Welcome back to another season of American Football. That’s 2 seasons in just 1 Calendar year. We wouldn’t have it any other way now, would we?
We see the Men’s competition go back to ONE division, due to the loss of a couple of sides. The Melbourne University Royals have parted ways with the University and are currently looking for a new home in 2023. So, they will sit out this season with most players headed to the South Eastern Predators and a couple, notably WR Jacob Kerin, to the Croydon Rangers. The Geelong Buccaneers will be fielding under 16’s and 19’s but unfortunately, the Senior side will not take the field in 2022.
We see the introduction of an under 13’s competition, which is fantastic to see for the growth of the sport. We have 3 clubs fielding sides in this modified competition. Croydon Rangers, South Eastern Predators and the Northern Raiders.
Men’s DIVISION Predictions
WESTERN CRUSADERS (8-0) 1st Place – Despite showing some weakness midway through the last season, with 2 losses in a row. The Crusaders made light work of their opponents in the final round and in the final’s games. Eventually taking out their 4th Vic Bowl in a row. against the Croydon Rangers. They haven’t really lost anyone to retirement, so there is no reason why they won’t get the 5th Championship at the end of 2022.
CROYDON RANGERS (6-2) 2nd place – The Rangers had some season ending injuries in round 1 last season. Enter Outback and International QB Jared Stegman to the team. Despite having his talents, the Rangers fell very short in the Vic Bowl.
Hopefully we see a full season without injuries to RB Josh Rice, who might need to take a back seat to new recruit Demontrez Simmington, who has previously played for the Royals. He’s a bigger RB than Rice. Definitely something they needed if they wish to compete with the Crusaders. Question will be at QB as their starter from last year (who was injured game 1) isn’t really well known to myself. Waiting in the wings will be former under 19’s and recent State QB David Nilsson. Star recruit Jacob Kerin will make DB’s shake in their boots, needing to keep an eye on him and James Fountain.
WARRIORS GRIDIRON (5-3) 3rd place – The Warriors enter 2022 without RB Luke Jackson. Looks like he’s finally hung up the cleats, as QB Dom Dearman did before last season. Their weakness last season was at QB with 2 young guys still learning the position. James Avia switched to DE, which turned out to be a master stroke with a victory over the Crusaders. Unfortunately, he might need to go back to QB. In saying that, the Warriors are expecting a few new imports this year which includes a QB. Avia might be the backup though.
The running game might be the big question here. Who’s going to take up the role of Jackson, a bruising power back that is difficult to pull down? The Defense will be strengthened with imports and another American native I had a sneak peak of at training. The Offensive line might have the Rookie of the year, if he comes back fit from a pre-season ankle injury that is.
BENDIGO DRAGONS (5-3) 4th place – The Dragons took a break last season and have been busily recruiting. Some of their players played at other clubs last season, while others took a break. After losing the Ballarat Falcons, we need to see the Dragons survive. They generally do well against the teams below them. This is why I have them in 4th spot above the Predators, due to strength of schedule.
WESTERN CRUSADERS 2 (4-4) 5th place – The Cru 2 took out the DIV 2 Championship last season. With some new faces and under 16’s making the leap up, we see the Cru fielding a full 2nd side. The question will be though…will we see coach Craig Wilson suit up with his son a 2nd time? Also, how does this work with players ineligible to switch between sides? I again have them above the Predators due to strength of schedule.
SOUTH EASTERN PREDATORS (3-5) 6th place – If we were awarding Championships for social media activity, the Preds would be winning in a land slide. It’s good to see them promote their sponsors. Clubs don’t survive without sponsorship and volunteers.
We will see some Royals in Preds colours, making them a very solid team. They may sneak in an upset or 2 if this is the case. QB Brad Ferguson should be back after injuring his shoulder midway through last season. They will be interesting to watch.
NORTHERN RAIDERS (1-7) – 7th place – Another club very active on social media. The activity sees them recruit for under 19’s and under 13’s. We haven’t seen under 19’s at Raider Nation for quite some time now. The under 13’s should build a solid junior comp for years to come.
The Senior side have definitely got some talent on offense. Lack of numbers took its toll in most games for the Raiders but they managed to beat the Wolves on 3 occasions. I see them splitting wins with them this year and unfortunately finishing in 2nd last spot. They may surprise though. Let’s hope they do.
MELTON WOLVES (1-7) Last place – Probably the least active on social media of all the clubs. In a sport-soaked suburb, they really need to be more active to recruit players and volunteers.
Word is that their Defensive line is pretty good. Daniel Mansueto will be QB again this season. He is serviceable without being flashy. RB/WR Zac Patrick can turn a game on its head, as he showed in the final round, but he needs more help. Surprised no Buccaneers have turned up at Wolves training.
*Due to personal reasons. GV vision will only be showing ONE men’s game highlights each week. Juniors will not be covered until finals*