Unfortunately, the Women’s competition will not go ahead due to lack of registered teams but the Men’s competition will see 2 Divisions with 6 teams in Division 1 and 3 teams in Division 2, the Development League.
With import players not being able to make the trip in time and due to restrictions, it will be left up to our local talent and some ex pat Americans/Canadians who call Australia home. This should be the closest Division 1 year in a while.
Losing 3 Division 2 clubs hasn’t been ideal but we have definitely faced times we hopefully will never see again. Division 2 will be unpredictable. We hope to see the Bendigo Dragons, Ballarat Falcons and Peninsula Sharks make a return for the 2022 season in September.
There will be a 10-week schedule before finals and then the Vic Bowl on the 2nd April.
Western Crusaders – Matthew Krul will be steering the ship as QB for the 3-time defending champion. Having not lost a game in 3 seasons, they may just lose at least one this year. Krul is better known for his scrambling ability, not so much his accuracy with his arm. Time will tell if his elbow can last out the season. The Crusader RB’s will be the difference as will the stellar Defense they have put together. DE Jnala Saluni will probably be back out of retirement AGAIN, wreaking havoc on opposing QB’s. The loss of WR Prince Coleman to the Preds is big and they will need to cover him.
South Eastern Predators – Coming agonisingly close in the semi-finals in 2019, the Predators look to improve and make it to their first ever Vic Bowl appearance. The Crusaders are the one club in their way and I am sure head coach Mel Martin would love to knock them off as would WR requisition from the Cru, Prince Coleman. Only question is, can they improve from where they left off 2 years ago?
Melbourne University Royals – With information of the majority of the under 19 championship team sticking around, I see the Royals as a roughie for the title. Young man mountain QB Declan Ramage will be competing for the starting job. With head coach Noah Simms taking the reins, they should be well off. Let’s see if the success of the under 19’s continues into the senior men’s side. They took a massive slide in the last half of 2019.
Warriors Gridiron Club – You can never count the Warriors out. Unfortunately, with an aging team that see’s GV and Warriors Legend Dom Dearman hanging up the boots after 25+ years, they won’t be returning for another VIC Bowl. RB Luke Jackson returns for another year but questions remain at QB. They will be sporting new uniforms which look really good. Could this be the start of a slide?
Croydon Rangers – With the retirement of QB Jamie Stafford, the Rangers are hopeful that the influx of new players has an immediate impact. Look for WR James Fountain to have a big year if Stafford’s replacement at QB is just as reliable as he was. Mark Doyle will be leading the Defense once again. Looking forward to seeing their new pavilion in person (Round 4). They could have a star in the making at Tight End.
Geelong Buccaneers – Unfortunately for the Bucs, it could be relegation for them (providing it’s a ONE team club moving up and relegation is actually a thing this season). Rumor has it a few ex-players are returning for another run. If that is the case, I see them winning a few more games than predicted.
Western Crusaders – No surprise to see this club with a second side who will want to make a name for themselves. Some talented under 19’s (from 2019) will most likely feature in this team. They also don’t have an under 19’s side this time which will see that age group playing here. Rumour is, we could also see Father and Son combination with Wilson and Wilson. Div 1 coach Craig and his son could be taking the field together for the first time. At the ripe old age of 63…sorry typo, 53, Craig brings a wealth of experience skills and passion to this team.
Northern Raiders – The biggest question isn’t whether they will Punt….it’s whether they were able to recruit and hold onto veteran players. Something they haven’t done too well of late. They always seem to perform well against Melton, so I see them finishing above them here on points for.
Melton Wolves – A club that finds it hard to hold onto its players. There are some really good veterans returning but mostly rookies make up the numbers, which has swollen out to 40+. Lack of experience and size is why I have them where they are. Rookie QB Dylan Page will be interesting to watch. They may surprise!
There you have it. My 2021 predictions. What are your thoughts?
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