On the back of the 2023 Premier B Men’s fixture release, VAFA Media has taken a closer look at the schedule and is helping you to mark down the must-watch games next year.
Round 1: St Bede’s/Mentone Tigers vs. Ajax
St Bede’s/Mentone Tigers and Ajax finished the 2022 season most likely feeling numb towards one another. Neither side could reach the top four going into the final home and away game. And, after four quarters against one-another, they couldn’t be split, finishing the year in a thrilling draw at Gary Smorgon Oval.
The expectations on SBMT going into 2022 was a spot in the top four. Injuries at the wrong time, lapses through games and coming up against stronger opponents eventually cost them that chance. Ajax, despite finishing on the same number of wins, losses (and draws) have a sense of buoyancy around how 2022 played out.
The trip to Mentone Reserve to open the year for the Jackers poses a genuine challenge, one that teams this year were willing to take on. One that the Tigers will make certain is a much tougher ask in 2023.
Round 8: Williamstown CYMS vs. Old Trinity
For the first time in the history of both clubs these sides will go head-to-head in battle for Premiership points.
The CY’s made it to Premier B for the first time after winning the Premier C Premiership in 2019, Old Trinity have been in William Buck Premier since 2014. Never before has the gold and blue met the green and gold.
Perhaps fortunate that Premier B consisted of only nine teams in 2022, the CY’s finished the season in ninth spot, and in a usual 10-team competition would’ve found themselves in Premier C next year. They remain in Premier B, ready to make Fearon Reserve a reserve of fear for the opposition.
Round 2: St Bernard’s vs. De La Salle
This is the battle of our hosts of the VAFA Podcast: For the Love of the Game. St Bernard’s and De La Salle will renew hostilities for the first time since 2019. The last time they met, both sides were in William Buck Premier.
The significance of this particular game goes beyond the love-hate relationship between Joey and Brian. It’s Anzac weekend and for the Snowdogs, it is their annual Veteran Challenges Match. A game the club is proud of, and a day that holds great importance to the people of St Bernard’s.
The club has won 12 of its 15 matches on this day; they’ve played De La Salle three times, for three wins. And, will be looking to add a fourth time around in 2023.
Round 2: Monash Blues vs. Old Geelong
The OGs were the surprise packet of the Premier C finals in 2022, advancing to the Grand Final to tackle the Blues. Unfortunately they fell short to the Mac Cameron led Monash, the most dominant side in Premier C all season.
They don’t have to wait too long for their chance at redemption. While annual Anzac weekend matches are being played at St Bernard’s College, and at Brunswick St Oval (Fitzroy vs. Williamstown), Old Geelong will be aiming to knock the two-blues off their perch at Monash University.
The last time Old Geelong came up to Premier B was in 2019, having lost the 2018 Premier C Grand Final to Fitzroy. They’ll be hoping history in the return bout repeats itself with another win. However will want the footy Gods to look more kindly on them at the end of the home and away season by not finding themselves in the relegation zone.
Round 7: Fitzroy vs. Beaumaris
The Roys, and the Sharks felt the wrath of Old Haileybury during the 2022 Premier B finals series. Fitzroy were mere moments away from advancing to the Preliminary Final before the Haileyburians snatched victory from their grasp.
Beaumaris never looked like it at Elsternwick Park with a spot in the Grand Final, and William Buck Premier on the line. The two sides have an off-season of what if’s, and hitting the restart button to go again.
When they meet in Round 7, if the contests are anything like 2022 then buckle in for a beauty. In the season opener this year, the Sharks walked off Brunswick St Oval with a five point victory. When they met in Round 18, Fitzroy beat them at Banksia Reserve with a football lesson.
Round 6: St Bernard’s vs. Old Trinity
St Bernard’s and Old Trinity head into Premier B in 2023 under new coaches, a new outlook, and a new gameplan.
Steve Allesio takes the reins at the Snakepit. Leo Garrick is the new man in charge of the T’s.
In 2023, the boys of Essendon will be celebrating the club’s 60th anniversary of joining the VAFA and the Old Boys club established. Old Trinity was the first opponent the Snowdogs faced in 1963. There’ll be a touch of nostalgia around the place from club legend Mick Perrett who was the captain of the first XVII on that day.
For younger generations of St Bernard’s fans and players, they only need to cast their minds back to 2015 holding out the T’s by 8 points to win the clubs third A-Grade title at Ikon Park.
Old Trinity were able to beat up on Bernard’s at the Daley Oval in 2022. St Bernard’s beat up on the T’s at the Snakepit. There’s a mutual respect between the sides off the field, but once the ball is bounced, it’s on for young and old.
Other games of note:
Round 2: Fitzroy vs. Williamstown
- After the success of playing on Monday, April 25 in 2022, the sides will meet again across the Anzac weekend in 2023
Round 2: Beaumaris vs. St Bedes/Mentone Tigers
- We don’t have to wait too long for another instalment of the Bayside Derby, another thrilling chapter is set to be written
Round 7: Old Geelong vs. St Bernard’s
- The OG’s will welcome the Snowdogs to Geelong College (The venue TBC)