Brunswick footy, Bloods culture and a battle of the Yarra Valley all on offer

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 2 Men's

Chris Ciampoli

After a thrilling finals series with Ivanhoe AFC producing an incredible last-minute victory to snatch the trophy over West Brunswick by a point, Division 2 Men’s is gearing up for an exciting 2023 season, with several teams looking to make an impact and push for promotion to the top tier.

After coming down from Division 1, 2022 saw a strong performance and reached the finals. 

Coach Tommy Hunter endured much turnover over the off-season resulting in a younger side which may provide opportunities to their 19s players. 

Tall midfielder Tom Hedley joins the club with his older gun brother Josh, in addition to quick footed Harris Mitter and Jake Ralston who’ll bring a tough physicality to the backline. 

Runner up Best & Fairest Ben Wilson is seeming to be a prospect after playing at another level in pre-season. 

Facing the Old Paradians who kicked them out of the finals last season, Hunter made it clear the team will bring Brunswick footy to round 1. 

Aquinas are fighting hard to work their way to the top four after a resilient 2022 season. 

Fortunately, with six of their first seven games at home, it may provide them with the opportunity to create a strong foundation and a bit of confidence for the rest of the season. 

Last season they were in the middle of the table at season’s end, an off-season of recruiting could see them break into this year’s final four, and be a contender when it matters most. 

A tough 2022 season stung the Anths 6-12. Possession was a struggle for the team, but with Andrew Verga at the helm and a strong pre-season, the golden wings are likely to rise the ranks and pressure for a finals. 

The club has had a lean few years, last year was somewhat stabilising for the Ants, this year is another stepping stone in getting the club back to its glory days.

Old Paradians had a belter of a season in 2022 with thirteen wins, finals bound and leaping to preliminary falling short after a brush with the Magpies. J

Justin Whitcher’s eye for footy is likely to leave a mark for 2023 if the boys can translate footy to field, especially against a discontent and hungry round 1 Brunswick. 

The 2022 season was a tale of inaccuracy for the Unicorns. Unable to convert their quick footy to the scoreboard left them empty handed as a result of an excruciatingly narrow miss from the finals. 

Winning six of their first seven games ushered by three one hundred-point thrashings, the Unicorns will be ones to watch out the gate this season. They’ll be hoping to have more players take their game to new heights in 2022, with the campaign kicking off against Bulleen Templestowe this weekend. 

Coming in this year as a merged club (Yarra Old Grammarians and Manningham Cobras), Coach Nathan Monaco is looking to make a dent in Division 2. 

Inclusions such as Anthony Lamana from Old Xaverians, Nathan Sambevski from Kew and Lewis Mitchell from Tasmania are likely to create concern for opposition. 

Francis Joseph and Eddison Donelan are ones to watch after an impressive pre-season. 

Overall, Monaco has placed much emphasis for a Cobra culture on attention to detail, setups and game-plan to bounce back from the 2022 merger problems and strive for a finals spot. 

The Parkside boys endured a dogged 2022 after a 12 point loss in the Division 3 Grand Final. 

It’ll be a hard season being promoted up to Division 2, but if their resilient finals campaigns tells us anything about Demons culture, they’ll bring the heat against the relegated Division 1 Whitefriars in game one.

And, if it is #YearoftheDevils, they may even snag a win against their newfound rivals South Melbourne in round 3 in the Grand Final rematch. 

Patrick O’Callaghan’s South Melbourne squad stormed through Division 3 with a 13-3 record and a convincing finals series. 

Passing the torch to Nick Abbott, we’re excited to see if the footy field bleeds for the bloods for the jump up to Division 2. With the recent Australian Grand Prix engulfing the Albert Park facility, the fixture sees the Swans away for their first six games. 

It won’t be the warmest of welcomes to Division 2 for the Bloods, but, if they’re like their counterparts in the AFL, it’s exactly how they like it. 

A quarter of a decade since the merger the saints were left barren last season, left 0-18 and 2734 points scored against. 

A year for rebuilding, a culture for confidence, Clay Tait has a hefty task on his hands to return classic Saints footy in the drop down to Division 2. 

The drop from Division 1 after a competitive 3-15 left much thought for Head Coach Lucas Matthews to rebound in 2023. 

The Friars have seen an optimistic pre-season adding some flair to the roster, Spencer Larson, Josh and Jack Coates from Mitcham, and the return of James Perrin and Jack Elmer

Lucas’s eye for talent has picked a couple young guns to develop including Matthew Dickenson, Noah Sealy and Pat Cotter, we’ll see them test the waters in various positions. 

A heavy emphasis on ball movement, offensive and defensive transition, a confident culture, with the admixture of a roster filled to the brim with talent, the Friars are certainly ones to watch this season.