By Tricia Mifsud
WALLAN Football Netball Club is more determined than ever ahead of the 2022 Riddell Football Netball League season, which kicks off on Saturday, after COVID-19 restrictions cut last year’s season short and dashed any hopes of a long-awaited senior premiership.
The Magpies finished atop the ladder last year with nine out of a possible 10 wins.
With a similar list going into 2022, assistant coach Spencer Mathieson said the club was hoping results mirrored last year.
“We are going to go about it in a similar way, and we’re just hoping to have another good season,” he said.
“We retained the majority of our players from last year – pretty much everyone has returned to the side.
“They’ve had a great pre-season, and nine players made the team of the year last and majority of them are still with us.
“We are expecting big things from our players, and for our younger players, we’re looking forward to them getting more opportunities.”
After finishing middle of the pack in 2021, Romsey will push for a top four finish this year, with senior coach Paul Kennedy appointed to his second season in the role.
Several Redbacks have returned for the season including captain Nathan Blair, running machine Matt Burkett and 2021 RDFNL team of the year centre half-forward Jack Jedwab.
“Our plan all along was to retain the list we already had. We wanted to make sure we had everyone signed away and we were fortunate enough to do that and then we finished the list with a few signings,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy believes his side will be stronger this year, spending the pre-season refining areas of the game that didn’t go the Redbacks’ way in 2021.
“We will be a fair bit stronger than last year. I came to the club last year and brought a whole new game plan and we finished six [wins] and four [losses] but there were still a lot of things we were doing wrong,” he said.
“The preseason gave us a chance to go over everything for the season … and it’s really exciting to see this young team together, both the returning players and new signings.”
It was a different story for Lancefield Football Club, which finished eighth in 2021 with only two wins to its name.
Tom Waters will return as senior head coach, along with a number of familar faces including reigning best and fairest and most valuable player Lukas Fellows.
Both football and netball action will start with round one action on Saturday, with Romsey to host Wallan and Lancefield travelling to play Woodend-Hesket.