Division One shaping up for season 2024

Seville and Belgrave played out a thrilling draw on Anzac Day. Picture: CALLUM LUDWIG

By Callum Ludwig

All teams in the Outer East Division One competition will enjoy a break for the King’s Birthday public holiday with the exception of Alexandra and Seville.

While the Rebels will host the Blues in their annual home fixture held on the long weekend, let’s see how the rest of the competition has gone so far.

The fixture has looked down favourably for the public holiday clash with Alexandra and Seville currently occupying the two top spots on the ladder.

The Rebels are currently two premiership points clear, having only suffered one loss in their seven games so far, to Healesville.

The stingy defence from Alexandra has been key to their success, only conceding a measly 263 points while their attack boasts like the likes of William Stewart (26 goals) and Edward Watkin (25 goals) who feature among the league’s leading goalkickers while also being supported by Josh Edwards (15 goals).

Tom Boots and Mitch Parker have been the Rebels’ most consistent performers (4 times each in best).

While season 2024 has so far been a success, a cloud does hang over the club with the looming punishments handed down by the league after a salary cap review and the audit found the club had exceeded allowable player payments resulting in the docking of four premiership points this season and a potential $40,000 fine. $15,000 of that fine is suspended should the club comply with the rules for three years, but will be reinstated along with further punishment for any future breaches in that period.

Seville sits in second courtesy of a first-round loss to Warburton-Millgrove and an Anzac Day draw with Belgrave but will be looking to take top spot from Alexandra on Saturday 8 June.

Seville’s spread of goalkickers in a productive attack has been a big positive for the Blues this season with Ryan Farrow (21 goals), Domenic Aloi (14), Nathan O’Keefe (13, Dylan Broadway (9) and Nathan Thompson (8) all averaging over a goal a game.

Bayley Sciortino (6 times in best) has been among those best on ground in all but one game this season, helped by his supporting cast of Thompson (4 times), Jack Nolan and Mark Cecere (3 times).

The Blues have enjoyed being back on their newly resurfaced main oval this season as well as hosting their inaugural Anzac Day marquee fixture, the George Ingram VC Cup.

In the chasing pack for the top two sits Healesville and Warburton-Millgrove.

The Bloods have edged out Seville for the top-scoring team in the competition with 833 points for and plenty of goals coming via the likes of Aaron Edwards (28), Max Donegan (23 and Charlie Warren (15).

Captain Nick Mende is a pillar of consistency, featuring in the best players in all of his 6 games while Brandon Murphy (4 times), Campbell Frazetto, Warren and Edwards (3 times) have also been impressive.

Meanwhile, the Burras are the only side yet to have their bye and will have a two-week break, well-deserved for the likes of Dylan Walker (6 times in best), Tyson Henry, Tom Barr (5 times), and Nelson Aldridge (4 times).

Bailey Humphrey (18 goals) tops their scoring chart, followed by Trent Elliot (13), Lachlan Hewitt, Liam Westlake and Barr (11).

The Burras have caught the eye with their youthful lineup featuring many players from their 2022 Under 18s premiership side who are only growing in maturity with each game alongside the side’s more seasoned senior campaigners.

Belgrave and Yea are in the chasing pack pushing to make sure they are in finals contention, currently holding the fifth and sixth position respectively.

Aaron Green (6 times in best) has been one of the Magpie’s most consistent alongside Christopher Westcott, Lachlan King (4 times), Zachary Prizmic, Ryley Pentland, Kyle Nunn and Daniel Ryan (3 times) who is set for a lengthy period on the sidelines with a meniscus injury.

Nunn (23 goals) leads their goalkicking, followed by Nathan Power (14) and Prizmic (13).

The resurgent Tigers have made a triumphant return to the league after folding in 2023, picking up three wins to this point in the season.

Corbin Sutherland (33 goals) leads the league for goals and has given Yea something to celebrate up front, while Josh Prudden (10 goals), Joe Bennett and Ben Sandells (7 goals) have also had scoreboard impact.

Tyler Faulkner, Patrick Evans, Harrison Jarvie and Sutherland have been the Tiger’s most consistent players.

Two sides have registered a solitary win in season 2024; Yarra Junction and Yarra Glen.

Chris De Jager (6 times in best) has given his all for the Eagles, alongside Jack Bishop, Luke Spaulding (5 times) and Stephen Naylor (4 times).

Sam Morton (9 goals) has been Yarra Junction’s key avenue to goal while Leigh McCombe and Bishop (5 goals) have also registered a few majors in the season so far.

The River Pigs can count on Sam Wood (6 times in best) and Thomas Sullivan ( 5 times) to deliver the goods every week while Nate Capuano, Josh Hawkins, Chris Beattie, Caleb Surplice, Nicholas McKenzie and Jim Marks (3 times) have impressed in multiple games.

Hawkins (16 goals) and McKenzie (6) have been the most dangerous forward of centre for Yarra Glen.

Powelltown found themselves in a perilous position at the start of the season following an exodus of players and coach left the back-to-back premiers of the former Division Two struggling to pull a team together, even forfeiting their Round Three match against Alexandra.

Thankfully, they’ve managed to put out a side for each game since though performances have been tough at times for supporters.

Club legend and captain-coach Ben Wratten can hold his head high after featuring in the side’s best players in every game they’ve played, as well as Nathan Moody and Jason Walker (4 times).

Nathan McCullough (5 goals) and Walker (4) have been the main source of goals for the Towners.

Most teams will return on 15 June, with the exception of Alexandra, Seville and Warburton-Millgrove;

Belgrave will make the trip out to Yea

Healesville will welcome Yarra Junction

Yarra Glen hosts Powelltown.