Coach: Clint Einsiedel
IN: T. Burgess, B. Claridge, R. Elkington, R. Farmer, H. Hopkins, A. Kelly, H. Kenny, R. King, J. Mathews, H. McCabe
OUT: B.Kersten, A.Marx, M.Riseley, S.Russell, J.Stone, X.Taylor
CLASSY, confident, well organised and disciplined are just some of the adjectives you could use to describe the MGFL premiers of 2018.
Coach Clint Einsiedel demands a strong team-first effort on and off the field and that’s just what the defending premiers deliver time and time again.
The Bloods have the numbers working hard in all areas of the game which makes them a very tough team to crack.
Without question the measuring stick of the competition, Trafalgar have had a very similar preseason to last year.
They will be hunted from the get-go in 2019 and Einsiedel and his charges will relish it.
Coach: Tony Giardina
IN: B. Brownscombe, L. Heywood, D. Loprese, D. Metcalf, R. Munnich, N. O’Connor, Z. Smith
OUT: Z. Bell, O. Brennan, T. Cameron, J. Carnes, D. Cooper, K. Foley, K. Kreun, M. Porykal, R. Smyth, D. Williams, T. Waack
A WINLESS 2017 led the Demons back to their last premiership coach Tony Giardina.
The experienced Giardina showed patience and remained composed throughout 2018 despite yet another season without a win.
Boolarra would be heading into 2019 confident their first victory could be secured very early in the year after some impressive recent training form.
Player gains and losses probably place the Demons a little ahead of where they were at the same time last year.
A preseason has had the Demons taste victory, albeit in practice games, but like any skill, winning can be a habit and it’s one the Demons will be chasing this year.
Coach: Mike Santo
IN: N. Balfour, L. Coulter, R. Cumiskey, A. Fawcett, J. Grant, I. Kondo, K. MacKenlay, M. Marchant, L. Tumino, H. Vaninetti, J. White
OUT: S. Fairbairn, J. Hammond, N. Hammond,, J. Hecker, A. Holt, C. Ketchen, I. Ketchen, N. Ketchen, J. Leicester, M. Moseley, J. Paulet
REGARDED as one of the better players in the competition, Mike Santo will need to be on the park as much as possible for the Rovers in 2019.
A knee injury to the playing-coach early in 2018 had Hill End trying to fill gaps for most of the year.
Their top five are as good as any in the competition but it’s those at the bottom end of the best 20 that have Hill End a whisker away from being a finals contender.
Recruiting has been a feature of the off-season and the benchmark for a senior spot would certainly have been lifted.
Coach: Josh Taylor
IN: H. Anders, T. Cameron, T. Cannizzo, J. Couper, M. Hosie, A. Marangon, R. Melbourne, Q. Okane
OUT: Z. Bartlett, J. Brooks, J. Burgess-Pincini, D. Fahey, S. Kennedy, Z. Kilgower, A. Kraus, D. Mclean, S. Pratt, A. Tatchell
STARTS have been concerning for the Tigers in years past but have been followed by a fast finish and finals berth.
A close-knit club that thrives on pressure, it is expected to be one of the contenders once again this season.
It might well be busy for the top four spots this season, so a winning start will be Mirboo North’s initial focus and with that in mind, coach Josh Taylor has been putting the kilometres into his squad’s legs.
Solid in most parts of the ground, another top-liner in the midfield and maybe one more forward could be the difference in yet another premiership challenge.
Coach: Devon Soutar
IN: Z. Casey, D. Hutchison, N. Michealides, J. Scholz, D. Soutar
OUT: M. Brewer, H. Griffiths, P. Ruyters, M. Stephens, A. Sykes, L. Towns
THE Hawks have had a change at the top with the respected Devon Soutar taking the coaching reins from Colin King.
A new face, new ideas and a new voice coming from an experienced head has made for a refreshing preseason.
Skillful and quick with a neat blend of toughness is valuable but lapses in concentration have cost the Hawks close encounters in the past.
Coach: Dean Caldow
IN: J. Humphrey
OUT: J. Brincat, P. Charles, L. Charles, E. Faustin, D. Hamsen, M. Hicks, M. Leicester, J. McDonald, J. McMahon, O. Potts, J. Risol, M. Slattery, J. White
NEWBOROUGH have been respected as tough and honest and that will be more important than ever before in 2019.
The Bulldogs lost their most valuable player and 2018 leagues best and fairest winner Jared Risol.
The key position player was used to fill gaps in almost every position last year and will be sorely missed.
If you throw in the loss of key forward Michael Gelagotis it seems that the Bulldogs might be in for a challenging year and the outcome of a number of pending clearances will be crucial.
However if anyone can make it work, it’s experienced coach Dean Caldow.
Coach: Ray Pickering
IN: W. Jennings, A. Sykes
OUT: M. Brown, J. Collie L. Collie, S. Doll, M. Holmes, B. Leach, B. Thompson
THORPDALE have endured a challenging off-season and there is no shortage off-field work being done to ensure the on-field work pays off.
The loss of coach Josh Collie and a number of other Melbourne-based players meant the Blues were on the back foot.
They have played finals the last two seasons and pulling together enough players for a reserves side will be crucial to the success of their senior team.
They might not be over the line yet but with newly-appointed coach Ray Pickering there is no question the Blues are again heading in the right direction.
Coach: Barrie Burnett
IN: D. Benson, H. Bishop, B. Buckley, J. DeVirgiilo, T. Dobson, J. Edebohls, H. Eenjes, H. Hopkins, K. Jennings, S. Lodge, J. Massesse, J. McMahon, D. Paul, H. Paulet, J. Robinson, BJ. Smith, C. Stapersma, M. Williams
OUT: B. Coates, S. Galea, L. Jenkinson, D. Martini, B. Paulet, H. Read, J. Tatnell, N. Tatnell
ON their day and with a little room to move, Yallourn-Yallourn North can be almost impossible to stop, but in 2018 both Yinnar and Trafalgar managed to close them down when it counted.
Preseason has been geared towards adding personnel to be an even better team than last year and many believe they will be.
Led by playing coach Barrie Burnett, who links many passages of play extremely well, the Bombers also have some of the best forwards in the competition and none better than the 2018 league leading goal kicker Dean MacDonald.
MacDonald kicked more than 100 goals and was backed by the solid Keenan Hughes.
They will win games, they will play finals, they will have their chance to make a grand final in 2019, but will they take it?
Coach: Kane Grinstead-Jones
IN: L. Bell, M. Burge, B. Duve, K. Grinstead-Jones, T. Little, D. Makepeace, J. Makepeace, D. Mehran, A. Mills, Z. Schill, L. Smith, L. Sullivan
OUT: C.Bell, B.Brownscombe, B.Chisholm, D.Hawking, L.Hutchinson, M.Lardner, B.Mccormack, M. Renwick, M. Williams
YINNAR welcomed Kane Grinstead-Jones as coach for 2018 and there was some work to do despite the Magpies being within 10 minutes of winning the 2018 premiership.
The class and composure of outgoing coach Jaime Aitken will be missed but the Magpies have been busy enticing some class to fill the gap.
The signature of versatile, experienced and talented Michael Burge will be welcomed as a player on the field and as a person off the field.
Getting so close last season might well be a incentive in 2019.