Men's Division Two Preview
Men’s Division Two
2015 was the year that Camden announced themselves as a club on the rise and they will head into the 2016 Division Two competition as the hottest of favourites. They fell just short in the big dance last year to Blacktown (now Western Magic) but were the clear best team during the home and away season and are a huge chance to go one step further this year. After an influx of inbound transfers last year, the Cats appear to have added further depth to their list in 2016, most notably Matt Edwins which will hold them in a very strong position. The side are very well drilled under second season coach Chris Hughes and with a wealth of experience in their line-up, mixed with a good sprinkling of youth, the Cats are in a great position to claim the flag and gain worthy promotion to Division One. They are near certainties to make finals so their challenge will be to put it all together in September.
Who will challenge the Cats is an interesting discussion with last year’s finalists Manly-Warringah, Penrith and South West Sydney expected to be prominent. Without doubt the most consistent side in Division Two for the past few years, Manly-Warringah will be primed for another season under Matt Rawle after falling agonisingly short last year. Facing Camden in the 2015 Prelim Final, the GIANTS led for most of the day but found themselves 1 point behind as the siren sounded, but with a kickable set shot on goal. The shot missed everything and Camden slipped through to the decider which they subsequently lost to the Magic. More impressive for the GIANTS is that they are a reserve grade side but more than hold their own again predominantly 1st Grade teams. Their season will be dependent on depth and injuries in the higher grade but a finals appearance would be expected.
Penrith started 2015 as the hottest of favourites but they themselves would have been disappointed with the season that followed. They did scrape into the finals thanks to a last round victory over minor-premiers Camden and won their first final before being bundled out. With a few marquee players not playing this year they will need their fringe and younger players to step up to compete this year but you would expect them to be competitive under the guidance of a new coach.
South West Sydney have at times in the past couple of seasons been the clear best side but have mixed form and failed to deliver when it really counts. They will be confident of a strong season and are one of the sides Camden will be keeping a close eye on, in particular after some very close matches in 2015.
After a poor 2014 and first half of 2015, North Shore finally hit their straps in the 2nd half of last season to just miss finals and will bring plenty of momentum to this year and must be confident of a return to finals action. With their seniors rebuilding and an exceptional group of Under 19’s last year (won the Division One flag), the Bombers Division Two side should be a beneficiary of increased depth and will be a serious challenger.
The three University sides (UNSW/ES, Sydney University and UTS) are always the real unknowns in the lower grades being their clubs reserves (UNSW/ES), fourths (Sydney University) and third (UTS) grade sides. Their seasons will ultimately be determined by their higher grades injury runs and unavailability’s week to week. Always big players in the transfer market you can never get a real read on the Students and Bats in particular. The latter in particular do have strong winning cultures so higher finishes wouldn’t surprise.
Randwick City were competitive in their first season of Division Two last year and will be looking to improve on that but seem to have plateaued after a number of successful seasons while we are expecting Western Suburbs to be the big fallers this year, mainly due to the significant losses their senior grade side have had which are hard to replace.
Division Two over probably the last 5 years has been the most even competition and we expect 2016 to be very similar with almost every side a premiership chance and all 10 sides confident at this time of year of playing finals.
Listed transfers to date
Louis Aliphon, Jarryd Boyd, James Brady, Jarrod Campbell, Matthew Edwins
Matt Morey, James Watkins, Jonathan Wright, Robert Woolnough
Trent Harrington, Miguel Limson, Peter Williams
James Denton, Tristan Challenger, Jarrod Dowton, James Dwyer, Luke Hyland, Daniel McDonald
South Western Sydney
Daniel Bushell, Jarrod Dowton, Bowen Kelly, Aaron Mutimer
Benjamin Bloore, Tony Gibson
Jackson Howes, Jarryd Millard, Daniel Parsons, Timothy Van Loenhout
Richard Lawson, Jacob Macgregor, Matt Whitlock
Sanders Medal players to watch
With the Cats expected to be the clear side to beat, they are the favourites to produce yet another Sanders medallist after Josiah Ayling won in consecutive seasons in 2012 & 2013 and polled well last year alongside Mark Maher. If Matt Edwins can stay fit he will poll well but with so many quality players, the Cats could well take votes from each other leaving the window for someone like last year’s runner up Shaun Wicken to claim the medal.
- South West Sydney
- North Shore
- Sydney University
- Randwick City
- Western Suburbs