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12.04.2012 Andrew Leonard 

It was the US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld that said there are known knowns, and known unknowns when describing the situation in Iraq before the US led invasion to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and take the USA on a mission in search of the ultimate glory – peaceful and cheap oil negotiations for the foreseeable future. Do we need to throw in an allegedly here? 
With or without a former US Secretary of State we cast our attention to the football grounds of Melbourne tomorrow and there would be some merit in rolling out Rumsfeld again to describe the situation amongst the VAFA’s 74 clubs. Like Iraq, the VAFA is notorious for its known knowns and more importantly known unknowns when it comes to predicting which teams will do well in any given year 
No matter how much value we put into preseason form, the key players that have moved on to another club, a posting interstate or overseas or just to the committee only to be called upon to sit in a pocket for the reserves in round 5, we know that all the talk and posturing counts for nothing when the ball is first bounced (thrown up) on Saturday. 
The new signings (from other leagues) that club’s have talked up, are yet to play amateur football. We know that that football in the VAFA is different, just ask Balwyn. 
This year’s opening day presents as one of the most interesting in years. The magic computer that completes the fixtures has produced a number of highlights, lesast of all being the two Grand Final rematches from 2012. There are two new clubs playing football with the famous V on their chest for the first time, and preliminary final rematch in Premier that whets the appetite for a compelling season ahead. 
In Division 3 the match of the day has to be the South Mornington versus Swinburne Uni Grand Final replay from the previous year. Unlike other metropolitan competitions, the VAFA offers these carrots in the fixture each year by virtue of the two up-two down promotion and relegation system. South Mornington has had a difficult preseason and Swinburne lost the decider by one of the closest Division 4 margins in recent times. However the result goes it is sure to be a willing contest down on the Peninsula. 
Premier C throws up the other Grand Final rematch with NOBs St Pat’s also travelling down Eastlink to Peninsula Old Boys to rubber stamp their authority on the Pirates from last season’s Division 1 showpiece. 
There are a number of clubs playing their first matches in their highest section in the VAFA. Beaumaris debut in Premier at home as the first district club at this level in two decades. Good luck to the Sharks and likewise to Fitzroy and Parkdale Vultures in Premier C and South Mornington in Division 3. 
In Division 4, the game to watch will be the Hawthorn v Dragons contest. Dragons are making their VAFA debut and Hawthorn are after a fast return to Division 3. The pull of this game is magnified by the talk that these two sides are the two of the contenders in the section. 
At Toorak park two little sides by the names of Old Xaverians and De La Salle will renew hostilities in a mouth watering clash that reprises the memories of Xavs final quarter comeback in last years preliminary final. Names o players and indeed coaches may have changed but the clubs and their ambition never change. 
In Division 1 a game that jumps out at you like a kangaroo in headlights on a bush road is the contest between Hampton Rovers and Ormond at the Boss James Reserve. It is a local rivalry that goes back to juniors for many of the players. There is also the added luster of Matt Robbins playing at Ormond again having been a previous coach of the Rovers. A sold out lunch and a finals like crowd should see a great contest. 
So good luck tomorrow everyone – and hopefully we might end the day with a few more known knowns. 
Don’t forget to check the VAFA Live scores app for around the ground scores.