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Andrew Leonard

Premier Section will see a few changes from recent years to the fixture for the 2013 season with the most obvious being that there are no more Sunday games at Sportscover Arena. 
It will be a return to nine home games for each of the teams and with that comes the ability to celebrate a win on a Saturday night rather than a more subdued celebration on the Sunday evening. 
The VAFA Football Operations department have confirmed that this is a draft fixture only and the fixture is still subject to change, so don’t start your preseason spying on your round 1 opponent just yet. 
Many of the highlights of the fixture for 2013 are thrown up in round 1 of the season with the first bounce scheduled for 13th April, here is a sneak peek :

  • Collegians open their Premiership defence with a tough trip to Old Carey,
  • Beaumaris make their debut in Premier at home to St Bedes / Mentone Tigers,
  • De La Salle get a chance to redeem their preliminary final loss to Old Xaverians but will have to do so at Toorak Park,
  • University Blacks return to Premier with an away trip to St Bernard’s; and
  • University Blues commence their season at home with a visit from Old Scotch. 

Looking through the draw there will again be eight rounds before the first bye takes place for representative football. 
We also will not have to wait long for the Grand Final rematch between Collegians and Old Xaverians as it will be round 3 when the teams will first meet at Toorak Park. 
For the promoted Premier B Grand Finalists a meeting in round 5 at Banksia Reserve will be a chance for the Sharks to gain some redemption. 
Another match to pencil in as a must see will be the Round 3 Black and Blues clash of the two University sides at University Oval. 
As we know, a good start to the season is vital to first secure safety then look towards finals in the second half of the year. 
The statistics tell us that the ladder and most importantly the top four after six rounds rarely changes too much over the course of the season. 
For this reason we have taken a look at the opening six matches and ranked the draw for each of the ten teams in Premier, with A+ being a dream start. 
BEAUMARIS: Play three of last years top four in their first six games with both Collegians and Old Xavs away. They play Uni Blacks, St Bedes / Mentone Tigers and De La Salle at home. Tough initiation to Premier football. D+
COLLEGIANS: The Premiers have a relatively easy start to their premiership defence playing just one finalist – Grand Final opponent Old Xavs away – in the opening six weeks. Toughest road trip apart from that is Old Carey in Round 1. A+
DE LA SALLE: Play two finalists with he toughest match being Round 1 away to Old Xaverians. Also play the two promoted sides, both of them away. Hosting Old Carey and University Blues who match up well against them should help. B+
OLD CAREY: Tougher start than most with only two home games. One of those a Round 1 clash against Collegians. Play three finalists from last season with both De La Salle and Old Scotch away, plus a Round 2 trip to Brindisi St making this one of the more difficult openings. D
OLD SCOTCH: Away in round 1 to Uni Blues and back at home in Round 2 for St Bernard’s should have the the Cardinals in good shape. Again play Old Xaverians at home early and they form the back of a tough three weeks with a trip to De La Salle in round five followed by a visit from Old Carey. B
OLD XAVERIANS: Two trips to University Oval are compounded by visits from Collegians and De La Salle. Premier newbies Beaumaris visit in Round 6 plus an away trip to Old Scotch make this a tough draw. C+
ST BEDES / MENTONE TIGERS: Dream start for a team that struggled in the early weeks last year. Four home games with Collegians, Old Scotch and Old Carey paying visits. Longest travel in first six is to University Oval to play the promoted Blacks. A+
ST BERNARD’S: Play both promoted sides at home in the first three weeks which are interspersed by trips to Old Scotch and Collegians. Old Carey visit and round 6 is at St Bedes / Mentone Tigers. Not a bad start at all and a real chance to captilise on the draw. B+
UNIVERSITY BLACKS: Play only two Premier Finalists from 2012, both at home. Are at home four times in first six weeks, traveling to the known territory of Banksia Reserve and will have recent memories of the Snakepit. Get to University Oval for Round 3 when they are the visitors to Blues. As good a start as could be hoped for on their return to the top flight. A
UNIVERSITY BLUES: One of the tougher starts of the 10 clubs. Play all three finalists with Collegians and De La Salle away. Also travel to Old Carey plus have no home ground advantage when they play neighbours Blacks in a Round 3 grudge match. D
Agree or disagree with the assessment? Tweet @LennyVAFA to grade your team’s start to the year, include the hashtag #vafafixture and #vafaprem.
The complete 2013 fixture will be available after the VAFA’s AGM next Monday 3rd December 2012.