Following the frustrations of the abandoned Covid-affected seasons of the last two years, Premier C watchers are optimistic about the possibilities of an uninterrupted year in 2022. Here’s how the combatants will be lining up for the season ahead.
The Rovers will be determined to honour past President and club legend Don Scarlett, who passed away recently, with a strong showing in 2022. The Christian Carnovale-led Rovers come into the season with impressive practice match form, culminating in a solid win over Parkdale Vultures in their final hit-out, and look well placed to improve upon their sixth-place position when play was called to a halt in 2021.
Marcellin were only able to sing the victor’s song four times from the seven matches played in 2021, but were very competitive in several other games during the aborted season. They hit 2022 knowing that their best can match many of the teams above them, and feel that they will be right in the mix for finals action. They welcome Dennet Merton, Anthony Pezzimenti and Jason Cox to their coaching panel and will be looking to them to provide the extra edge that they need to climb the ladder.
The Nodders matched their fifth placed finish in 2019 with another fifth place when the 2021 season concluded, winning seven of their eleven matches. Coach Peter Banfield will be looking this season to move the black, white and blue from a position of solid citizens to a side that can match it with the best that Premier C has to offer. Their opening round clash with perennial powerhouse Ormond will give an early indication of their ability to do so.
The Mark Passador-coached Ashes took all before it in 2021, with their first season in Premier C culminating in ten wins from eleven starts. Their one reverse was also a most respectable effort, a three point defeat to Ormond which could easily have gone the other way. Monash come into the 2022 season determined to finish with the silverware that they feel their stellar season deserved last campaign.
New coach Nathan Brown had an immediate effect on his charges in 2021, steering the club to the position where it loomed as the major contender to Monash’s crown. Like Monash, Old Geelong entered the division from Premier B in 2019, and they quickly found their feet to the point that they lost but twice in their eleven fixtures. It would surprise to see the blue and white not in contention in 2022.
Old Ivanhoe, as with Mazenod as mentioned before, fall into the category of consistent finals performers at this level, matching their 2019 fourth place with a similar finish in 2021. Seven wins from eleven starts indicate a level of consistency which Jarrod Gieschen will look to continue this year. A game that in which they would start favourite against Old Mentonians awaits them in round one, and they will look to make a statement in the early rounds coming into a blockbuster against Old Geelong in round four.
Simon Cormie’s Panthers will be looking to quickly rebound from a difficult 2021 season, after knocking on the door of the finals two years previously. Old Mentonians only took the four points on four occasions last year, with some sizeable defeats suffered along the way. The Mentonians feel that they are further along the road to success than that, and are looking to make strides in 2022.
Ormond feel as though they have the list to match the two sides that finished above them in the 2021 ladder, and consider themselves placed squarely in the premiership window. They finished 2021 as the highest placed of the three sides with seven wins, including victory over Monash Blues; the only club to do so. A challenging start to the 2022 fixture awaits, which will give an early pointer to their chances.
The Vultures are the unknown quantity in Premier C, having come down from Premier B in 2021. They are in a rebuilding phase under coach Owen Lalor, and will be aiming to make sure their first season in Premier C for some years is among their last. The recent track record of sides dropping from B to C is strong, and a bye in round one will allow the Vultures brains trust to assess the form of their opponents before their own campaign commences.
A 2021 season where little went to plan for the Bullants culminated in a winless campaign. Having won the division one grand final in 2019 they immediately found the step up in class difficult to come to terms with. Coach George Cotsonis and his assistants will have learned a lot, however, and one of the more interesting sub-plots of the season will be how the Reds improve from this position.
The Uni boys were unsuccessful in the 2019 Grand Final against Preston, but had a little more success than their vanquishers in 2021, finishing with two wins for the season. Whilst finding the going difficult in their first Premier Division season, they were starting to find their feet towards the end of the shortened season, and will see their round one clash with the Bullants as a chance to make a statement that they are there to climb the ladder.