BOX HILL NORTH AFC
An influx of youthful talent has brought an exciting optimism over the preseason to Elgar Park, as Box Hill North look to improve from a disappointing 2019 campaign. While some will be pulling on the red and blue for the first time this season, the likes of Sean Donovan and Rowan Lawrence along with Eley Park recruit Peter Cassidy-Marsh will lead the way young Demons. Look for steady improvement throughout 2021 for Box Hill North.
ELEY PARK SHARKS
After missing finals by a solitary game in 2019, Eley Park will be looking to go one better in 2021. A strong preseason has produced some encouraging practice match form, with an exciting new brand of football on display at Shark Park. Recruits Lachlan Steele and Justin Cuzzupi have been flagged as ones to watch since joining the club this off-season, joining Jayden Pritchard and Jesiah McGarvie as the Sharks push for a finals berth this season.
With 11 wins under the belt in the 2019 season and a semi-final appearance, Elsternwick are primed with their eyes firmly set on a flag. There have been exciting changes to the club over the past 18 months as they look forward to introducing a women’s and thirds team for the first time in 2021. The loss of Julian Yeatman to SNFL will undoubtedly be noticed after he kicked 61 goals in 2019, but if there’s one man who can pick up the slack, it is no doubt the Wicker’s full-forward, Justin Hunter.
LA TROBE UNIVERSITY
An eagerness at La Trobe has been noticeable this preseason, as training has progressed from strength to strength as the season draws near. Having retained its core group of players from 2019, the likes of Matt Ogle, Ricky Nolan, Andy Castles and Lachlan Miller coupled with a new influx of talent, has helped to drive standards over the off-season. Watch for La Trobe to be one of the big improvers throughout 2021.
MASALA-DANDENONG FOOTBALL CLUB
There’s always an air of excitement surrounding Masala-Dandenong as all football enthusiasts look to see improvement from one of the VAFA’s youngest clubs. From a transfer perspective, the Tigers have seen three depart and four come in – the fewest transfers from any club in the competition. They finished seventh (from nine) in 2019 with four wins to their name, so with Ben Abraham, Declan Fowler, Anthony Morabito and Sam Freeman roaming around, expect internal improvement across the board for the Tigers.
SOUTH MELBOURNE DISTRICTS
With a quality crop of under 19’s talent stepping up into its senior teams, along with its strongest off-season recruitment in recent years, South Melbourne Districts are primed for the 2021 season. Strong showings in practice matches against Albert Park and Hampden, outlined the spread of talent on hand for the young Bloods, with new ruckman Breshan Jones and talented youngster Tom Foley the standouts. Expect South Melbourne Districts to feature prominently in the latter stages of the season.
Returning to divisional footy in 2021, St. Johns is well and truly on its way up after spending 2019 in Thirds. Whilst 2021 will be St. Johns first season in Division 4, the unknown has brought a sense of excitement within the club regarding its prospects this year. Led again by Corey Ely and Rohan Scott, St. Johns have been able to lure back some key players with forwards Aaron Thornton and Josh Morant joining Nathan McConchie at Thomas Carroll Reserve. St. Johns may just be the dark horse of Division 4.
SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY AFC
Another club returning to divisional football, Swinburne are looking to continue building off its core group from the past couple of seasons, as it looks towards a potential finals berth in 2021. The additions of Glen Lovett and exciting soccer convert Mitchell Walker up forward will provide dynamic targets for midfield bulls Zach Cooke, Declan Watts and Chris Fisher, all of whom have impressed in a strong preseason at St. James Park. Expect the Razorbacks to be in contention for a fourth spot come seasons end.