Round One: Men's Football Preview
Division 1 – Round 1 Preview
The big-name game strikes again with several highly decorated players looking to run out on to JL Murphy Reserve on Friday Night under lights. The Port Melbourne Colts have retained Marley Williams and after signing at Doncaster East, 3 months later they have reeled back in former WAFL star Chris Deluca. Following a great show of player retention, they have recruited revered local footballer Paul “Chewy’’ Scanlon, VFL experienced talent in Callan Wellings, Darrean Wyatt and Jake Anderson and 2 new Barry Priest Medal winners with David Kovacevic and Steve Brewer. St.Kilda City have lost Aaron Edwards in the for season but kept big names such as Brownlow medallist Dane Swan, Luke Potts and Brayden Irving. Misilifi Faimalo and Mykelti Lefau will be on Richmond’s VFL list in 2022 but hopefully we’ll see them in the saint’s colours soon.
Mordialloc have recruited big man Zinzi Mosimane and Ryan Santon, both formerly from Frankston YCW and a neighbour from down the highway Ryan Stringer, formerly a member of East Brighton’s leadership group. East Malvern have suffered some heavy losses in Luke Duffy, Mackenzie Bristow and Ben Timms but have brought back some big names. Michael Cooke has returned to the panthers bringing his goal kicking prowess back the club. Alongside him we will see another forward in Luke Armstrong and midfielder Nathan McDonald. Both clubs have had a history of keeping the competition on its toes with strong bursts of play and plenty of scoring efforts. A game like this will help set the tone for the season.
A clash of titans will be seen at Jack Barker Oval on the weekend. The Dingley Dingoes have lost League Medallist Chris Horton-Milne but their success has attracted notorious names such as Tim McGenniss, Jake Mullen and Manny Dolan. Justin Van Unen had an injury riddled 2021 season but looks to be in great shape for round one. Cheltenham have lost Sean McLaren and Kyle Parsons to the EDFL however the ever-consistent club is looking to a strong 2022. Rising star Austin Johnson has been placed on Richmond’s VFL development list, a great testament to the young guns at Cheltenham. The last SFNL grand final we saw was between these two heavy hitters, a strong season should come naturally.
The Bentleigh derby takes place at McKinnon Reserve under lights this year as Division’s one stalwarts St. Paul’s-McKinnon prepare to take on a young Bentleigh side. The Demons Under nineteens sides have seen great success under coach Liam Dimattina and Senior coach Peter Pirera will be excited to see the talent filter up to the Senior team. Bentleigh have lost two key players in Mitchell Smart and Michael Rogers but their young squad will grow to fill these roles. Rising stars in Jacob Curry and transitional leaders Josh Mackie and Joel Nankervis are footballers to keep an eye on. Following the loss of Curtis Murfett, St.Paul's have looked back to their juniors and locked in former juniors Dino Karamoshos and former AFL player Liam Sumner. Another returning player in Harry Hunt, the star forward looking formidable for the 2022 season. The Doggies were hit hard by injuries early in the 2021 but bounced back towards the season cut short. These two clubs will be ones to watch with plenty of talent on reserve to keep them strong through the year.
A Key signing for the Springvale Districts has been former AFL player Tyrone Vickery, bringing 125 AFL games worth of experience to the club. On the other side of the scale an exciting new talent in Shakore Bragg-Taylor has come across from Hampton Hammers. Only playing his first season last year his talent on the field is formidable. At Cranbourne, Casey Demons VFL players Mitch White, George Grey, Corey Ellison and Jarryd Barker have linked with the Eagles for the 2022 season and we’re awaiting to see if they’ll make their debut. Following rumours club legend may have linked with Karingal, Marc Holt has committed to Cranbourne and will be a tough opponent in Southern. Springvale Districts will have something to prove coming up into the Division one competition and have been preparing since November. Cranbourne are looking to make their mark on the competition against fellow newbies. A great end to round one will be seeing the two highly rated teams coming head-to-head in a new competition.
Division 2 – Round 1 Preview
Caulfield will open their campaign full of confidence after looking like a side that could cause some real damage come finals time last year, before the season was derailed. Whilst holding onto most of their list that took them to 9 wins in 2021, they have since added big man Dean Heta as well as former NEAFL winger Lachie Tanner. Coach Chris O’Keeffe will be confident this squad can take the next step and be one of the main premiership contenders in 2022. From a new face to a familiar face. Keysborough will again push for top dog in Division 2 this season. They were as solid as ever last season and Chris Smith has gone and added a haul of talented footballers. Nick Beer comes across from the EFL fresh off a great season for Mulgrave. They have parted ways with a few young guns but the ins suggest that Keysy will be a solid as ever in Div 2 and take it right up to anyone and everyone.
Stalwart of the Eastern Footy League, Michael Cardamone will be leading Doveton into their very first SFNL game. The coach and club have lofty expectations in the Southern League, and they have had no qualms in saying so. They have recruited heavily and expect to have an immediate impact on this division as well as the league. Certainly, a team to watch in 2022 and we wish them all the best joining The SFNL. Hampton Park looks to consolidate in their second season in the division. They handled themselves well last year and took the promotion in their stride. Adding Berwick gun Trent Thomas as well as onballer Ryan Hillard. They have improved their depth as well as their top end talent and will be a big player in 2022.
The Bombers will be hoping to split the ledger the other way after losing more than they won in 2021 and they certainly have the talent to do so. Adding Dan Laversha, a star from Gembrook will only help the cause even further. Their midfield is looking very strong and even though coach Luke Martin didn’t land the big pillars they may have been hoping to sign. Skye looks more than ready to step up into the final’s equation. A challenging and exciting season lies ahead for The Bombers. East Brighton will look to continue on what was an exciting season in 2021. As good a team as any to watch on their day, they showed what they are capable of, and Coach Andrew Kahofer will be expecting more of the same if not better. Losing the skipper is never an easy thing to cover at any club, but with the amount and quality of players they have acquired, including Harry Allan from Wangaratta and Tom Backman from the MPNFL they will be more than confident to build on what was a great 2021.
Another new face to Division 2 this season. Highett come down from the top tier with plenty to prove and a chance to launch the clubs next assault on top level footy. Coach Brad Berry has added a string of quality players. Including Will Barron from St Kev’s and a host of talented players from the Outer East like Bailey Retzlaff and Alex Maylor. With the club adding so many quality players and losing so few, they will be very keen to kickstart their ascent back into the top division. A new coach and an influx of handy new recruits has Heatherton only looking forward after what was a tough 2021. Winning only 2 games, the change of coach and some fresh faces has everyone excited at The Tunners. A new era always brings some unknowns, which is the case for Heatherton. But change is as good as a holiday and they are one of the most interesting prospects in Division 2 for season 2022.
Without doubt, the recruit of the season, former Melbourne Demon Luke Tapscott will be the talk of the town at Chelsea Heights. His experience and talent make him a standout recruit in any comp in the country. Coach Josh Bull must be counting his lucky stars it is with his side. After a tough season last year. Chelsea have also added some really nice pieces around Tapscott. Including former premiership players and some key pillars at both ends. Chelsea Heights will be looking to bounce back in a big way and the sky is the limit.
Division 3 – Round 1 Preview
Kicking off round one for the Division three competition is Ashwood playing at home against South Yarra. Ashwood have recruited several players from the MPNFL in Fletcher Kearney, Hayden Kellett and Michael Altenkirch. After a shaky season in 2021, the magpies look set to have a much more rounded team for the 2022 season. The South Yarra side will be coached by former premiership player Kieran Bradley who will be leading a cast of new players into their first match for the lions. Both sides have prepared for a much more sustainable approach to the season following several lows during last year. Keep an eye on these two sides as they attempt their climb up the division three ladder.
Following a winless 2021 season Murrumbeena were relegated to Division three. This has only motivated the club more following the appointment of Liam Wilson as head coach. Wilson was a champion footballer at St.Paul’s and has led the charge to a strong group of new recruits and a great show of player retention. Former club Best and Fairest Jake Semmel has returned to the club alongside ex-junior player Steve Tolongs. We may see Murrumbeena sing their song for the first time in three years, but not if Endeavour Hills have anything to say about it. The Falcons have looked back to their past players too recruiting ex-junior player Dion Elefantis from Keysborough and Mitch Anderson from Noble Park. While we have seen a few changes on the field with Endeavour Hills, there is sure to be a strong display from the club lead by three time best and fairest Ben Swift.
The other new lions on the block following a promotion from division four, Carrum Patterson Lakes enter the competition on the back of a 12-0 season. Lead by playing coach Rohan Bleeker, there is sure to be a great display of skill from the lions as he runs out alongside last years league leading goal scorer, Alex Wilson. Bleeker and Wilson both tied for the league best and fairest and will lead a string of strong, tall recruits such as Anthony Giuliano, Luke Frith and Gus Gordon. Black Rock look to give them a run for their money after solidifying a string list with some new faces at the Jets. Black Rock have always been a steady force in the Division three competition, now backed by Kieran Taig from Mornington, the ruck will have plenty to work with in fellow newbies Alex Walker from Bentleigh and Stuart Wines from St.Bede’s-Mentone.
Narre South Saints look ahead at a big day of footy, debuting their inaugural women’s side at 5:00 PM following their Thirds, reserves and Seniors. Their second season in the Southern Football Netball League looks to be another big one, a strong collecting of recruits means we can expect a great display from all teams at Strathaird Reserve. While departure of Danny Brewster will be a large hole to fill, the club has retained several key forwards to make up for what they’ve lost. Clayton travel to come up against the saints with a strong defence and a deep talent pool to lean on. The Clays had a strong 2022 campaign, and it does not look like they have lost momentum since their last match. The impact Clayton will have on the competition is hard to predict but they will go in swinging.
Division 4 – Round 1 Preview
South Mornington host round one with new senior football coach Michael Hawken. Hawken has over 20 years of coaching experience and looks more than prepared to take the tigers on a journey up the ladder. Without much success on the field in 2021, South Mornington have gone hard to recruit players to strengthen their numbers and hopefully lead to a stronger 2022. The Tigers come up against the Hampton Hammers, after falling on hard times the club has been relegated from Division two to Division four. After rallying together with help from the league the club is looking forward to building itself up and cementing its success in a new era.
Dandenong host the round one clash against the Dolphins and are doing so with class. In a great initiative from the Red Legs, there will be a vaccination clinic bus from Monash Health running from 10:00-5:00. Dandenong have established a strong leadership group with Zach Cookson and Dylan Diacono leading Dandenong into the 2022 season as Co-Captains. A formidable opponent for Dandenong, the Frankston Dolphins is looking stronger than ever. Led by Andy Mathers and joint Vice captains Scott Stegehuis and Tyler Wooster, these three players alone look ready to give division four clubs a scare. Rich Mathers will be leading the new look pod and will ensure they are on their rise to the top this season.
The Navy boys host the hawks this weekend down at Cerberus in what looks to be a good contest to start their year. Due to the nature of the Cerberus Football Club, it’s hard to make a prediction as to how their year will go. The dogs always manage to showcase some top talents and will keep us on our toes throughout the season. A highlight of their field for the Hallam Hawks was Alex Kerr presenting a Welcome to Country and some memories of Shane Warne at Shane Warne's memorial. Hallam has previously bosted a strong playing list woven into a great club culture around their Women’s Footballers and Netballers. Look forward to seeing how the Hawks go on the field in 2022.
The Doveton Eagles have always been a stalwart of the Southern Football Netball League. Through their highs and lows, led by President Jenny Davis we have seen the club strengthening itself off the field to prepare for success on the field. Several new recruits have come on board and players have signed on to stay with the Eagles for the new season a great effort from playing coach and senior captain Josh Johns. Lyndhurst have had a field day recruiting during their preseason. A new president and coach look like they will lead the lightning to a powerful start.
Moorabbin Kangaroos kick start a new era of Football with a merged women’s football side, alongside St.Paul’s-McKinnon. The beginning of a new team has come alongside some new appointments off the field in new coach Steven Ralph and new president Muhammad Kiki. The Lyndale Pumas have had a strong show of support off the field in the last few years and look like they are on the path of continued club sustainability. The Pumas have picked up several footballers to round out their senior team and will be set for a strong season.