Saints march to the flag

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 3 Men's

By Ren Thompson

Glen Eira AFC – Premiers – Best: Julius Waras Carstensen

Our 2016 Division 3 premiers! In a brilliant performance the Glen Eira Saints willed themselves to a 47-point victory over Hawthorn to claim their first premiership since 1999. It capped a fantastic year for the Saints where Julius Waras Carstensen was the Saints best, booting 69 goals en route to the Hutchinson Medal. They now take their winning style of footy into Division 2.

Hawthorn AFC – Runners Up – Best: Sam Gold

For Hawthorn it was another case of so close but so far. The high-powered Hawks had a stellar 2016 losing only one home and away game, but fell short on the big stage. Offensively, it was one for the ages, averaging a scintillating 141.7 points per contest finishing with the VAFA record for 2016. Seven players kicked more than 20 goals led by Jason Ince with 55 majors. But at Rathmines Road the season will be considered one that got away. Hopefully Division 2 finally brings about that elusive premiership.

La Trobe University AFC – 3rd – Best: Mitchell Gleeson

2016 was a year of redemption for the Trobers. After a horror season in 2015 which saw them wallowing near the bottom of the ladder, La Trobe used a suffocating defence, holding teams to an average of 51.2 points a game to power their way back among the elite teams. Up front Mitchell Gleeson was the ace, claiming the goal-kicking title amassing an incredible 76 goals. Definitely in the 2017 premiership conversation.

UHS-VU AFC – 4th – Best: Mitchell Sweeney

Take three losses to start the season, add four straight wins, a bit of a mid-year lull, then rip off seven straight wins to become the form side of the competition, but falter at the semi-final hurdle. That was the recipe for the Vultures’ year. They could boot winning scores; Mitchell Sweeney, John Clark and Nicholas Devereux all had over 34 majors. They were above average defensively allowing only 78 points a game, fourth best. However when their season was on the line, they couldn’t kick a winning score or slow Power House defensively. A tough exit to an otherwise exciting year and may signal the start of promising things at Brens Oval.

Power House AFC – 5th – Best: Adam Collett

It was perhaps unfair that Power House’s season ended with a whimper against Hawthorn given the courage the club showed to reach the final four. Entering the preliminary final after winning seven straight games, the House were embracing the ‘nothing to lose’ mentality resulting in free-flowing entertaining football. Overall, a tremendous year doubling their win total from 2015. If they can rekindle that end of season form then the House should be hoping to go one Saturday further in 2017.

South Melbourne Districts – 6th – Best: Steve Clarke

South Melbourne had an objective for this year – shore up the backlines to stop leaking massive scores that got them into this predicament. Consider that objective done as the Swans were able to right the ship defensively after a horror 2015 campaign. Kicking off the year with three wins in the first four, South Melbourne quickly acclimatised to the demands of Division 3 footy but a constant theme developed throughout the year. The Swans struggled against teams at the top, losing to every other finals opponent during the season. Although they showed heart in their semi-final performance falling heartbreaking close to upsetting the red-hot Trobers but displayed some elite football.

Canterbury Football Club – 7th – Best: Rohan Walmsley

Canterbury hit the ground running in Division 3, ripping off four straight victories to begin the season. They were one of the most potent teams with Nicholas Szabo and Rohan Walmsley proving to be a formidable goal-scoring duo. The pair combined for an amazing 77 goals but the Cobras ran out of venom (largely due to injuries) after their hot start recording only four victories for the remainder of the season including wins over the relegation trio, a worry. Good signs included taking the fight right up to eventual premiers Glen Eira in a mid-season match-up and their ability to kicking a winning score. Stopping the opposition from kicking winning scores needs to be the focus in 2017.

Albert Park AFC – 8th – Best: Kirk Murray

After stumbling out of the gates with three straight losses, the Falcons did a solid job rebounding to finish a commendable eighth. Improving on last year’s win total by three, the Albert Park faithful endured a frustratingly inconsistent year of either big wins or equally big losses. Kirk Murray was the star all year long racking up 12 bests with Nicholas Materia leading the goal-kickers with 23 majors. A goal-kicking forward is needed for next season to see scoreboard results that will have Albert Park knocking on the door of finals footy.

Swinburne University AFC – 9th – Best: Thomas Kennedy

If Swinburne University fans didn’t have grey hairs… after this season they definitely do. Arguably the most stressful year for any Division 3 side, the Razorbacks saw seven games decided by a margin of less than three goals. Swinny’s record in those seven games – one win, six losses – their year epitomised in Round 18 when a three-quarter time lead slipped from their grasp and ended in defeat. It was these inconsistent performances that cost them a finals spot. In round 12 they pushed Hawthorn right to the brink before falling to a 1-point defeat but showed they could play with the Division’s top teams.

Aquinas OC – 10th – Best: Michael Connolly

A disappointing year for the Bloods failing to build on the preliminary final appearance in 2015. Aquinas found themselves sliding down the ladder to finish the year with a lowly three wins. Michael Connolly was the Bloods’ most consistent, totaling 11 bests from 16 games, however there wasn’t many other bright spots during a dark year. Kicking a competitive score each week proved to be a challenge, it was a shame Sam Williams only appeared in seven games but he still managed 23 goals. Hopefully it’s only a short spell in lower rung before we are heading back out to the College to catch a game.

Elsternwick AFC – 11th – Best: Andrew Oldfield

Another tough year for the Wickers. After a stirring win over Canterbury in Round 8 that doubled as the season’s highlight, Elsternwick then endured ten consecutive losses falling down into the relegation zone. Andrew Oldfield was valiant all season long finishing with a team-high 13 bests, pipping Grant Cameron on 11, while Justin Hunter was a beast in front of the sticks finishing with 51 goals on the year. Perhaps a year in Division 4 will bring about a renewed vigour to revitalise the club back to the lofty heights of the past.

Parkside Football Club – 12th – Best: Darren Gresham

Whenever your team is giving up 126 points per game each week is going to be an uphill battle. Struggling to adapt to the style of play in Division 3, the Red Devils failed to record their maiden victory until Round 10. By then their finals hopes were dashed. The trio of Darren Gresham, Shane McLaren and Thomas McKinlay were admirable finding themselves among the Parkside best a combined 36 times but it wasn’t enough to lift team from the bottom. The hope now is a solid 2017 season in Division 4 to regain lost confidence.