clubs

ALEX SCOTT & STAFF
WEST GIPPSLAND FOOTBALL
NETBALL COMPETITION

Pubished on 20 April 2022
2022 SEASON PREVIEW

By David Nagel

So will Phillip Island maintain its edge over a chasing pack – or will there be a thrilling twist in the tale of the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition (WGFNC) story in 2022?

One thing’s for certain…there’s a huge appetite around the region to find out!

We have had just 11 games of football since Phillip Island edged out Cora Lynn in the epic grand final of 2019.

Wiped out, that was the story of 2020, while a block of seven games, then three weeks off, followed by a hollow block of four, which finished on July 10 last year…well that doesn’t keep this footy and netball loving community anywhere near satisfied.

It’s finally time to restart the engines, put the pedal to the metal and see who can win the race for this week’s title.

Next week, we take a close up look at netball.

 

BUNYIP

Nickname: Bulldogs

Colours: Red, white and blue

Coach: Tim McGibney

Recent Form: 2019: 6th (11-7) 2021: 8th (4-7)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Jackson Dalton (14) 22nd

2021 Team of the Year selections: 1

Last senior premiership: 2012

Key Ins: Daniel Helmore – Mid/Forward (Garfield), Riley Rundell – Mid/Forward (Longwarry), Duncan Proud – Ruck (Longwarry), Aaron Paxton – Back (Longwarry), Matt Ross – Forward (Warragul Gulls).

Key Outs: Michael Collins (Retired).

Players to watch this season? Alex Dijkstra, Dylan Cann, Riley Rundell, Matt O’Halloran.

If it’s not us this year it will be? Phillip Island. Unfortunately, they will continue their winning ways. Clear benchmark. Each year they retain the bulk of their list, keep their juniors and recruit well. Warragul Industrials have recruited really well for a second straight year and should be right up there.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? Good vibes only coming out of Bunyip so far, it’s been like a slice of heaven to have footy back and to be playing community sport again.

We say: They say good things come to those who wait. The Bulldogs brought in a certain type of player last year, which bolstered the list, but have now added the speed dynamic which could see them transform into a potential finalist. One of the two biggest watch teams this season alongside the Dusties.

 

CORA LYNN

Nickname: Cobras

Colours: Teal, red and black

Coach: Shaun Sparks

Recent Form: 2019: 2nd (15-2-1) 2021: 5th (8-3)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Nathan Gardiner (50) 1st

2021 Team of the Year selections: 2

Last senior premiership: 2016

Key Ins: Jimmy Munro- Mid (Casey Listed), Corey Machaya Forward/Mid (Narre Warren), Dillan Bass – Defender (Cranbourne), Luke Hartley – Forward/Mid (Narre Warren), Tristan Warkuss – Defender (Doveton), Hayden Spierings – Mid/Forward (Officer), Rylan Smith – Defender (Cranbourne), Kyah Cronin- Defender (Narre Warren), Mitch Wallace (Returns).

Key Outs: Travis Woodfield (Doveton), Anthony Giuliano (Retired), Ash Williams (Work).

Players to watch: Heath Briggs, Chris Johnson, Jeremy Monkton.

If not us the team to beat this year is: Tooradin. The most experienced team with a well-built list. They have a good gauge now of the West Gippy comp.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? There’s a great feel around the club at the moment. Our playing group and supporters are full of excitement and ready for a huge 2022 season. We can’t wait for it all to get started.

We say: The Cobras were overtaken by a couple last year but have too much quality and have recruited too well to slip any further down the ladder. Machaya adds a touch of class, a good replacement for the retired Giuliano, while Dillan Bass is a star and will have a massive season of half back. Still a contender.

 

DALYSTON

Nickname: Magpies

Colours: Black and white

Coach: Peter Dunlop

Recent Form: 2019: 11th (2-15) 2021: Last (1-10)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Wayne Luke (10) 43rd

2021 Team of the Year selections: Nil

Last senior premiership: 2015

Key Ins: Adam Amin (Glen Waverley Hawks), Curtis Murfett (St Pauls), Musa Amin, Jack Murray, Samir Kazizada, Omar Ashkar (All Noble Park), Jack Paravacini (Scoresby), Matt Pearce (Moe), Shoaib Akbar (Narre Warren South), Moomen Amin (Narre Warren South), Lachy Ireland (Toora).

Key Outs: Nathan Walsh (Canterbury), Harry Wright (Tarwin).

Players to watch: Adam Amin (Key Forward), Curtis Murfett (Midfield), Michael Marotta (Midfield).

If not us the team to beat this year is: Phillip Island…the team to beat again. They are well drilled, have a quality junior program providing youth coming through to ensure sustainability and also the clout to get top-end talent in the door. They will be hard to beat again.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? The footy club is really excited for what this season may bring. Getting Skeet Brosnan in to coach the under 16’s has been a huge boost and the boys are enjoying it. The under 18’s have been putting in the hard yards and the senior group is mostly returning with an influx of top-end talent giving us some belief that we can make headway up the ladder. We also really enjoyed the practice game tournament organised by Ben Soumilas from Inverloch over the summer. Fantastic initiative and was great for our prep.

We say: Every club has injuries, but the Magpies were smashed at the top-end of their list last year and will naturally improve with the return of those players. Curtis Murfett is a midfield jet, while a fully-fit Michael Marotta and an influx of players from Noble Park will see the Magpies pull a surprise or two this season. If they finish last again…we’re in for one very healthy competition.

 

GARFIELD

Nickname: Stars

Colours: Green and yellow

Coach: Paul Carbis

Recent Form: 2019: 8th (7-10-1) 2021: 6th (7-4)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Matt Rennie (33) 3rd

2021 Team of the Year selections: 1

Last senior premiership: 2013

Key Ins: Nick Lang – Mid/Forward (Emerald), Mehdi Daoud – Mid (Emerald), Kurtis Harper – Defender (Drouin), Ryan Smith – Mid/Forward (Catani), Ian Melrose – mid (Kew).

Key Outs: Daniel Helmore (Bunyip), Matt Rennie (The Basin), Lachie Schreurs (Tarwin), Ryan Hillard (Hampton Park), Sam Batson (Buln Buln).

Players to watch this season? Jahmain Harrison, Jett Pickering, Jack Greenall.

If it’s not us this year it will be? Phillip Island will be hard to beat again, but watch out for Bunyip, they’re well coached and have picked up some handy players.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? It’s a new dynamic at the club with the amount that have left. But we’ve had a good feeling from the start and everyone is champing at the bit to get started.

We say: Key departures have absolutely smashed the Stars list in the off-season, but the club is in good hands with Paul Carbis a high-quality coach who has the bigger picture in mind. One thing you can never do with Garfield is write off its competitive spirit…and that will come to the fore again. Might not win many games…but we’re tipping the Stars will be one of the most admired teams in the WGFNC by the end of the season!

 

INVERLOCH-KONGWAK

Nickname: Sea Eagles

Colours: Navy blue, white and gold

Coach: Ben Soumilas

Recent Form: 2019: 4th (12-6) 2021: 2nd (9-2)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Tristan Van Driel (19) 11th

2021 Team of the Year selections: 4

Last senior premiership: 2017

Key Ins: Marcus Toussaint (Ruck/Forward), Ethan Park – Mid (Fish Creek), Gareth Park Mid/Forward (Fish Creek), Tom Wyatt – Utility (Returning – Former Captain).

Key Outs: Campbell McKenzie (Year Off), Ryan Sparkes – Mid (Wonthaggi), Jack Hutchinson – Mid/Forward (Wonthaggi), Cooper McInnes – Forward (Tarwin).

Players to watch this season? Lachie Scott, Corey Casey, Oscar Toussaint, Ethan and Gareth Park.

If it’s not us this year it will be? I genuinely believe any of the teams that make the finals could win it. The last couple of seasons have proven that all of the top sides can outperform each other on their best day. I think any team that gets to finals with a full healthy list could get the momentum they need to end up with a cup in their hands.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years?

It’s been similar to other years with a core group of highly motivated players that drive high standards and maintain culture. When other players start their preparation or join the club, they have no option but to embrace our culture. However, there is a special feeling bubbling away amongst our players, volunteers and supporters.  We’ve had some small tastes of football being back with our summer comp games and practice matches. Reconnecting with everyone in the Gold White and Blue has certainly created a buzz around the community.

We say:  McKenzie, Sparkes, Hutchinson and McInnes are pretty big outs for the Sea Eagles, but the club has brought in enough talent to almost compensate. As a club, under the guidance of Ben Soumilas, the Sea Eagles just do so many things right, both on and off the field…they almost deserve success! They’ll be top-four at least again this season.

 

KILCUNDA-BASS

Nickname: Panthers

Colours: Maroon, blue and white

Coach: Lee Rowe

Recent Form: 2019: 10th (3-15) 2021: 9th (3-8)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Taylor Gibson (20) 10th

2021 Team of the Year selections: 1

Last senior premiership: 2013

If it’s not us this year it will be? Any team that finishes in the top six can win it.

Key Ins: Ben Eddy – Mid (Cairns), Dale Gawley – Ruck (Montrose), Nathan Foote – Mid (Narre Warren), Kye Benson – Mid (Wonthaggi), Anthony Daraio – Defender (Officer), Dale Crawford – Defender (Wonthaggi), Dale Mock – Defender (Toora).

Key Outs: Jackson Nolan, Jayden Nolan, Matiya Sigeti, Hayden Edgerton.

Players to watch this season: Phil Winmar, Lleyton Cartmel.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? There’s a really good energy with some new faces around the club. Routine, and the realisation that the football season is going ahead has been a great focus away from the obvious disruption over the past years.

We say: This proud club is not comfortable with ninth and 10th placings over the last couple of years and new-coach Rowe has added some exciting talent to make a climb up the ladder a possibility. Dale Gawley is an exciting left-foot ruckman who is sure to cause some headaches, while Nathan Foote also brings a solid resume down the highway. Will improve their win-loss ratio from last year.

 

KOOWEERUP

Nickname: Demons

Colours: Red and navy blue

Coach: Rhys Nisbet

Recent Form: 2019: 5th (11-7) 2021: 11th (1-10)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Nathan Voss (29) 5th

2021 Team of the Year selections: 3

Last senior premiership: 1981

Key Ins: Nathan Muratore (Kilcunda-Bass), Jason Wells (Longwarry), Jake Smith (Kilcunda-Bass), Cosi Anagnostou (Noble Park), Brodie Yapp (Fair Park).

Key Outs: None.

Players to watch out for this season: There’s a host of young fellas I’m keen to see in action but I can’t wait to see Jay Wells back in the red and blue!

If it’s not us this year it will be: The Island will be the side to beat again this year.

We say: Will the Demons break their 41-year drought…not likely…but expect a much-improved Demons outfit from the kindergarten-aged outfit we saw last year. The Demons are building nicely, and the inclusion of Wells and Muratore set to generate some excitement and leadership within the young group.

 

KORUMBURRA-BENA

Nickname: Giants

Colours: Orange, white and grey

Coach: Leigh Cole

Recent Form: 2019: 9th (4-14) 2021: 10th (2-9)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Daniel Willis (17) 14th

2021 Team of the Year selections: Nil

Last senior premiership: Nil.

Key Ins: Paul Fermanis, Josh Westerman, Bailey Nation (Somerville), Daniel Brown (Bonbeach).

Key Outs: Brock Dorling, Ben Fitzpatrick (Neerim South), Josh Hill, Will Little (Balwyn) Cory Hargrave (Retired).

Players to watch out for this season: Bailey Patterson, Paul Fermanis, Matt Lello.

If it’s not us this year it will be: Phillip Island has been the benchmark in recent seasons and everybody will be chasing them again.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? Our senior players have been great throughout the pre-season. They are a young group that are keen to get out there and play. Overall numbers have been a bit lower than we would like through our Reserves players but we have a great young core of senior players that we can build a club for the future around, mixed in with a bit of experience that has been added to the club over the last two years.

We say: The Giants only won two of their 11 games last year, against Kilcunda-Bass and Kooweerup, but competitive performances against Bunyip (9 points) and Cora Lynn (23 points) in their last five games suggested the Giants were on the improve. Fermanis is a jet, while former Interleague player Bailey Patterson is still young and ready to fire after injuring his shoulder in round two last year.

 

NAR NAR GOON

Nickname: The Goon

Colours: Navy blue and white

Coach: Luke Young

Recent Form: 2019: 7th (10-8) 2021: 4th (8-3)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Troy McDermott (33) 3rd

2021 Team of the Year selections: 4

Key Ins: Dermott Yawney – Key Position (Pakenham), JJ Peni – Mid/Forward (Pakenham).

Key Outs: Ryan Bromley (Berwick), Trent Noy (Family), Chase Blackwood (Work), Daniel Battaglin (Retired), Zac Johnston, Jacobus Hynes (Overseas/Cricket), Sean McDermott, Toby Sherer (Yarragon).

Players to watch out for this season: We had several Under-18s exposed to senior football last year so we are hopeful that these young players continue to develop; home grown players who look to have senior careers at the club ahead of them. Flynn Parker, Tom Ferrari, Cooper Pursell, Nate Pipicelli. And Kyle O’Sullivan.

If it’s not us this year it will be: I think once again the top 3-4 from the last few years; Phillip Island, Tooradin, Cora Lynn and Inverloch are the main contenders for the year with Phillip Island likely retaining favouritism due to the quality and depth of U18s that they have available. Warragul Industrials for mine will be the big improver, extremely well coached and resourced, with their lack of juniors to affect their depth against the very top few sides.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? The entire club is really excited that we can hopefully all get back to a complete season, although I suspect there will be challenges with player availability throughout the year which could provide some interesting results. The club is in a great position with two very good coaches taking on our Under 16s and 18s positions and they both have some really strong support assisting them, whilst our reserves will be extremely youthful. Training has been in the improvement as we near the start of the season, the pre-season has been fairly condensed as we were probably one of the later sides to commence after Christmas.

We say:  The loss of Ryan Bromley is a huge one for the Goon, with the star half back almost second picked (behind you know who) in last year’s Team of the Year. Noy is another key loss, but the potential of Dermott Yawney is simply enormous. Consistency is the key for the Goon…the gap between their best and worst last year was quite stark!

 

PHILLIP ISLAND

Nickname: Bulldogs

Colours: Red, white and blue

Coach: Beau Vernon

Recent Form: 2019: Premiers (17-0-1) 2021: Minor Premiers (10-1)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Max Blake (39) 2nd

2021 Team of the Year selections: 6

Last senior premiership: 2019

Key Ins: Jack Taylor – Forward – (Returning), Cameron Brown – Utility (Tooradin-Dalmore)

Key Outs: Nick Anderson (Tarwin).

Players to watch out for this season: Harry O’Brien has played Gippsland Power the last couple of years, his first year out of under 18s. He’s an in and under, good pressure player, could play anywhere on the ground, forward, mid or high-defender, where still working through that. Will Taylor has had the most improvement out of any player over the pre-season. Half forward and I’m expecting him to have a good year.

If not us this year it will be: You just don’t know do you, until things settle down. Tooradin has got a lot of talent, Warragul Industrials have picked up a heap, Bunyip is looking good, then you’ve got your Inverloch’s, Cora Lynn’s and Nar Nar Goon’s as well. It’s so hard to predict.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years?

Since the start of February, it’s just been the best feeling for everyone at the club, we all feel part of it again, it’s been awesome and we’re looking forward to getting into the games.

We say: Most of the coaches in this preview have identified the bleating obvious, that the Doggies are a clear top pick to win this season’s flag. Two premierships, then basically two years without consistent footy, it will be interesting to see if the Doggies have maintained their edge over their rivals. The only sad part is….without Covid…they may have been going for five in a row!

 

TOORADIN-DALMORE

Nickname: Seagulls

Colours: Green, red and white

Coach: Lachie Gillespie

Recent Form: 2019: 3rd (12-5-1) 2021: 3rd (8-3)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Stewart Scanlon (28) 6th

2021 Team of the Year selections: 3

Last senior premiership: 1997

Key Ins: Brent Macaffer – Mid (Eltham), Adrian Gileno – Forward (East Burwood), Matt Livermore – Mid (Emerald), Lauchlan Gregson – Forward/Ruck (Catani), Trent Adams – Mid/Forward (Catani).

Key Outs: Andrew Dean – Forward (Rye), Cam Brown – Wing (Phillip Island), Nick Schumann – Midfielder (Caulfield Bears).

Players to watch out for this season? Lewis Hill, Brad Butler, Jimmy Tresize, Cooper Shipp, Liam Adams.

If it’s not us this year it will be? Phillip Island. Why not? They have been consistently good for such a long time and I can’t see too much changing.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? Everyone around the club is excited and can’t wait to actually get out and play. It’s been a very difficult few years for people in general, but those hard times have definitely made our players more appreciative of the small things like being able to go and have a kick with a bunch of your mates!

We say: From this humble point of view, this is the team to seriously challenge Phillip Island this season. The Gulls were building some decent momentum towards the middle of winter last year and were looking dangerous ahead of the July 10 shutdown to the season. Dean is a huge loss, but if Gileno can replace him up forward, and Macaffer and Livermore can play their best footy, the Gulls might have a date with the Doggies on September 10 this year!

 

WARRAGUL INDUSTRIALS

Nickname: Dusties

Colours: Maroon, blue and gold

Coach: Harmit Singh

Recent Form: 2019: Last (2-16) 2021: 7th (5-6)

2021 Leading goalkicker: Anthony Bruhn (21) 8th

2021 Team of the Year selections: Nil

Last senior premiership: 1996

Key Ins: Nick Visser (Poowong), Todd Beck (Drouin), Bailey Beck (Drouin), Kane Oldham (Longwarry), Adrian De Sando (Bundoora), Luke Walker (Fairpark), Sam Russell (Garfield), Luke Smith (Hastings), Andrew Green (Palmerston Magpies).

Key Outs: Daniel Martini (Retired), Matt Brewer (Retired), Harrison Law (Vermont), Darren Granger (Stony Creek), Matt Brown (Stony Creek).

Players To Watch: Mason McGarrity; small forward, really strong body of work over the pre-season, applies great pressure in the front half and consistently has a high number of score involvements.

Kyle Beveridge: 22-year-old who will play a Mid/Forward role in 2022. Gets up and down the ground and draws the ball, quite evasive – goal kicker. Deputy Vice Captain in 2022.

Shane Brewster: Nine-time club best and fairest winner. Club Captain and has more support around him in 2022 and has been an outstanding driver of culture at our footy club.

If it’s not us this year it will be?

Phillip Island. Kept the majority of the list together, quality juniors coming through, consistency in the coaching program and hard to go past. Tooradin are another club who I feel will improve again and added some real quality at the top end of their list headlined by Brent Macaffer.

What’s the feeling been like around the club, training for a potential full season for the first time in three years? It’s been quite positive; we have added some quality to our list and got more depth which will hopefully give us an opportunity to grow as a footy club in 2022. Furthermore, we will field under-16’s for the first time in a couple of years which has brought great energy and enthusiasm to the club.

I would think clubs and players across the league are excited to get back to playing football consistently, and more broadly, get back to connecting with each other as it’s something we have all missed being involved in Community Sport. I wish all football and netball club’s the very best for season 2022.

We say: After two years of intense recruiting the Dusties are ready to…at the very least…challenge for a finals spot this year. Last in 2019, then seventh last year, the Dusties were showing some promising signs before the plug was pulled on last season. But with all this talent coming in, the biggest challenge rests on the shoulders of coach Harmit Singh. If he can get this talented list to gel…well the sky’s the limit!