Category: General News

Wood prepares for second AFL Grand Final

 

EASTON Wood is hoping to add a second premiership medal to the first one he won five years ago tonight.

The Western Bulldogs defender will represent Camperdown and the Hampden league when his club takes on Melbourne in the AFL Grand Final at Perth’s Optus Stadium.

Wood skippered the Bulldogs to their first flag in 62 years in 2016 and while this time he isn’t captain, he’s just as eager to become a premiership player for the second time.

However, a shot at another flag almost did not eventuate for the 187-gamer.

Injury, which has often been associated with his career, reared its head in the pre-season, with Wood first appearing at AFL level in round three.

He went on to play six consecutive games before sustaining a hamstring injury in his side’s win over Port Adelaide, which kept him out of action for six weeks.

He returned briefly through the VFL but sustained another injury, this time an ankle, which at first thought was set to end his season.

Luckily, scans revealed some good news, with Wood eventually building his fitness and working his way back into the line-up in round 20, playing every game since.

“I tore three hamstrings this year and then coming back through the VFL I ruptured the lateral ligaments in an ankle,” Wood said.

“At that point, before I got the scan on the ankle, ‘I thought if this is a break I’m out for three months and it’s season over’ and I was going through all these waves of ups and downs.

“But thankfully, as I have always done, I went back with the physios and the fitness staff and put the work in and they’re hanging in there.

“I can’t believe we’re playing in another grand final, it’s surreal and really special.”

Wood will spearhead his side’s defensive line and is expected to nullify the influence of Bayley Fritsch and Kysiah Pickett in the decider.

Fritsch (53 goals) and Pickett (40) have been busy inside forward 50 this season but Wood is confident he can limit their influence or any other Demon who crosses his path.

“The way we normally play, I play on a range of different players so it could be them,” he said.

“It could be (Charlie) Spargo, it could be any of the resting forwards, if (Christian) Petracca comes forward or whoever, or it could be someone taller like (Ben) Brown or someone at different times if they’re playing a bit higher.

“Who knows. When we play our system we normally don’t just follow one player so I’ll probably have a handful (of opponents).”

Saturday’s grand final starts at 7.15pm (AEST).

HFNL Grand Finals Cancelled for Sunday Competitions

 

23 September 2021

In a HFNL Statement dated 10 September, the HFNL indicated that should community sport competition resume by the weekend commencing 2 October, the Grand Finals for the Sunday Competitions would proceed.

On Sunday 19 September the Victorian Premier outlined Victoria’s Roadmap for Delivering the National Plan. Unfortunately, as part of the roadmap Community sport competitions will not be able to resume for some time.  

Therefore the HFNL Executive wishes to confirm that the Grand Finals for the Sunday Competitions will be cancelled. No Premierships for these competitions will be awarded.

The HFNL acknowledges the challenging circumstances the entire HFNL community has faced not just this season, but since the pandemic began 18 months ago. We acknowledge this is not the outcome for our Sunday Competitions that the entire HFNL community had hoped for. Especially given we were less than 48 hours from the Junior Grand Finals when we were informed that Regional Victoria would be going back into lockdown on the evening of Friday 20 August.

We wish to make note of the significant efforts of many different people to facilitate matches throughout 2021 when restrictions have allowed. The HFNL would like to thank all member clubs and their volunteers, umpires, players & parents for their collaboration throughout the season. We would also like to thank and acknowledge all HFNL Sponsors and supporters, in particular our Major Sponsors: Sungold, McDonalds, Lyndoch living and Powercor.

We hope that 2022 will bring more regularity and normalcy, particularly for our juniors. We thank the entire community for their support and patience throughout the season and look forward to seeing footballers and netballers back out on the field/court in 2022.

2021 HFNL Maskell Medal Winner: Jett Bermingham

 

NORTH Warrnambool midfielder Jett Bermingham’s age failed to defy him as he etched his name in the Hampden league’s history books.

The 19 year-old belied his youth to claim the league’s Maskell Medal with 20 votes, becoming the youngest winner in recent history and his club’s third ever winner of the prestigious award alongside Liam Ryan (2008 and 2010) and Jason Porter (2002).

South Warrnambool captain Liam Youl was runner-up on 15 votes, with Koroit forward Tim McIntyre (13 votes), Eagles onballer Sam James (12) and Portland ruckman Ben Malcolm (12) rounded out the top five.

Bermingham, who also started the season with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, said he was thrilled to join illustrious company, adding he did not expect to feature so prominently.

He said a move to the midfield from the wing, with the backing of legendary coach Adam Dowie, was the masterstroke behind his strong season.

“I didn’t expect it at all this year. I’ve only played a handful of senior games and only got to play the nine this year, so it’s good,” he said.

“2019 I was only 17 and in my first year coming up against bigger bodies so I didn’t really know what to expect, and this year already knowing what is going on and knowing Wiggsy better and just all that, really helped me to play to my best.

“Growing up in juniors I’ve sort of always been a midfielder and in the senior side in 2019 we had a good side and I was young and I wasn’t going to play so I went out to the wing, which wasn’t too bad, I could still play that but my preferred position was in the middle.

“Wiggsy knew that and this year he put me in there, which was good. He’s always talking to me about different stuff, how to improve and is really helpful.

“He (Dowie) is unreal, just with his mind and how it works, he knows stuff that other people don’t. He is probably the main person who has helped me through all of this.”

Bermingham, who said it was “unreal” to join Ryan and Porter as Maskell Medallists, still harbours aspirations to test himself at the elite level in the future after returning to the Eagles from the Rebels earlier in the year.

But he is undecided as to just exactly how that will transpire, adding he still covets an elusive senior premierships, which he hopes to achieve with North after flags went unawarded the past two seasons.

“The Rebels wasn’t working out. I was just playing bad footy, not to my style or position and I knew coming back here Wiggsy would help me and put me in a position and play good footy,” Birmingham said.

“It worked which was good and I was happy with it but I want to keep going and see how far I can get.

“I obviously want to play with North and try and win a flag first of all but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

“I’ll just see where it goes.”

With 2020 wiped due to COVID and this year’s season severely impacted, it was always going to be quite a memorable win for whoever claimed the league’s top gong.

With six games lost, numerous training sessions cancelled and plenty of conjecture and unknown, Birmingham believes he handled the ups and downs as best he could.

He credited a simple approach helped deal with what was transpiring, while his team-mates kept him accountable as they waited for a competitive return.

“I tried not to get too down on myself because footy has been cancelled three different times this year,” Birmingham said.

“I just tried to go with the punches and keep myself busy in the meantime, just keep running, kicking the footy because you didn’t know when it was going to go ahead again.

“We’ve got a Facebook page in which everyone posted their extras in and I think by posting in your extras it helps other people get motivated.”

In the other senior football awards, Cobden’s Jack Hutt claimed the Pitstop Menswear MVP award ahead of Camperdown’s Sam Gordon, while Gordon claimed the league’s Sungold Milk leading goal kicker award.

3YB SCOTTY STEWART TEAM OF THE YEAR

B: Dallas Mooney (Koroit), Tim McPherson (Koroit), Josh Dwyer (Port Fairy)

HB: Luke Wines (North Warrnambool), Isaac Thomas (South Warrnambool), Fraser Lucas (Camperdown)

C: Austin Steere (Warrnambool), Liam Youl (South Warrnambool), Jett Birmingham (North Warrnambool)

HF: Tim McIntyre (Koroit), Sam Dobson (Koroit), Adam Wines (North Warrnambool)

F: Will Kain (Terang Mortlake), Sam Gordon (Camperdown), Joe Arundell (Terang Mortlake)

R: Ben Malcolm (Portland), Toby Jennings (Portland), Josh Saunders (South Warrnambool)

I/C: Patrick Smith (Cobden), Jackson Bell (Warrnambool), Matthew Wines (North Warrnambool), Lachie Waddell (Hamilton

Kangaroos), Sam James (North Warrnambool)

COACH: Chris McLaren (Koroit)

RUNNER: Xavier Mills (North Warrnambool)

UMPIRE: Geoff Barker)