 8th win of the year.

North Warrnambool vs Warrnambool (HLL Match of the Day) – The rivalry these two teams have had in the past has been a pleasure to watch. North Warrnambool despite their tough start to the season with injuries have been able to record wins and just sit outside the top three. Warrnambool have been in almost every game and their style has changed and I think in the back end of the season, their cohesion and confidence will be much better. A big game for both sides and I think North Warrnambool can narrowly get the job completed.

Portland vs Port Fairy – Port Fairy have found their mojo whilst the Portland Tigers are beginning to play with more continuity in their game. A big weekend for the Seagulls, with forward Jason Rowan needing only one goal to tie for the league record and two to become the new record holder. I think he does the latter and at the end of the  round will be our new league record holder. Despite this special occasion, I love the style of play from Port Fairy and will be tipping them to win. 

Terang Mortlake vs Koroit – In years gone by, everyone would have tipped Koroit to win this one but it’s the Bloods everyone is raving about. The Bloods are in a great position and most importantly, playing a great brand of football. Lewis Taylor is back in the line-up and adds so much to their entire outfit. Koroit are young and this is an 8 point game for them, in relation to keeping well and truly in touch with the five. I’m expecting a thriller but I think Terang Mortlake can maintain their good form.

Camperdown vs Hamilton – A winnable match for the luckless Hamilton Kangaroos. The Hamish Waldron led squad are missing some important personnel but importantly are getting games into their youth, it’s a similar position the Magpies were in last season and look at them currently flying. Camperdown were outplayed last round but I think they will bounce back as they have some great fire-power across the ground.

See You at the Footy


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