James Ried

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2015 says goodbye to four combatants and welcomes as many new ones as the long season takes its opening stride. Last years Premiers Hampton Rovers and runners-up Parkdale Vultures made their exodus to Premier B, while Old Haileyburians and Old Ivanhoe Grammarians slide down to join Premier C along with Williamstown CYMS and Therry Penola jumping up from Division 1. However, in the end newcomers or old-timers to the section are irrelevant once games begin. The first matchup always feels it carries double the points and importance to catapulting a good season. True or not there’s no arguing footballs winning simplicity.

Following Division 1’s duo to Premier C I’ve seen how dominant Williamstown CYMS and Therry Penola could be. The step up in competition is sorely needed as they clearly reigned supreme from the rest of the section. Therry Penola went the regular season undefeated until losing their Semi-Final and Grand Final meetings with Williamstown. Will be an avid bystander to see how the two handle new competition, and if they will sink or swim. Therry and the CY’s could replicate Hampton’s back-to-back promotions as their lists and fitness have only grown in the offseason.

Old Haileybury and Old Ivanhoe fought out a tough season in Premier B with five wins and a struggle for consistency against quality teams as the two make the move to Premier C. Haileybury have enlisted Daniel Hughes as new senior coach as the Bloods have slowly dropped off over the years. Hughes and the many new recruits set to stop the bleeding and revitalise the proud club. Old Ivanhoe had solid hit outs against fellow Premier C teams Therry Penola and Marcellin during the preseason; the boys look likely to come out as a completely different team to 2014.

Old Camberwell and Peninsula were looking strong midway through last season, especially the Pirates, as they were one game out of the four. However both teams fell off in the back half of the season, finishing 7th and 8th. Peninsula sweated it out against Rosebud in their final preseason game and showed signs of things to come, while Old Camberwell have kept quiet on their preseason outings.

Oakleigh finished last year 8-10 but are shaping to be dangerous in 2015. The Krushers have won all three of their preseason games including Premier B side Caulfield Grammarians. PEGS have also spruced up since last season, with promising results against Therry Penola and Marcellin in recent weeks. Much like Oakleigh, their average 9-9 win-loss season should easily be achieved and surpassed with their promise of form.

Monash Blues and Marcellin both failed in last season’s finals campaign and will be more than eager to write their wrongs. Monash finished 3rd while Marcellin ended as minor Premiers. Monash was knocked out of the elimination final and the Eagles fell short and dropped out in straight sets. Throughout the pre-season Marcellin have looked on a mission and capped it off with a win over Premier side Old Brighton. Monash couldn’t defeat Old Melbournians in their warm up Varsity challenge meeting as they could seemingly go either way this season.

In the opening round, Old Haileyburians take on Therry Penola at Princes Park. Interested to see how Haileybury and Therry Penola respond to the change in competition. Therry’s three-peat in promotions have proven it hasn’t been troublesome thus far and tip it still won’t as they defeat the Bloods. Monash Blues plays Old Ivanhoe Grammarians, predicting a straight forward win for Monash based off previous results. However both sides have kept reasonably quiet during the preseason and could create a stir off the bat. Oakleigh AFC travel to Old Camberwell Grammarians. Oakleigh is running into form at the right time with big wins in the preseason and think they can get the win away from home. PEGS face Peninsula OB, two mid-table teams last year and both have the potential to break away from that cluster. Expect PEGS to edge out Peninsula in a tight one. In the match of the round, Division 1 Premiers, Williamstown CYMS host Premier B minor Premiers, Marcellin OC at Fearon Reserve. This will be closer than some may expect as the CY’s hold a wild trick up their sleeve that is Fearon. The CY’s thrive at home and will make it tough for Marcellin. On this note expecting Williamstown to hold off Marcellin.

Tips

Williamstown CYMS v Marcellin

Monash Blues v Old Ivanhoe Grammarians

Old Camberwell Grammarians v Oakleigh

PEGS  v Peninsula OB

Old Haileyburians v Therry Penola