Division 1 – Season Launch Review
With Good Will Hunter
The SFNL Division 1 season kicked off on Sunday afternoon with the much-anticipated Season Launch clash between Dingley and St Pauls at Trevor Barker Oval.
Both sides emerged after another long and torturous pre-season confident of starting their 2016 campaigns on a high, but optimism quickly turned to despair for St Pauls.
First-term ankle injuries to star play-maker Liam Wilson and high-profile recruit Justin Berry left gaping holes in the Dogs’ line up and the team short on rotations for the rest of the match. And it showed, particularly late in the game as several young Dogs began to tire.
Dingley capitalised on St Pauls’ misfortune, seizing control of the game in the second quarter before putting the foot down and running out 78-point winners.
St Pauls coach Richard Houston was true to his word and played a number of youngsters in his team. And while a number of them showed promise, the losses of Wilson and Berry robbed the team of much-need on-field leadership.
Dingley, meanwhile, picked up where they left off last season, and showed they can adequately cover the departures of a host of premiership stars during the off-season. The Dingoes’ exalted running game was again at its destructive best, and the Dogs could find no answers to their slick ball movement thought the corridor.
Reigning Dingoes best and fairest winner Daniel Farmer was clearly best on ground with a stunning display in attack and on the ball. He booted four goals for the winners, including the first of the match, and was a prolific ball-winner further up the ground.
Veteran defenders Lee Wonnacott and Tony Lavars stood out for the victors with their ball movement out of defence and their experience was telling against a young St Pauls outfit. Marcus Freeman and new recruit Chris Horton-Milne also shone while Calhan ‘the Dream’ McQueen booted four majors.
The Dogs, meanwhile, weren’t without standout contributors of their own. Nick Shannon did a power of work in the ruck for most of the day, and provided the highlight of the afternoon with a spectacular mark and goal in the final term. Fellow recruit Josh Verlin also presented well up forward and effected every contest.
St Pauls’ undersized defensive line up was at times exploited by the Dingoes’ tall timber, however, Trent McIntyre and Kieran Knox performed admirably under duress.
But wiry teenager James Sziller was most impressive with his work rate, tenacity and ball-winning ability. He will no doubt be a player to watch in coming seasons.
This match may not go down as one of the most memorable in recent seasons, but it will not quickly be forgotten by Dingley debutant Kristen Feehan. The young ‘Pup’ booted four goals (three in the first half) and was one of the Dingoes’ best in his first senior game.
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Dan Farmer bursts clear again. Photo credit: Michael Walsh.[/caption]
Division 2 – Round 1 Review
With Jason Barbin
Round 1 of Division 2 in the Southern Football Netball League is done and dusted and boy oh boy were there some surprising results!
Keysborough 8.13 (61) def Skye 7.9 (51)
The Burra got their first win of the season but had to hold off a resurgent Bombers outfit in the process. Neither side played their best football, but both showed positive signs for the rest of the season. Will Gayfer was slick in defence for Keysborough as it took a 23-point half time lead. Marc Frizell was dangerous for Skye as it mounted a second half comeback while Ben Evans took his opportunities up forward. In the end it wasn’t enough as three goals from Cory Hargreaves sealed the win for Keysborough.
Caulfield 15.13 (103) def Chelsea Heights 13.11 (89)
The Bears caused the first upset of the season while announcing themselves as a team to watch in 2016 after defeating the Heighters by 14 points. Tom Heagney starred with four goals for the victors who powered away to a 26-point half time lead thanks to an 11-goal half. Although the Bears could only manage four goals after the long break, their back half was superb in holding Chelsea Heights to six. Former St Pauls utility Nick Gilbert got plenty of the ball in his debut while Matthew Johansson (three goals) and Andrew Cupit were the best for the Chelsea Heights.
Black Rock 9.4 (58) def by Hampton 10.12 (72)
The boys from the Toolbox got away to a perfect start with a win over the Jets in a confidence boosting performance. Tom Burley and Lachlan Batt kicked three majors for Hampton while Rhys Pierce was best on ground in the hard-fought win, which saw the Hammers bag six goals in the second half. Black Rock wasn’t disgraced in its first Division 2 match since 2012 and showed it has the talent to compete in the second flight in 2016. Nick Hellyer was named as the Jets’ best while Kristian Bliesner bagged three goals.
Port Melbourne Colts 27.18 (180) def Murrumbeena 13.3 (81)
The Colts kicked off their Southern Football Netball League career in scintillating style with a 99-point victory over 2015 grand finalists Murrumbeena. Port Melbourne had winners all over the ground, finishing with 12 different goal kickers led by Jason Butty with eight while Matthew Dumbleton was named best on ground. The Colts set up the win with a 12-goal to six opening half before surging forward and booting another 15 in the second half to secure their first win of the season. Darcy Hargrave (two goals) was best on ground for the Beena.
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Beena had no answers for the dominant Colts. Photo credit: David Cannizzo[/caption]
Heatherton 9.17 (71) def Springvale Districts 4.8 (32)
The Tonners opened the season with a vital win over Springy and produced a performance that may surprise many as the season progresses. Kane Tucker was best on ground with three goals in the win while Matthew Van Schajik and Pat Jamieson finished with two. Heatherton started strongly and led by 17 points at half time but inaccurate kicking in the third quarter allowed Springvale to fight back and the Demons only trailed by 12 points at the final break. Heatherton proved to be too strong in the end however, booting five goals to one in the final term to win by 39 points. Lem Nguyen was named the best for Springy.
Division 3 – Round 1 Review
With Andrew Paloczi
It was great to have the footy back, but Round 1 was surprisingly lopsided with just a couple of close games.
Ashwood 12.9 (81) def by Endeavour Hills 14.8 (92)
Ashwood hosted the closest match of the day, with the visiting Endeavour Hills hanging onto a three-point lead at the last change.
The previously accurate Falcons managed just one goal four behinds in the final term, but the Magpies couldn't capitalise, adding only two points themselves.
The margin of victory for Endeavour Hills was 11 points. For the defeated Ashwood, Dale Carroll deserves credit for his six majors, which accounted for half his team’s goals.
For the victorious Falcons, Byron Hoe was named the best and Mitch Whatman kicked four goals.
Lyndale 12.9 (81) def South Yarra 9.6 (60)
South Yarra battled it out in the last term, winning that stanza by a couple of goals, but went down by 21 points to home team Lyndale.
The Lions gave the Pumas a few concerns early and the visitors took a one-goal lead to the quarter time huddle. But Lyndale was all over the Lions in the second term, keeping them scoreless and racing to a 28-point half time advantage.
This was extended to 33 by the last change.
Brad Carroll booted four goals for the triumphant Lyndale and Daniel Wilson was named its best player.
Lyndhurst 7.5 (47) def by Hallam 15.10 (100)
New senior side, Lyndhurst won its first quarter and was just 10 points behind Hallam at the last change.
But the Hawks allowed Lightning just one more goal for the rest of the game, whilst slamming through eight of their own.
Shane Thomas and Andrew Daly managed five goals each for Hallam in its 53-point victory.
The SFNL radio team bestowed best on ground status on Daly, but another who impressed them was Manny Peresso who was superb in the midfield.
Ismael Pieterse earned the honour of being Lyndhurst's first ever goal scorer at senior level.
One sour note for Hallam was an ankle injury that resulted in Chris Molnar being hospitalised.
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Lyndhurst fought hard, but couldn't get the points in their SFNL debut. Photo credit: Joanne Vamplew
Mount Waverley 20.18 (138) def CPL 3.4 (22)
Mount Waverley issued an early statement at Mayfield Park, destroying Carrum Patterson Lakes by a stunning 116 points.
James Gough returned to the Mountain Lions after a season away, and the man who booted over 100 goals for the side in 2014 managed just one on this occasion.
Yet the team finished with 20 goals, half of which came from the imposing Luke Galle. Surprisingly he was only named fourth best, with Michael Keem selected as best on ground.
Doveton Eagles 22.7 (139) def Sandown Cobras 5.7 (37)
Another premiership contender, Doveton did not waste time sounding a warning to its rivals, obliterating the visiting Sandown by 102 points.
Peter Dye was expected to have a major impact in the Eagles’ forward line this season and backed up such forecasts with seven majors. Teammate, Jarrod O’Neill contributed 3 goals in a best on ground display.
Moorabbin Kangaroos 15.12 (102) def Dandenong 4.4 (28)
Moorabbin enjoyed a commanding performance on its home turf, accounting for Dandenong by 74 points. Jack Williams impressed with seven goals, after transferring to the Kangaroos from Kyabram District Football Netball League.
He was chosen as Moorabbin’s second best player for the day, behind Zdenek Hostalek.
Under 19 – Season Launch Review
With Alex Charles
The season got off to a terrific start last weekend during the SFNL season launch as St Pauls defeated Dingley by 114 points at the Trevor Barker Oval. This Under 19s match was significant for the competition as it was a standalone fixture between the sides across multiple divisions. It was also great exposure for the young players particularly for Ryan Kreymborg. The young gun booted 6 goals for the Bulldogs on his way to being the first nominee for the 2016 Leader Shooting Star Award. Nevertheless, while St Pauls will take great confidence from the victory, Dingley are a quality outfit and should bounce back as the regular season begins.