DIVISION 3 FIXTURE: WHAT LIES BENEATH

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Andrew Leonard

Division 3 has the most complicated fixture and the one that offers comparisons to the AFL draw. 
Although there are no set ‘blockbuster games’ in Division 3 that the VAFA schedule to maximise the gate or TV viewers there is a large element of luck in which teams you will play twice and which teams you don’t. 
A 12 team comp into 18 rounds throws up some curly ones for teams to negotiate but what makes things more interesting is the fact that some teams cannot play at home in the opening weeks due to the Grand Prix at Albert Park. 
Albert Park Falcons are one of the teams most affected by this so the first six weeks of their campaign are always challenging. 
Again 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. 
Here are how the matches have fallen in Round 1: 

  • Kew will host Old Westbourne at Victoria Park
  • We won’t have to wait long for the Grand Final rematch from Division 4 with South Mornington hosting Swinburne Uni for their first ever match in Division 3
  • Richmond Central will start at home against Elsternwick
  • St Francis Xavier will be visited by Power House
  • UHS-VU are at home to Albert Park; and
  • La Trobe University play host to Aquinas 

The most fascinating aspect of the draw is sure the fact that Division 4 grand finalists will meet in week one. 
For South Mornington it will be their fourth match in a row against Swinburne University having played in round 18, the Second Semi final and the Grand Final to finish the season in Division 4 last year. 
There are many unknowns in Division 3, questions like: How much will clubs fear the long trip to South Mornington? Can La Trobe Uni bounce back and be strong? Will Power House and Old Westbourne make the most of their luck?
Whilst we can’t answer those now here is our look at the first six weeks of the season for each of the 12 teams in Division 3:
ALBERT PARK: As mentioned always a tricky start when you have a grand prix spectator stand in the middle of your ground for the first four weeks of the year. In 2013 the away trips are UHS-VU, South Mornington, Richmond Central and St Francis Xavier before a first home lunch hosting Old Westbourne. This is backed up with the visit of promoted Swinburne Uni. Same formula every year shouldn’t hold too many fears but always a tough start. C
AQUINAS: Away to La Trobe Uni before a double dose of home fixtures with Old Westbourne and St Francis Xavier in town is a very nice start. Kew and Richmond Central away are tough before Power House travel to the College in Round 6. Could be on the move this year. A
ELSTERNWICK: Four of the first six at home with rumours circulating they could have accesss to the main oval at Elsternwick Park for some of these fixtures the Wicks should be smiling early. Amongst the visitors are Lat Trobe Uni, Old Westbourne, St Francis Xavier and Kew. First up is a trip to Richmond Central and there is also an away game against UHS-VU in round 4. A
KEW: Three of the first four at home and play promoted Swinburne Uni away in round 2 allows for a solid start for Kew. The home games are difficult thought with Old Westbourne first up followed by UHS-VU and Aquinas. Away to Power house and Elsternwick in consecutive weeks. Potential there for a blinding start. B+
LA TROBE UNIVERSITY: Tough to gauge the form a of a relegated team but three of the first four at home should be a fillip for a side looking to bounce straight back. Aquinas first up plus home matches against the two yellow sashes of South Mornington and Richmond Cenrtal are split by and away game at Elsternwick. Travel to Swinburne Uni and UHS-VU are challenges. B
OLD WESTBOURNE: Really difficult start with three away games at finalists Kew, Aquinas and a team that just missed September last season in Elsternwick to start the season. First home game in round 4 against promoted Swinburne Uni and also host St Francis Xavier whilst have the privilege of being the first team to play at Albert Park in 2013. The draw looks tough and is. D
POWER HOUSE: Lucky-losers last year finishing 12th and earning another shot at Division 3. The season starts with three away games also due to the Bernie Ecclestone circus. On the road to St Francis Xavier, UHS-VU and Swinburne Uni is a tough initiation. A brace of home matches against South Mornington and Kew before another road trip to Aquinas. Doesn’t get much tougher. D
RICHMOND CENTRAL: Alternate home and away matches in a balanced draw. Start at home to Elsternwick before heading to St Francis Xavier in round 2. Albert Park (home), La Trobe Uni (away), Aquinas (home) and South Mornington away is not disastrous but not a walk in the park either. B 
SOUTH MORNINGTON: Very accommodating welcome to their first tilt at Division 3 with four home games in the first half dozen. Grand Final rematch at home in round one followed by the visit of Albert Park. On the road for two weeks with a (long) trip to La Trobe Uni and a visit to Power House. Back at home for UHS-VU and the battle of the sash against Richmond Central. A+
ST FRANCIS XAVIER: Home matches against Power House and Richmond Central launch their season. Away at Aquinas in round three before another home game against Albert Park. Then on the road to Elsternwick and Old Westbourne leaves the schedule looking good. B
SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY: A chance at Grand Final redemption when they travel to the familiar Citation Oval in round 1. Home to Kew and Power House in consecutive weeks is followed by a trip to Old Westbourne. Back at St James Park for Lat Trobe Uni and round our the first third of the season with a trip to Albert Park. In line for a positive start to life in Division 3. B+
UHS-VU: Four of the first six at home and only Kew (away) of fellow finalists in this section last season. Albert Park and Power House at Brens Oval is a good start then the aforementioned trip to Victoria Park in round 3. Elsternwick and La Trobe Uni’s visits are separated by a trip to South Mornington. Challenging start for one of the favourites. A
Agree or disagree with the assessment? Tweet @LennyVAFA to grade your team’s start to the year and include the hashtags #vafafixture and #vafadiv3.
The 2013 fixture will be available after the VAFA’s AGM on Monday 3rd December 2012.