That’s right this weekend our 18 month wait for local football will finally end, as Division One, Two and Three begin their respective battles for ultimate glory.
The landscape will have changed, with football shrinking in its overall importance in recent times, but once that first ball is bounced (thrown) a sense of normality will have returned to the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
There’s new clubs, new structures, new rules, new players and new coaches, so to help you break it down, the first edition of our new weekly column – In and Under – will go through each of the divisions and give you a Riser, a Slider and a Supriser.
I think we have a new comer for tightest division in 2021.
Division Two has seen the arrival of a very unlucky Knox outfit from Division One and the formidable South Belgrave from Division Three, whilst almost all other sides remaining have strengthened considerably, from already strong starting points.
You could also argue that the two best sides from 2019 didn’t go up either.
Literally everyone has valid finals aspirations – it’s looking juicy in Division Two!
Riser – Mulgrave have done some very good work in the time off.
The Lions added a very good operator in Ryan Webster to role of the Senior Coach, they’ve recruited some good talent like Matt Homfray from Beaconsfield and bought back some crowd favourites such as noted goal kicker Thomas McGowan from Foster and 2019 League Medal Winner Jaxon Gervasoni (who left for Doncaster at the end of 2019).
Add onto this a bit of subconscious disrespect from the rest of the competition – given Mulgrave’s performances in recent years – and the Lions have a number of factors in place to jump up the table.
Slider – Templestowe are due to drop in 2021.
Given their consistency over the past few seasons with a fairly experienced outfit this season looks like the one where they fall away from finals contention and back into the pack.
The Dockers have been pretty quiet on the recruitment front and have lost a couple of key names across the long layoff, so they might be looking to take this as an opportunity to develop some homegrown talent and whilst this could be the best move for the club’s future, it will result in a step backwards or two on the ladder.
Surpriser – The only real surprise in 2021 is if there is a clear divide in the division.
The two new sides entering the division should take like a duck to water, Ringwood and Boronia will continue to be in and around the pointy end, whilst the likes of Heathmont will also rate their chances especially when they’ve got their best 22 on the park.
There is actually no easy game in this division this year and to be honest I’d expect any of my predicted top five to compete pretty easily in the division above.
- South Belgrave
- The Basin
This is so incredibly harsh on The Basin who I think will improve as a club in 2021 and will be ones to watch in the future, but I don’t think Templestowe will fall that far and believe Mulgrave have done a bit better across the break on the transfer front.
Ringwood are favourites despite their recent run of finals slip-ups, with the new boys Jones and Dunne adding more steel along with the return of indomitable Trent Farmer.
For those football fans who try to pick the best game each and every week, pencil in the games between the top four or five sides in this division, you could see some bloody brilliant football.