VMMNA kicks off for another season tonight
AFTER an eight-month wait, the newest Victorian Men’s and Mixed Netball Association (VMMNA) season will kick off tonight. The 2022/23 M-League will see a return of the men’s, mixed, and junior divisions for the upcoming season, with a number of new teams confirmed. Though team lists are not officially public, we take a look at the fixtures tonight and some of the players to watch across the competition.
PREMIER MEN’S LEAGUE:
Round 1: (All at 8:20pm)
Altona Falcons vs. City Heat – Court 1
St Therese vs. Darebin Dragons – Court 2
Boroondara Thunder vs. Ariels – Court 6
In the Premier Men’s competition, St Therese will return for another season coming off its 2021/22 title, facing new side Darebin Dragons first-up. Tom Hardwick won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the grand final win over Netblacks last season, and the team looms as once again the team to beat. Sam Bury, Riley Richardson and Cameron Powell were among other key players who provided strength through the attack and midcourt respectively.
Last year’s grand finalists Netblacks have the bye first up, so the likes of Junior Levi and Deepak Patu – who both had terrific seasons – will have to wait a little longer to get on the court. Semi-finalists City Heat have new side Altona Falcons up first in Round 1, with the team that went down to the eventual premiers in the penultimate match last season keen to make amends early. In the other match, new side Boroondara Thunder clash with Ariels.
PREMIER MIXED LEAGUE:
Round 1: (All at 7:00pm)
Ariels vs. Eastside Sonics – Court 7
Valley Wolves vs. NNE Vipers – Court 6
Parkville Panthers vs. Geelong – Court 9
Melbourne Quakes vs. Altona Falcons – Court 8
The biggest match of Round 1 has to be the grand final rematch between Parkville Panthers and Geelong, with the former looking to reverse their fortunes from the final game of last year. The Panthers went into the clash undefeated as minor premiers, but the Cougars came to play that day, coming away with the win.
Though Melissa Bragg has AFLW commitments now, the Cougars have plenty of talent, and will be eyeing off yet another title. Zanna Woods won Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the grand final, while Jake Noonan and Cameron Allum among the stars that day. Jake Hederics, Richardson and Brodie Roberts were among the better players for the Panthers in the loss.
In other games, the Ariels will take on the Eastside Sonics in a clash of two sides that failed to make finals last season. They will both be hoping to step up when it counts and get their seasons off to the perfect start. Meanwhile Valley Wolves – who went down in the semi-finals to Geelong last season – will be hoping to go one better when they take on NNE Vipers. In the last game, Melbourne Quakes – who finished fourth last season – will take on newcomers Altona Falcons. Fellow newcomers LTU has the bye this round, with the seven-team competition expanding to nine for the 2022/23 season.
Meanwhile in the Juniors, two grades – the 17 and Under and 14 and Under Divisions – will take place once again. In the 17 and Under grade, Peninsula Waves, St Therese, Darebin and WDNA will all take to the court. For the 14 and Under division, there are four listed sides, with WDNA and St Therese also competing in the younger grade, with newcomers Guy McCleish and TBC the other listed sides.