After a no-footy year in 2020 and an interrupted season in 2021, there is unfinished business in the new-look Division 3 Men’s in 2022. Nine teams will battle it out for premiership points, with two additional sides promoted from Division 4 as Albert Park waved goodbye after a season. Elsternwick and South Melbourne Districts are making the jump together, and Division 3 fans are in for a treat if the rivalry continues.
Last season was a tale of two halves for the division, with the top four separated from the bottom four by four wins.
Emmaus St Leo’s
Emmaus St Leo’s will open their 2022 campaign at home at Bennettswood Reserve for the first three games of the season. It’s a case of what if for the Animals after they seemingly hit their straps late in the 2021 season to make a genuine attempt at finals and would have, if not for the unfortunate cancellation of VAFA footy. With a strong pre-season under their belts and some game plan finessing that’ll have Animals fans excited, Emmaus St Leo’s will welcome Canterbury at home to kickstart their year.
After a chaotic beginning to their 2021 season, Hawthorn is well poised to start this year off better than the last with Mark Murray returning as senior coach, while last year’s club best and fairest Hugh Clancey has been elevated to a playing assistant coach. The Hawks will be the first team to get a look at divisional-newcomers South Melbourne Districts, who will travel to Rathmines Road Reserve to try and get a scalp early in the season.
It’s all good news for Parkside on the coaching front as 2021 coach of the year Rob Wise returns but he’ll have to wait a week to get to business, with the Red Devils getting round one off due to a bye. It’s a rather anti-climatic start to the season for Parkside, who finished last year off strongly to be second on the ladder by percentage only.
Richmond Central will be looking to go better than their eight wins and three losses of the 2021 season. Finishing the year in fourth by percentage only, their last game puts them in good stead for the coming year after beating the 2021 minor premiers by nine points. For their first game of the season, the Snakes will travel to Allard Park to face North Brunswick, who are already seeing red and looking to get their season off to a good start.
Finishing the 2021 season in sixth wasn’t exactly where Canterbury wanted to be, but will be invigorated by the appointment of a new head coach. Highly-experienced assistant coach Nathan Walsh has taken over the senior coaching reins for the Cobras this year, but will do it with a twist as he dons the guernsey and takes the field with his charges as playing coach.
It wasn’t to be in 2021 for North Brunswick, but the re-appointment of coaching group Scott Rymer and Sam Willatt will have Bulls fans excited for the future. Finishing just outside the top four with a win/loss ratio of 4-7 will have the fire burning for a more competitive season. The Bulls will get to show off some new recruits at home for the first round of the season as they welcome Richmond Central to Allard Park.
The only way is up for the Westbourne Grammarians after finishing the 2021 season with just three wins from eleven games on the board. Club stalwart Justin Johns returns to the coaching throne, already having a few games to his name as senior coach after having coached the team in the 2018 and 2019. The Warriors have seemingly recruited some hefty numbers and they get to show them off with an away game against divisional-newcomers Elsternwick.
South Melbourne Districts
A lower percentage is all that stood between first and second for South Melbourne Districts in 2021 as they finished the season with ten wins and only one loss in Division 4. Paddy O’Callaghan will return as senior coach, while Jack Eastman (development coach) and Scott Moran (playing assistant) round out the coaching group. It’s likely to be a tough introduction to Division 3 for the Bloods, who will travel to Rathmines Road Reserve to take on 2021’s ladder-leaders Hawthorn in round one.
It’s new beginnings for Elsternwick this year as they make the jump from Division 4 to Division 3, after finishing 2021 as minor premiers. Division 4’s coach of the year Peter Higginbotham will return as senior coach, while the Wickers will open their season with a home game at Holmes Todd Oval, against the Westbourne Grammarians, who will be hoping to get one on the board early.