COBDEN and Koroit have become familiar finals foes on the netball court in past seasons but Saturday’s preliminary final will leave one club ecstatic and the other deeply disappointed.
The two clubs will meet at Reid Oval at 1.20pm in the penultimate game of the season desparate to keep their premiership dreams alive, with both clubs having previously featured against each in the 2018 and 2019 grand finals.
However, this year, the victorious club will progress onto the decider where they will meet South Warrnambool, which booked its spot with a triumph over the Bombers last weekend.
Saturday’s contest is expected to be a close affair, with both sides claiming a win apiece in the home and away series earlier this year.
Cobden shooter Molly Hutt said her side was eager to bounce back quickly from its semi-final defeat and give itself a chance at claiming long-awaited glory.
“It was obviously disappointing last Saturday but we can’t be too disappointed because it was such a great game,” she said.
“We’re raring to go this week. We are itching to get it (a premiership). We’ve been so close in other years and missed out so we’re very determined to get it this year.
“We’re going to give it all we got and hopefully we can finally bring it home.”
The Saints progressed following a narrow win over North Warrnambool in the other semi-final, a triumph goal attack Bella Baker said gave Koroit belief.
But she added the Saints would need to keep its focus against the Bombers and not get sucked into playing away from its strengths if it wanted to win a shot at a third successive flag.
“It’s more of a mental game for us we think,” Baker said.
“We can do it physically but it’s about taking our time and doing the small things like defending over the ball.
“It’s the small goals throughout the game that we’re aiming (to hit) and that’s why I think we can win, by being steady and playing our game.
“It’s just the little one percenters…that can win us a turnover or get us a goal potentially.”
A SCINTILATING preliminary final looms between North Warrnambool and South Warrnambool, with both clubs desperate for the chance to take on reigning premier Koroit next week.
The showdown at Gardens Oval will pit the two clubs against each other for the second time this final series, after the pair played out a thrilling drawn qualifying final which was eventually won by the Eagles in extra time.
It was the perfect start to a long-anticipated finals return for the competition, which hadn’t staged a post-season since 2019, and came after the two sides had produced entertaining affairs during the home and away campaign.
First-year Eagles big man Nathan Vardy has come to learn of the hype associated with the pair’s growing rivalry and is expecting another enthralling battle to play out.
“As the year has gone on I’ve slowly worked out what rivalries look like in the competition and have got a feel of how these opponents come each week,” he said.
“It’s definitely a big clash between the two clubs. We’re obviously one and one during the season, they touched us up pretty convincingly late in the year and the first final could have gone either way.
“It’s obviously going to be hard for you lot (the media) to pick a winner but we’re really looking forward to the contest.
“We know we’ve got a few things we’ve got to work on from last time and South we’ll be in the same boat but fingers crossed we can find ourselves in front at the final siren.”
The Eagles hopes of victory have also been boosted by the return of key players Dylan Parish and Billie Smedts for the contest, inclusions Vardy welcomed.
“Dylan’s obviously had a pretty tough year mentally I think with a lot of niggling injuries that have put him out for periods of time during the year,” he said.
“I think he’s pretty pumped to be back at this time of year and he’s a pretty pivotal part of our line-up, he straightens us up forward.
“Billie was a bit sore (last week) and given the second chance we thought we’d take the conservative approach, so he’ll be a definite starter this week.
“We missed them last week and have missed them both in patches during this year but it’s going to be great to have them back.”
The Roosters have added their own pair of playmakers, with Josh Saunders and Archie Stevens set to bolster Mat Battistello’s line-up.
Saturday’s clash will be broadcast live on 94.5 3YB FM and live-streamed to the 3YB Facebook page from 2pm.
Finals Fever has certainly not disappointed thus far. The atmosphere amongst the Netball crowds has been awesome and great to be a part of. Close and exciting contests and that carnival atmosphere on and off the court is a reminder of what we have missed for the last couple of years. There is still a lot more action to look forward to and with 2 weeks to go, there are still 7 clubs playing finals.
This week’s Predictions
In the main game at 1.20, Cobden come up against Koroit and I expect this match will be another skilful and goal for goal contest. The trio of “M’s (McCann, McNamara and Moroney) have been a critical part of the Bombers lineup in recent weeks and at the other end of the court the combination of Emily Finch and Molly Hutt have been dominating in attack. Koroit will have a feast of players to choose from but I anticipate we’ll see a similar lineup to last week when they accounted for the Eagles in the 1st Semi Final. Both teams boast a wealth of experience mixed with some very talented youth. With unfavourable weather conditions forecasted I predict a slow and steady game. I think this will favour Koroit’s game plan a bit more but Cobden will be hungry for another shot at the Premiership after narrowly missing out in their last two attempts. Cobden will get the win here.
In Other Games
13/U – South Warrnambool easily accounted for the Eagles in the Qualifying Final and I think they will be too strong for the Eagles, again.
15/U – South Warrnambool Verse Cobden in the 15/U and the Roosters should win through to the GF.
17/U – Cobden play Camperdown in the 17/U and if the Qualifying final is anything to go by, this game will go down to the wire. Very hard to pick but maybe Cobden just.
17/UR – Another Cobden V Camperdown battle. I think the Bombers can win this one.
Div 3 – South Warrnambool take on Koroit but I think the Roosters will be too strong in this contest and earn the right to play next week.
Div 2 – Koroit will play Cobden in this game. Cobden have found a bit of momentum in the last couple of weeks coming from fourth. They could cause a bit of an upset here.
Div 1 – Hamilton Kangaroos will do battle with Port Fairy in a tight physical contest. Port Fairy narrowly got over the line last week and I think they can do it again this week.
The Inaugural Dot Jenkins Medal – Open Best and Fairest
This Sunday, the inaugural Dot Jenkins Medal will be awarded to the Open Best and Fairest winner. It was an easy decision to name this award in Dot’s honour as she has done so much for netball for the Hampden FNL and also at Club level over many many years. So who will be the inaugural winner of this special award.
If the award was to be won by a defender, Remeny McCann from Cobden would be near the top of the list with her outstanding performances later in the season. Lily Eldridge from Camperdown and Carly Watson are likely to poll a few votes with their efforts this year.
Players through the centre court who have played well consistently throughout the season – the most outstanding would have to be Maddison Vardy from North Warrnambool Eagles. From some of the other teams, Meg Kelson from South Warrnambool, Alicia Blain from Cobden and Millie Jennings from Koroit have also had good seasons.
Up the attacking end, I believe Annie Blackburn from South Warrnambool, Skye Billings from North Warrnambool Eagles and Amy Wormald from Warrnambool have all had a few match winning performances. Other’s you could throw in the mix are Molly Hutt from Cobden, Nell Mitchell from Koroit and Hollie Phillips from South Warrnambool
If you’re willing to put your money on a dark horse, some players you could consider would include Emma Somerville from the Hamilton Kangaroos, Heidi Jones from the Portland Tigers, and Ava Pearce from the Warrnambool Blues.
If the vote count is anything like the season we have had it will be a close and exciting count and possibly not decided until the last vote card is read.
Good Luck to all teams participating in the Preliminary Final Round this week. Let’s hope there is plenty of exciting action across both the Netball and Football.
It was another successful weekend for the Hampden Football Netball League with two impressive victories and two big crowds. It has been unbelievable how much the local community has embraced this year’s final series, especially having been without them for the past two seasons. On Saturday, we witnessed one of the great clubs of Country Victoria continue their dominance with Koroit qualifying for their 8th consecutive Grand Final, meaning they will try to register their 7th straight premiership. It’s amazing how the Saints continue to produce the goods each season and there is no doubt, the motivation comes from wanting the younger members of the team to taste the success of premiership glory. It’s a credit to coach Chris McLaren and the whole club, it’s an amazing effort and they will certainly be hard to defeat on the Reid Oval in a week’s time.
Tigers Run Ends
It wasn’t the fairytale finish Portland were hoping to achieve on Sunday, but despite the scoreline in the 1st Semi Final, what a terrific season from the Tigers. The young Tigers outfit won their first seven games, qualified for the first finals appearance since joining the competition in 2013 and most importantly, unearthed some great talent. Skipper, Dan Jackson, had an excellent season in the midfield alongside Lachie Hupputz and Toby Jennings, Josh Jenner was a revelation across half-back, Nathan Haylock was dominant at centre-half-back, Ben Malcolm starred again and Tom Sharp was the ultimate focal point up forward with over 80 majors for the season. Portland will certainly use this season as a stepping stone for the future seasons ahead, they have a great bunch of young talent coming through and look to be a Hampden League force in 2023 and beyond.
One of my favourite days of the year, recognising the best and fairest player of the Hampden League competition. It has been one hell of a season in 2022 and extremely difficult to tip a winner. Below are my top three tips along with one smokey:
Daniel Jackson (Portland) – What a season for the Portland Tigers skipper and in my opinion will win this year’s medal. Daniel has featured in the Tigers best players 17 times, is a proven ball-winner, can kick goals and was a huge reason behind his team’s emergence in 2022. A career best season from ‘Jacko’ and will be leading the tally-board early.
Shannon Beks (South Warrnambool) – Shannon has had a terrific season in 2022, with the pressure of being the number one forward taken away. Shannon has predominantly spent a large chunk of game-time up forward, but has been able to push up the ground causing opposition coaches plenty of head-aches. Shannon is a match-winner and his finish to the home and away season was first class. He will poll extremely well.
Sam Dobson (Koroit) – Sam is arguably the best player in the competition and has yet again dominated in the forward half of the ground. Sam kicked over 80 goals this season to narrowly win the goal-kicking title, but it’s not just that aspect of the game that defines him. He is one of the hardest workers in the Saints line-up, orchestrates a lot of play up the ground, plays an unselfish brand of football and overall, is a match-winner. Generally forwards don’t ever poll well in the award, but I think this year will be an exception for Sam Dobson.
Smokey: Paul Pekin (Cobden) – One of the great stories of the season this year has been the outstanding form of Cobden midfielder Paul Pekin. Paul was one of the Bombers joint captains this season and it would be fair to say, the leadership role has brought out the best of him on the ground. Paul has been able to withdraw himself from the necessary physical activities on the field, which has allowed him to concentrate on what he does best, find the football and set it up for team-mates. I think Paul will poll well and finish relatively high on the leaderboard.
Preliminary Final Tip
After a heart-stopping Qualifying Final, South Warrnambool and North Warrnambool battle each other for the final spot in next week’s Hampden Football Netball League Grand Final. The Roosters were impressive against Portland last Sunday, while after a slow start, the Eagles were so close to defeating Koroit in the 2nd Semi Final. It appears both teams could be bolstered with key players returning such as Josh Saunders, Archie Stevens, Dylan Parish and Billie Smedts. Whilst the North Warrnambool Eagles were impressive last weekend, I still believe South Warrnambool will be hard to beat. Defensively the Roosters set up well, and in my opinion have more forward goal-kicking options which include Dye, Beks, White, Hussey. Nathan Vardy looms as the major player for the Eagles, his work around the ball was nothing less than first class last week and his team will rely on that service. A terrific clash is coming up again.
See you at the footy!
THE first week of the AFL Finals series delivered plenty of classics and a number of Hampden league exports were front and centre in qualifying and elimination finals.
Home Club: South Warrnambool Roosters
AFL Club: Western Bulldogs
Stats: 4 kicks, 3 handballs, 3 marks
Things were looking pretty rosy for the Bulldogs forward and his team-mates at half-time but the Dockers second half surge saw his club eliminated. Had a quiet night on the scoreboard but collected 7 disposals and hauled in three marks.
Home Club: South Warrnambool Roosters
AFL Club: Brisbane Lions
Stats: 17 kicks, 9 handballs, 5 marks
Produced a strong first-up finals performance for the Lions who overcame a three quarter deficit to prevail in the final minutes. The South export was among Brisbane’s best after collecting 26 touches, laying six tackles and kicking a crucial goal.
Home Club: Cobden Bombers
AFL Club: Fremantle Dockers
Stats: 9 kicks, 6 handballs, 1 mark
Was massive for the Dockers in their come from behind victory. Dominated the ruck battle against Tim English with 47 hit-outs and was able to add 15 possessions and four clearances for the victors.
Home Club: Cobden Bombers
AFL Club: Geelong Cats
Stats: 9 kicks, 5 handballs, 2 marks
Knocked back a number of his pre-game critics with a huge game for the Cats. The Cobden product finished with 3.1 from 14 touches and was pivotal in Geelong surging late to overcome the Magpies to advance to the preliminary finals.
Home Club: North Warrnambool Eagles
AFL Club: Gold Coast Suns
Kicked a goal from five possessions In the Suns VFL triumph.
Home Club: Terang Mortlake Bloods
AFL Club: Sydney Swans
Finished with 19 touches in the Swans VFL defeat to Gold Coast Suns.
End of Year Wrap!
Congratulations to all the football and netball clubs in successfully completing a full season. No doubt Covid has created some challenging times but well done to all in involved!!
We look forward to holding our 2022 AGM in November (date to be confirmed).
Current, interested or past sports trainers are most welcome. The meeting will also include: information on courses for 20223, 2023 memberships available for the trainers association, opportunity to update contact details and much more. Information will be on our facebook page, through our email list and text message list.
Opportunity to contribute to planning is always welcomed. We would love to hear what topics
sports trainers would like or find beneficial
Proudly Supported by: The Flying Horse, Warrnambool – Pulse CPR – Star Printing
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Facebook page: South West Trainers
THE two best sides of the Hampden league’s 2022 netball season will meet this weekend with a grand final berth on the line.
South Warrnambool will take on Cobden at Friendly Societies Park in the second semi final, with the victor earning a direct route into the decider at Warrnambool’s Reid Oval on September 17.
Both clubs boast power-packed line-ups full of talented netballers, with the pair’s strength on the court evident throughout the home and away season.
The Roosters finished with a 16-1-1 record, with their only blemish coming against the Bombers, while Cobden won 15 of 18 games, with one of its defeats coming against this weekend’s opponent.
While the chance to play in a grand final means the stakes are undoubtedly much higher this time around, both sides are brimming with confidence and excitement at the prospect of facing each other.
Rooster Ally Mellblom, who is likely to line-up at goal keeper against sharpshooter Emily Finch, said her side knows defeating Cobden will be no easy task as it returns to the court following a week’s break.
“We know it’s going to be a hard game so we’ve been working hard at training and getting down (pat) those finer moments,” she said.
“We’re such a young team and we’re just playing the game, fulfilling our roles and working really well together which has been awesome this year.
“We know it’s going to be a good game, it’s just keeping a calm and composed game (that is the key for us).”
First-year Bomber Sarah Moroney, who has slotted into Sophie Hinkley’s defensive trio with ease, said her club was eager to carry the momentum of its qualifying final victory over Koroit into the clash with Roosters.
“They are incredible South, I’m very excited to play this weekend against them,” she said.
“Last time we played both sides had ins and outs but it’s going to be a great contest.
“We’re looking forward to it.”
In the elimination final on Sunday, Koroit will take on North Warrnambool, with both sides needing a victory to keep their premiership dreams alive.
Both matches start at 1.00pm this weekend.
MINOR premier Koroit’s quest for an eighth straight grand final berth kicks off this Saturday when the Saints take on North Warrnambool Eagles in the Hampden league’s second semi-final.
The Saints have become the competition’s most decorated team over the past decade, winning six successive flags in a stretch from 2014 to 2019, with a record seventh looming following another top-of-table finish to the home and away season.
The Chris McLaren-coached outfit is just two wins away from glory but will need to overcome its 2019 grand final opponent to earn a direct passage into the grand final.
The Saints have won both of the pair’s home and away clashes this year, but skipper Liam Hoy knows his side will face a much-stronger Eagles team this time around.
But the occasion is not set to faze him and his team-mates, who are eager to finally get its September campaign underway.
“We can’t wait,” Hoy said.
“It was a really tough game last week, North were very good for a long part of the game so it isn’t going to be easy.
“It’s finals footy so it’s going to go up a notch and as a team we need to step it up a bit to give it a good shake.
“We’re looking forward to it.”
Having won six straight flags and then endured two years interrupted by COVID, one could wonder if motivation may start to waver for the Saints.
But Hoy is quick to dismiss that notion, adding success was a dangling carrot the group craved for various reasons.
Change has been afoot at Victoria Park this year, with a host of younger players emerging through the ranks but the two-time Ron Hoy Medallist said their progression has only galvanised the group’s desire to win.
“There’s a lot of young lads coming through that have just bought into what has been built over the last seven years,” Hoy said.
“There’s a lot of individual reasons to share success with and motivation is certainly not lacking.
“I think the older boys are in a new phase of life, it was all footy in their younger life but now they’ve stepped into work life and are young fathers and sharing it with their families and creating memories.
“I think there is all those little things that have added up to another successful campaign and we just can’t wait to hopefully push for another one (flag).”
Meanwhile, South Warrnambool and Portland will look to keep their finals campaigns alive at Cobden Community Bank Recreation Reserve on Sunday.
The Roosters are looking to regroup quickly off the back of their elimination final loss to the Eagles but will take confidence into the contest having had the upperhand on the Tigers throughout the home and away rounds.
However, the boys from Portland are riding a wave of momentum after a historic first finals win in the elimination final and will be take belief into the contest against Mat Battistello’s group.
Both matches will start at 2pm and will be broadcast live on 3YB FM and live-streamed on the 3YB Facebook page.
What a great way to start off the Fresha Finals Campaign for Season 2022 last weekend. It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since our last. With perfect weather conditions, crowds of spectators out and about, some great tightly contested netball matches across all grades and some fiercely contested footy games including extra time in the Senior Football, it doesn’t get much better than that.
A Cap of Last Week’s Results
In the Open Netball on Saturday at Koroit, Cobden came to play and proved they are a force to be reckoned with outclassing the undermanned Saints by 15 goals. Molly Hutt was awarded the Miss Kit Voucher for her best on court performance. At Port Fairy on Sunday the North Warrnambool Eagles took on the Blues. In a closely contested match neither team could get an early break. With only a 2 goal margin at the last break, the Eagles found a way late in the last quarter when Maddison Vardy took some match winning intercepts and helped her side to a 6 goal win. Maddie was awarded the Miss Kit Voucher for being best on court.
Across all grades of netball last weekend there were some highly skilled contests played out. With the 16 matches played across 2 days 12 of the games were won by 7 goals or less. These type of results make for some very exciting netball and create a great spectacle for the crowd
This week we Congratulate Stacey Dwyer from the Port Fairy Football Netball Club who will play her 200th Senior game on Saturday at South Warrnambool.. Stacey was to celebrate this milestone game on the last home and away round before being struck down with COVID so we wish her well in her game this weekend.
Stacey started her netball career with Port Fairy in 2010. She is a 3 time Premiership player in Division 2 (2013, 2014 and 2016). She has also coached Premiership Teams in the 15/U and Div 2 Grades. Stacey has won numerous Club Best and Fairest awards, as well as Runner up Best and Fairest for the HFN League in 2014 for Div 2 and in 2019 for Div 3. Stacey is a valuable member for the Port Fairy FNC and has taken on many roles over the past 12 seasons including Umpire, Umpire mentor, Coach, Assistant Coach and Umpire Coordinator. Stacey is a true legend of our game and this is a wonderful effort. Well done Stacey.
Premiers and Champions
There are three teams across the eight grades who are in contention for a Premiers and Champions status in 2022. The 17/U Koroit Saints have not lost a game all season, the Koroit 15/U Team have won 17 games and drawn one and the Port Fairy Division 3 team have won 15 of their 18 games and have drawn the remaining 3. A Premiers and Champions Title is extremely hard to come by so I will watch with interest to see how these teams fare in the next 3 weeks. Watch this space.
My predictions for this Week.
In the second Semi Final on Saturday South Warrnambool take on Cobden in what will be a highly skilled and closely contested match. When they last met Cobden won narrowly and I expect this game to be close as well. Both teams boast strong defence lines and depth in their attacking circle. Cobden’s centre court has versatility and depth and I think they have the advantage over the Roosters in this area. Cobden for me in a close game.
In the first Semi Final being played at Cobden on Sunday, Koroit will play the North Warrnambool Eagles. This will be another great contest. Last time they met North won by 12 but I expect both teams will have a different line up this time around. As has been the case most of the season, both teams are capable of winning but it will come down to who shoots more accurately and who will make less mistakes. If the mermaids need the third game on Sunday this will work in the Eagles favour but they may struggle to get over the line against Koroit with a full lineup.
In other grades on the weekend I think the winners will be:-
13/U – Koroit and Cobden; 15/U – Koroit and Cobden; 17/U Reserves – South Warrnambool and Camperdown; 17/U – Koroit and Camperdown; Div 3 – Port Fairy and Hamilton Kangaroos; Div 2 – Port Fairy and Cobden; and Div 1 – Koroit and Portland.
Good Luck to all Teams participating in Finals this weekend.
The opening round of the ‘Fresha Fruit Juice’ Hampden Football Netball League Finals Series did not disappoint on the weekend, with two great games as well impressive crowd numbers both at Victoria Park and the Gardens Oval. It was a welcoming sight to see as we’ve missed the opportunity to host finals since 2019 due to the global pandemic. The atmosphere at both games was unbelievable, with all teams participating having their supporters full of voice. I’ve got no doubt it will be similar this weekend at the Friendlies Society’s Park and Cobden Recreation Reserve.
Week 1 Finals Take-Aways
North Warrnambool – A terrific hard fought win with a multitude of players standing up in tough final conditions. Tate Porter and Jett Bermingham were outstanding in the midfield, Joe McKinnion was outstanding down back and Adam Wines is a bloody good forward. Recovery is the key for the Eagles this week, when they try to gain entry into their 3rd ever Grand Final.
South Warrnambool – A sluggish opening half, but after some position changes, were back into the game. Archie Stevens is a bonafide midfield star, Ollie Bridgewater is the best young big-man in the competition and Harry Lee has the best defensive punch in the league. A lot of good learnings from this match will hold the Roosters in good stead this week.
Portland – Portland was one of the stories of the weekend, winning their first ever Hampden League Finals game. A see-sawing affair for the third three quarters but the Tigers’ impressive, quick midfield stepped up. Skipper Daniel Jackson is a real chance in the Maskell Medal, Lachie Hupputz will dominate this competition in the coming seasons, Ben Malcolm is impressive and Tom Sharp is so important to their deeper finals aspirations.
Warrnambool – Warrnambool were impressive for the first two and a half quarters before the Tigers were too strong. Blues forward Jason Rowan was looking dangerous with five goals and a few misses (only 5 goals away from 1000) and the likes of Howard, Boyd, Worden and Mast were extremely positive, with their future kids looking bright.
Seagulls New Coach
I mentioned in last week’s column that the impending coaching announcement for Port Fairy was one of the clubs most important decisions to make in the past 20 years and last weekend they announced their new leader in Dustin McCorkell, which in my mind is a brilliant choice. What does Dustin bring to the Seagulls? He’s coached senior football before at the Warrnambool Blues, he’s featured in multiple finals and played in premierships, so he knows what success looks and feels like. Dustin has played high level football in the VFL with North Ballarat and in Geelong, so he knows the features of a strong football program. His contact list book is extensive, so I have no doubt he can attract some quality players to the club. Lastly, Dustin is a Port Fairy local, he knows the importance the club plays in the local community and is committed to getting Seagulls competing hard in the competition again. I can’t speak highly enough of the appointment, the Port Fairy Seagulls are in terrific hands for 2023.
Koroit vs North Warrnambool
Last time these two magnificent clubs met in a final match was the 2019 HFNLGrand Final. It was a close match that day, and I’m expecting something almost similar. North Warrnambool have a strong midfield and will rely on their goals kicked between their forwards and ball-winners. Koroit will be fresh, almost full strength and ready to continue the dynasty. I love their experience, their motivation to get more premierships, especially for those who have yet to score one. Koroit by 22 points.
South Warrnambool vs Portland
The team’s second appearance against one another in three weeks, but on this occasion, a different venue. Once the Roosters got their method flowing last round, they were humming together better. No Archie Stevens this week will hurt but they could get Dye and Thomas from injury. Portland are riding the finals wave, outstanding last round and will believe in their chances. Jackson, Sharp, Haylock and Jennings need to all fire to win. I believe South Warrnambool will win!
Enjoy week two of the finals!