2017 Heathcote District league season review

BOMBS AWAY: Leitchville-Gunbower's premiership team. The Bombers won their first flag since 1995 last weekend. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
BOMBS AWAY: Leitchville-Gunbower's premiership team. The Bombers won their first flag since 1995 last weekend. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

ALL THE 2017 HEATHCOTE DISTRICT LEAGUE SENIOR RESULTS

CLUB by club review of the 2017 Heathcote District league season.

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1st – LEITCHVILLE-

GUNBOWER

Record – 18-1, 263%

Avg. for/against – 137/52

Attack: 2nd Defence: 1st

Comparison to last year:

+3 wins, +15 points per game improvement 

(attack: +7 defence: +8)

Club best top three:

Matt Ladson – 46

Matt Pollock – 44

Jackson McEwen – 38

Based on weekly best players: 6 points for best, 5 for second best and so on.

Top goalkickers:

Matt Perri – 124

Jack Dye – 41

Ayden Walton – 28

The Bombers earned themselves a third-straight crack at the grand final and finally delivered a long-awaited flag.

And they did it against what had been one of the hottest of HDFL flag favourites throughout the year in North Bendigo – their conqueror of the past two seasons.

Ended the season with an 18-1 record, which included eight victories by over 100 points as their combination of damaging run and skill proved a class above.

Matt Perri was massive up forward with 124 goals, while the future looks exciting given the Bombers have now won back-to-back under-17 flags.

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2nd – NORTH BENDIGO

Record – 16-3, 260%

Avg. for/against – 141/54

Attack: 1st Defence: 2nd

Comparison to last year:

-1 win, +24 points 

(attack: +12, defence: +12)

Club best top three:

Brett Strange – 43

Tyson Findlay – 35

Brady Herdman – 33

North Bendigo's Jarrod Findlay.

North Bendigo's Jarrod Findlay.

Top goalkickers:

Sam Barnes – 70

Brady Herdman – 67

Rhys Ford – 49

Interesting to note the Bulldogs were a two-goal-a-game better team both defensively and offensively compared to their premiership season last year, yet they couldn’t add another flag.

What that shows is that the Bulldogs were able to monster seven of their opponents, but they more than met their match in Leitchville-Gunbower.

Lost three of their four clashes against the Bombers, including last week’s grand final and ultimately had to settle for second in what was a season that created plenty of headlines with some brutal wins and a Cheatley Medal to Jarrod Findlay, but ended in disappointment.

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3rd – HUNTLY

Record – 12-7, 143%

Avg. for/against – 114/80

Attack: 3rd Defence: 4th

Comparison to last year:

-1 win, -6 points 

(attack: -3, defence: -3)

Club best top three:

Ryan Semmel – 43

Rhett Sutton – 39

Phil Ryan – 35

Top goalkickers:

Harry Whittle – 51

Chris Gleeson – 50

Ryan Semmel – 42

Huntly ruckman Rhett Sutton.

Huntly ruckman Rhett Sutton.

Second year in a row the Hawks have fallen one step short of playing off for the flag after again losing to North Bendigo in the preliminary final.

Fought their way back from a horror start to the season when they lost their first game to North Bendigo by 149 points and were beaten by White Hills the following week that had the league pondering what had become of the Hawks?

However, they rebounded strongly and dished out plenty of hidings of their own, with their 12 victories including seven by at least 100 points – one of which was the elimination final whitewash against White Hills by 122 points.

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4th – COLBINABBIN

Record – 11-7, 128%

Avg. for/against – 89/69

Attack: 4th Defence: 3rd

Comparison to last year:

-2 wins, -15 points 

(attack: -13, defence: -2)

Club best top three:

Nat Nixon – 44

Sam Vale – 39

Damien Carmody – 35

Top goalkickers:

Nick Knight – 47

Ryan Hon – 38

Damien Carmody – 35

Colbinabbin's Nat Nixon.

Colbinabbin's Nat Nixon.

Another first semi-final exit for the Grasshoppers, who after finishing third to earn the double chance were bundled out in straight sets by Leitchville and Huntly.

Losing the retired Grant Weeks a month out from the start of the season was a massive blow and left the trio of coach Nick Knight, Ryan Hon and Damien Carmody to carry a heavy scoring load.

The trio combined to kick 120 of the Grasshoppers’ 229 goals, while recruit Nat Nixon had a big impact in his first season as one of the side’s most consistent players.

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5th – WHITE HILLS

Record – 7-10, 87%

Avg. for/against – 85/97

Attack: 5th Defence: 5th

Comparison to last year:

+2 wins, +34 points 

(attack: +20, defence: +14)

Club best top three:

Jake Dickens – 50

Ryley Dickens – 39

Lachlan Sidebottom – 28

Top goalkickers:

Sean Christopher – 48

Lachlan Furness – 28

Levi Middleton – 15

White Hills' Sean Christopher.

White Hills' Sean Christopher.

Were up-and-about early making a 3-0 start and despite ending the home and away season with just seven wins, it was enough for a return to the finals.

All clubs dealt with setbacks through the year, but you’ve got to feel for Matt Lehane, who after missing all of last year suffered another season-ending knee injury while playing inter-league.

A step back in the right direction for the Demons.

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6th – LBU

Record – 4-12, 58%

Avg. for/against – 66/113

Attack: 7th Defence: 6th

Comparison to last year:

+3 wins, +32 points 

(attack: +14, defence: +18)

Club best top three:

Liam Main – 51

Meyrick Buchanan – 44

Marcus Angove – 32

Top goalkickers:

Nathan Dyson – 19

Zeik Johnston – 18

Hayden Mitchell, Meyrick

Buchanan – 15

LBU'S Liam Main.

LBU'S Liam Main.

After claiming last year’s wooden-spoon the Cats rose three positions on the ladder to finish sixth.

Lost their first eight games of the season, but then built some momentum on the back of four wins in six games between rounds 10 and 15 where midfielder Meyrick Buchanan, in particular, showed his class.

Finished the season with a total of four wins, but there were four other games where they were either in front or within a kick at three quarter-time.

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7th – HEATHCOTE

Record – 4-12, 49%

Avg. for/against – 61/123

Attack: 8th Defence: 7th

Comparison to last year:

+3 wins, -2 points 

(attack: -3, defence: +1)

Club best top three:

Dylan McCutcheon – 38

Jake Condon – 37

Darcy McLean – 34

Top goalkickers:

Jordan Cavallaro – 17

Bradley Morgan – 17

Luke Podhajski – 14

Heathcote's Jake Condon.

Heathcote's Jake Condon.

Were tipped by many pre-season to be the competition strugglers that would battle to win a game.

But after seven games they already had three wins on the board and, apart from a 187-point hiding off North Bendigo in round one, competed admirably.

Tapered off though in the second half of the season, winning just one of their last nine games as their young bodies ran out of legs.

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8th – ELMORE

Record – 3-12-1, 51%

Avg. for/against – 69/134

Attack: 6th Defence: 9th

Comparison to last year:

-5 wins, -49 points 

(attack: -21, defence: -28)

Club best top three:

Nathan Brewster – 37

Nicholas Kellow – 33

Tyler Oliver – 22

Top goalkickers:

James Harney – 34

Danny Brewster – 33

Dale Williamson – 20

Elmore coach Danny Brewster.

Elmore coach Danny Brewster.

Were the big sliders of the competition, dropping from finalist last season to second-last this year.

But that also came with a significant drop in player points from an average of 44 last year to 36 this season as the club under new coach Danny Brewster shifted its focus back towards locals.

Endured some tough days with seven losses by more than 100 points, but they were good enough to beat finalist White Hills.

Used the most players in the competition with 47.

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9th – MOUNT PLEASANT 

Record – 2-13-1, 37%

Avg. for/against – 49/131

Attack: 9th Defence: 8th

Comparison to last year:

-3 wins, -40 points 

(attack: -25, defence: -15)

Club best top three:

Adam Richardson – 48

Nicholas Butler – 24

James Walsh – 21

Top goalkickers:

Ryan Herring – 21

Kris Clifford – 12

Mathew Johnson – 11

Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant.

A rare wooden spoon for the Blues, who endured a season to forget with just two wins, which both came in their first four games.

Their standout player in a season where they lost eight games by at least 100 points was midfielder Adam Richardson.

After a tough year, looking forward to seeing what impact new coach Darren Walsh can have in 2018.