Parkville and Geelong to meet again
REIGNING grand finalists Parkville and Geelong will face off in the second rematch of the 2021/22 M-League Premier Mixed Grand Final for the new season. In their first encounter, it was Parkville that took home the chocolates, and the unbeaten side will be favourites again, but it is set to be a beauty. Meanwhile in the Premier Men’s competition, the 2022 action comes to a close with City Heat and Netblacks the key match to watch.
PREMIER MEN’S LEAGUE:
Round 10: (At 8:20pm)
Altona Falcons vs. Boroondara Thunder – Court 1
City Heat vs. Netblacks – Court 2
Darebin Dragons vs. Ariels – Court 6
Bye: St Therese
In the Premier Men’s action, unbeaten top of the table side City Heat clash with reigning grand finalists Netblacks, who are yet to hit their best form. Though showing it in patches, Netblacks have rarely had their best side out on court, leading to inconsistent results. Still, they have maintained a strong first half of the season and sit in third place, a win off reigning premiers St Therese – who have the Round 10 bye – and three wins behind City Heat.
Netblacks have enough talent to match it with the Heat and worry them for the clash. Up front Junior Levi is a constant threat under the post, though the likes of Jesse Failla and Kai Suzuki-McGauran have made life easy with their feeds. When Deepak Patu is in centre, the team stands taller and looks more structured, while the inclusion of Cameron Powell is key.
City Heat have plenty of balance across the court, with Cameron Allum and Brodie McCleish in the shooting circle, and Alastair Punshon capable of playing at both ends. Often he shares the defensive goal with Josh Byron, while Simon Cartwright is capable of rolling into any defensive role. Michael Dower and Jake Noonan are other key midcourters in the Heat outfit that has lead them to seven straight wins.
In other matches, fourth placed Altona Falcons take on the in-form Boroondara Thunder in a massive mid-table battle, while bottom two teams Ariels and Darebin Dragons go head-to-head in the other contest.
Round 10: (At 7:00pm)
Geelong vs. Parkville Panthers – Court 6
NNE Vipers vs. Valley Wolves – Court 7
Altona Falcons vs. Melbourne Quakes – Court 8
Eastside Sonics vs. Ariels – Court 9
A massive grand final rematch will take place in the final round of the season, with reigning premiers Parkville hoping to remain undefeated heading into the New Year break. Geelong upset the Panthers in last year’s decider, but did go down to the Panthers in Round 1, while also having a surprising loss to rising team Altona Falcons. Both teams have some amazing quality players, and is the clear standout game to watch.
Both teams occupy the top two spots, but a Panthers win all but locks in a top two spot at a minimum, and likely minor premiership in the process. Geelong would also slip to third if Altona can get up, making it a fascinating race between the three sides looking to fit into two in the home stretch. If at full strength, Geelong has the likes of Jake Noonan in centre, Brodie McCleish, Cameron Allum and Zanna Woods rotating in the attacking goal circle, while Sarah Szczykulski is important in goal keeper, and Olivia Taylor holding down wing defence.
Parkville’s depth is greater than any side, with Brodie Roberts now teaming up with the likes of Amy Starzer or Kaylia Stanton, while Connor Lilly can rotate through there. Riley Richardson is the star centre, while Jake Hederics and Georgette Paatsch will have important jobs in defence. If Parkville do beat Geelong, then Altona can leapfrog the latter with a victory over Melbourne Quakes. In the other two games, NNE Vipers take on Valley Wolves in an important mid-table battle with both sides at 4-4, while bottom two teams Ariels and Eastside Sonics battle it out. LTU will have the Round 10 bye.
In the 17 and Under matches, St Therese take on Peninsula Waves, while WDNA face Darebin, with both clashes taking place at 7pm. Also at 7pm but on the showcourts of Court 1 and 2, TBC tackle Melbourne Up & Comers, while top two sides St Therese and WDNA go at it.