Already salivating with a Grand Final rematch to whet the appetite

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Division 1 Men's

Ben Black

It’s that time once again, the footy is back with the first round of games this Saturday afternoon, can you believe it. With that in mind, let’s wipe the slate clean from the off season and go through each team’s prospects for 2023.

PEGS FC and Old Camberwell Grammarians move to the Premier C, whilst St Mary’s Salesian and Whitefriars drop down to DivIsion 2.

West Brunswick and Ivanhoe have been able to leap frog their position into Division 1 after an incredible Grand Final in 2022. UHS-VU and Preston Bullants were dropped from Premier C and will make up the newcomers in 2023.

Ivanhoe are back in Division 1 for the first time since 2016, fresh off the Division 2 Premiership against West Brunswick winning by just a single point.

Having a very impressive track record at home at Ivanhoe park, it will be very interesting to see how they compete in 2023, Ash Close carved his way to 71 goals in 2022 followed by his twin tower Billy Drake who smashed 61 goals. Close has a different role this year, no longer the senior coach, handing that over to close friend, and dual competition best and fairest Wayne Schultz. Whilst, Drake has opted to play footy elsewhere in 2023.

Wayne Schultz will be wanting to ideally see the Hoers challenge those top sides. Ivanhoe are home to West Brunswick at Ivanhoe Park to open up the season, the Division 2 Grand Final rematch, will it be a replay of six months ago?

Kew is shaping up for another big season, unlucky not to move up to Premier C last season after falling at the final hurdle in the Preliminary to Old Camberwell. Coach Ian Aitken will be looking to get the most out of his team this season to have a chance to head back into Premier C for the first time since 2017.

The Bears have a good track record at home ground at Victoria Park only losing to PEGS and salvaging a draw in the latter part of 2022. Michael Hannen, key forward will look to continue his form of last year to get Kew home in a lot more games after kicking 36 last season.

Consistency like last season will be the key for Kew as they chase that elusive premiership. The Bears start round 1 at Packer Park under the lights at 6.40pm against rivals Glen Eira Gryphons.

The Gryphons surprised many in 2022, finishing third behind Kew, and PEGS at the end of the home and away season.

Coach Jon Edgar will be optimistic this season on the chances for the Gryphons, they will have to do this season without Nick Dickinson and also ex-captain Julius Waras Carstensen as both of them announced their retirement over the off season.

There’s expectation and hope on Alex Ewrin-Ross and Stuart Carey both taking their games to new heights this season if Glen Eira are to stand up once again.

The Gryphons take on Kew at Packer Park under the lights on Saturday. They come into the contest with a good track record at home only dropping one game, it should be an absolute cracker.

The Krushers will be aiming to really climb the ladder this year to get into finals since the 2018 Preliminary Final.

A mixed bag at home in 2023 at the W.A Scammell Reserve going at 5 wins and 4 losses.

Young coach James Francis will try to look to key forward Aaron Cloke to emulate the year he had in 2022 by adding another 75 goals including a bag of 10 vs St Mary’s to his already enormous career goal kicking tally.

The brothers Liam and Tom Gillard will be keen to help make the Krushers push for that elusive final berth. Krushers take on Prahran at Scammell Reserve at 2pm, will the Krushers be able to take one up on their previous year ladder competitors?

The Pirates will be looking to rebuild after they survived relegation in 2022, coach Peter Williamson will try to get the most out of his playing group, Bradley Schuurman, Ben Williamson will be instrumental figures of motivation for the group to keep grounded throughout this year.

After 20 years with his name inside the forward 50, the Pirates will need to call on a new forward after Shaun Payze made the decision over the pre-season to hang up the boots. 428 games, 1033 goals alongside his name.

Having some success at home last year they will be looking at that to get them a good start. Therry Penola are their first assignment at the Harry Mcdonald Oval at 2pm.

Prahran FC are looking the goods for season 2023, bolstering their playing lineup with many recruits such as Alex Maxwell, William Axford-Wood, Mackenzie Mayne to name a few.

2022 was a pretty decent season for Prahran, despite not making finals since 2017, will this be the season that they climb into finals and push a case for Premier C?

Brett Dickinson the coach would be hoping to see the best out of Matt Clifford as he moved his way to 58 goals for the season including a masterclass of nine against St Marys.

A mixed bag at Toorak Park going at 4 wins 5 losses, but will look to take that record to another level in 2023. Like Old Xaverians in William Buck Premier Men’s, Prahran will not have a home ground as such through this year, making their trek back to finals slightly tougher.

Opening up the campaign, they’re travelling to play Oakleigh first game. Will they take their game to new heights?

Where to begin with this group of Lions?

This is the time to take their game to a new level this season as Brendon Payne tries to bring the Lions back into the finals contention after having an average season.

You can never discount Jarrod Egglestone, the clubs spiritual leader to will himself to every contest for the full four quarters.

Kane O’Halloran, a brilliant forward who amassed 52 goals in 2022. Jackson Young, Nicholas Castalidi and co will be looking to get off to a fast start when they travel to Old Peninsula.

Preston Bullants are back into Division 1 for the first time since winning the flag in 2019 against UHS-VU.

Coach George Cotsonis will be looking to try to get his team back into the Premier C despite not having the best of luck in 2022. Rory and Conor Howard will need to be back to their best again for that to happen. Ethan Lowe with 22 goals with a best of five against UHS has had a strong pre-season, and is expected to assist in getting his team over the line in more games this season.

The Ants will be looking to get there season off to a flyer facing off against UHS-VU at the W.R Ruthven Reserve at 2pm

UHS-VU coming down to Div 1 with the Bullants will try their best to get themselves back into Premier C for 2024.

Coached by Paul Rocke, he will be looking to Ben Dimattina, Fraser Allen to try and steer the ship to get them back up and running for season 2023.

Led by James McGee in the forward line kicking 22 goals in season 2022 with a best of four against Ormond will he be the difference to get the UHS into a lot more games this season?

UHS-VU will take on Preston for the first game at WR. Ruthevan Reserve kicking off at 2pm. Two evenly matched sides, a contest that’s sure to go down to the wire.

The Magpies after falling agonisingly short by a point to Ivanhoe in the Division 2 decider of 2022, have returned to Division 1.

Coach William Dilllon will be keen to see how his team competes against the likes of Kew, Glen Eira, and Ivanhoe AFC. With Luke Buckler slamming home 40 goals closely aided by Ben Hutchins with 36 they will need to put their kicking boots on this season as they will look to do that again in 2023.

West Brunswick came off a very impressive record last season at Ransford Oval in Parkville, the ground is fortress for the Magpies. The aim, bank as many wins as possible this season when playing there.

They’re on the road this weekend, against their grand final nemesis Ivanhoe. Will the Magpies be able to swoop in and get their first win for the season?

I think so, but I guess we will wait to find out.