A DOZEN new names feature in The Standard’s Hampden football league team of the year.
Preliminary finalist North Warrnambool Eagles has five representatives, minor premier Koroit and Cobden each have four, while defending premier Warrnambool has two.
More than half the side comes from the top four teams at the end of the home-and-away season.
The side reflects the league’s new era with young players Adam Wines, Brendan Richardson, Jackson Bell and Mark Murphy earning spots for the first time.
We based our side on performances across the season, with players needing to take the field in at least 11 of the 18 home-and-away games to be eligible. That ruled out Cobden ruckman Levi Dare, who had an injury-ravaged year.
Players including Cobden midfielder/forward Brody Mahoney after a flying start to the season, 2012 Maskell Medal winner Joe Dare, who had an injury-hit year, Warrnambool swingman Sam Cowling, his teammate Darcy Graham and South Warrnambool’s Nick Thompson were unlucky to miss out.
The leadership roles went to minor premier Koroit, with Adam Dowie named coach after rejuvenating a side that finished fifth last season to win 15 matches. He edged out Warrnambool coach Scott Carter, who worked miracles with a side severely reduced by injury for a long period.
Inspirational Koroit skipper Ben Goodall was named captain after arguably his most influential season in a decorated career.
Our inaugural people’s choice team of the year was shaped purely on readers’ votes via our website.
In an interesting twist, voters couldn’t separate Camperdown’s Dan Casey and Warrnambool’s Jason Rowan, with the pair tied on 165 votes.
The top seven forwards, defenders, midfielders were selected, with six starting and one on the bench. It provides contrasts with The Standard teams in some of the selections.
Picking a netball team of the year was particularly hard given the even nature of the competition below runaway minor premier Koroit.
After much gnashing of teeth and emotive debates, particularly because many players were used in a variety of roles, it was hard to look beyond minor premier Koroit’s stellar season.
The Saints dominated our team of the year with four players named in the starting seven.
North Warrnambool Eagles supporters would consider several of their players unlucky but we picked the side on form and consistency across the 18 home-and-away games, not just the last six matches.
Eagles goal attack Annie Blackburn played 10 games, one shy of our qualification, while centre Sophie Barr only played seven matches.
We also gave readers the chance to cast votes in our inaugural people’s choice team of the year.