Mininera and District Football League 2015 season begins

AFTER another busy off-season of recruiting, planning and sweating it out in the summer sun, 12 Mininera and District Football League clubs will hit the ground running tomorrow in the hope of opening the season with a win.
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This year’s competition is shaping as one of the closest in recent times, with a handful of teams bolstering their list with key players in the hope of closing the gap on reigning premier Moyston/Willaura.

The Pumas will unfurl their 2014 flag at Willaura tomorrow afternoon before beginning their title defence against the Ararat Eagles.

Despite Moyston/Willaura farewelling premiership coach Trent Fiscalini and power forward Aaron McKinnis, new leader Jacob Hamilton would be quietly confident his side can kick off the season on a winning note.

The Pumas have quality across the park, with Lachie Hamilton heading up a potent forward line, while experienced duo Lynden Brewis and John Vanderwaal will dictate play around the ground.

Eagle-turned-Puma James Dalkin won’t have to wait long to meet his old club and will provide good relief to Josh Bywater in the ruck.

Bywater’s direct opponent Nick Bulger will have plenty of responsibility to shoulder for Ararat, as he looks to feed the likes of Ash Leggett, Lewis Baker and young gun Jordan Thomas.

With Tatyoon being touted as a strong premiership contender, new coach Damian Cameron will be keen to get away to a strong start against another 2014 finalist in Hawkesdale/Macarthur.

Cameron said the Hawks should be at full strength, including new and returning recruits Tory Chapple, Zach Louder, Sam Thomson, Tyler Cronin and Richard Tucker.

“Hawkesdale only missed out on a grand final by eight points last year, so I am guessing they are going to be there abouts again,” he said.

“I haven’t heard too much about them, but it is always a big challenge going down to their home ground in round one.

“We haven’t played all together before, but it will be the perfect chance to see how we are set up for the season.”

SM&W Rovers coach Joe Carmody said his players will be taking nothing for granted in their round one clash with Great Western.

“I think it is going to be really tough, you never quite know what to expect,” he said.

“Either way we will be prepared for a tough contest, we can’t just turn up and expect things to run our way.

“You can look back to last time and see that the scoreboard says we won comfortably, however it was hard contested football and we need to expect the same this year.”

The Lions will welcome backformer best and fairest BenNewson, while Andrew Bach willhave his first outing as coach.

Wickliffe/Lake Bolac willbe out for revenge againstGlenthompson/Dunkeld after theRams ended the Magpies’ finalschances in 2014.

New Pies’ coach Chris Hiletsaid his team underachieved lastseason after winning the premiershipthe previous year and will becautious not to start slow againduring the opening month offootball.

“We will be looking towards theold cliché of taking it one gameat a time, hit the contested footyhard early on and set the tone forthe season,” he said.

“Dunkeld are going to come outhard, they are a good side and havepicked up a few — Kane Taylorhas come across from Drysdale inGeelong — to go with an alreadystrong line-up, led by MichaelUebergang.

“We won’t run a hard tag onanyone, but it will be known toour group that when they’ve gotthe ball, as a team, we need to putthe pressure on.”

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