THE Hampden league season is over before it began owing to a worldwide pandemic.
Soon attention will turn to recruitment and the 2021 campaign.
It got The Standard thinking: Which three players would the senior coaches love to snare from their rivals?
Eight of the 10 coaches submitted their picks. First-year mentors - Hamilton Kangaroos' Gerard FitzGerald and Port Fairy's Winis Imbi - said they had not seen enough to make qualified selections.
Former AFL player Dan Nicholson, now with Port Fairy, was chosen four times as was Koroit premiership forward Sam Dobson, who has spent time in the VFL system.
Seagulls swingman Matt Sully had three suitors because of his versatility.
Midfield duo Sam McLachlan (North Warrnambool Eagles) and Kaine Mercovich (Port Fairy), forward Darren Ewing (Warrnambool) and defender Dallas Mooney (Koroit) each received two votes.
Emerging Terang Mortlake utility Joe Arundell, Hamilton Kangaroos leader Hamish Waldron, South Warrnambool tall Shannon Beks, Terang Mortlake veteran Nick Couch and Warrnambool forward Sam Cowling all received a nod.
Neville Swayn, Camperdown:
His picks: Darren Ewing (Warrnambool), Sam Dobson (Koroit) and Sam McLachlan (North Warrnambool)
Why: "Ewing is a 100-plus goal-kicker so you take them, Dobson is a mobile half-forward who can run up and down the ground and McLachlan is an A-grade onballer who runs all day."
Adam Courtney, Cobden:
His picks: Sam Cowling (Warrnambool), Dallas Mooney (Koroit), Joe Arundell (Terang Mortlake)
Why: "Everyone wants a big power forward. Sam is still big but very agile, has a great football IQ, positions his body extremely well in the contest and is a great leader. I'm sure most clubs would love to take a player like Sam on their team. He's very highly respected throughout the league. Dallas has a high football IQ, reads the game extremely well across half-back. He's prepared to back himself in and controls the back line really well through his leadership and has been instrumental in Koroit's success. Joe I think is a future star of the competition. Very polished by foot, very good overhead and is not afraid to take the game on. Has that bit of x-factor about him that he can really change a game."
Chris McLaren, Koroit:
His picks: Kaine Mercovich (Port Fairy), Matt Sully (Port Fairy), Dan Nicholson (Port Fairy)
Why: "I'd take three from one team. Mercovich is the best young mid in the comp and I'd love to coach him, Nicholson has probably been the best player in the comp over the past four or five years and his ability to play mid and forward (is great) and Sully is the best versatile big and can probably play every position on the ground."
Jarrod Holt, Portland:
His picks: Darren Ewing (Warrnambool), Hamish Waldron (Hamilton Kangaroos), Dallas Mooney (Koroit)
Why: "Ewing's efficiency is what's most impressive. Only needs to touch the ball a limited amount of times to have a big impact. With Waldron maybe I am a bit biased because I have coached him before (when I was at the Kangaroos) but he is a midfielder that is really tough and brings others into the game around him. Underrated from outside the club but he is a great quality player and a great leader. Mooney really nails that defensive/attacking role. Never plays a bad game. And is a bit unassuming so other teams let him slide by."
Adam Dowie, North Warrnambool Eagles:
His picks: Sam Dobson (Koroit), Kaine Mercovich (Port Fairy), Dan Nicholson (Port Fairy)
Why: "Sam is picked based around his work rate, one-on-one contests and his movement, creating space for other forwards. He's also an exceptionally hard trainer who sets a great example for young players. Kaine for winning inside and outside ball. He's a midfielder and goal-kicker who has shone at interleague level. Tough as, a penetrating kick for an inside mid, team-orientated and works back as well. 'Nicko' is pure class, can go forward or midfield, brilliant one-on-one player who holds his feet exceptionally well. Has plenty of tricks and can play as the focal point or as a small forward."
Mat Battistello, South Warrnambool:
His picks: Sam Dobson (Koroit), Nick Couch (Terang Mortlake), Dan Nicholson (Port Fairy)
Why: "Dobson is an extremely good player and I think our young group could do with a player like Couch for his leadership. He's stayed pretty loyal to Terang. 'Couchy' is still contributing to his footy club and I probably saw what he did in Ballarat as well and maybe people in this region didn't realise at the height of his powers he was an extremely good player in the VFL comp. A classy player like Nicholson at the top-end talent would be very nice for any club I would've thought."
Ben Kenna, Terang Mortlake:
His picks: Sam Dobson (Koroit), Dan Nicholson (Port Fairy), Matt Sully (Port Fairy)
Why: "They all have match-winning ability and are all very versatile players who could cover different lines across the ground."
Matt O'Brien, Warrnambool:
His picks: Matt Sully (Port Fairy), Sam McLachlan (North), Shannon Beks (South)
Why: "Sully is versatile, plays at either end or on the ball, McLachlan is a ball winner and creative user and with Beks, talls who can go forward are always dangerous. Swapping him out of a pocket with Dan Weymouth would cause a lot of headaches for defenders."
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