The most eagerly anticipated Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League (MPNFL) season of all time looks set to begin with a bang after today’s official release of fixtures for 2021.
Covid-19 has certainly had a massive impact on the sports we all love this year, but a long hiatus is set to end for our football and netball stars across the Peninsula.
Eighty long and frustrating weekends will have passed since we last saw action when Dromana walked off Skybus Stadium – Frankston Park – as the division one champions after a memorable seven-point victory over Sorrento on Sunday, September 15, 2019.
And the Tigers – well they have a big role to play once again when the curtain finally rolls back on community sport across the Easter weekend of 2021.
Dromana host reigning division two champions Red Hill on Good Friday to begin a blockbuster start to the season on the Southern Peninsula – with Sorrento rolling out the red carpet for Rosebud in front of an expected bumper crowd on Easter Saturday.
Bonbeach and Edithvale-Aspendale will also draw a huge crowd on Good Friday when they lock horns at Cannes Avenue.
And Mornington’s division two credentials will be put to the test early when Simon Goosey and his Bulldogs welcome 2019 grand finalists Karingal to Alexandra Park in round one.
MPNFL Senior Football Operations Manager Haydn Parsons is happy with the fixture but did concede it was an impossible task to keep all 22 MPNFL clubs completely satisfied with the final fixture.
He said all clubs had the opportunity to submit up to three fixture requests as well as the chance to vote on the preferred season structure.
“Each year we provide the clubs with the opportunity to put forward their requests, and ultimately with the fixturing this is what we work to achieve,” Parsons said.
“This year division one clubs overwhelmingly supported the re-use of the 2020 fixture, while we received many unique requests in division two, and we’ve accommodated a large proportion of those. It’s been a challenging process to get to this stage but overall I think it’s a well-balanced fixture that will provide plenty of highlights along the way.
“Obviously 2021 could provide some unique challenges due to the impact of Covid-19, but at this stage, we’re very comfortable with where both fixtures sit and very excited that football and netball are both set to return.”
The promotion-relegation system also impacts netball, and MPNFL Netball Operations Manager Sam Downie said there was an exciting new balance across both senior competitions. The growth of junior programs across the league was also a great sign moving forward.
“In 2019 we had Seaford drop down to division two and that club certainly had an impact on the competition, and I think we can expect to see the same from Mornington next season,” Downie said.
“And who knows how Red Hill will match up in division one – it’s just exciting that each year we now have a new edge to both competitions.
“The five-team finals series seemed to work pretty well in its first year, and will continue, and the early signs would indicate that we will be strong in the 17-and-under area as well – which is really exciting moving forward.”
As yet no confirmation has been made surrounding interleague competition in 2021, while themed rounds will be announced over the coming weeks after communication from AFL Victoria and consultation with local community groups and organisations.
Clubs have also been working closely with Frankston Dolphins with a view to fixturing some MPNFL games at Skybus Stadium, Frankston Park.
Links to the 2021 fixtures have been provided below, or the fixtures can be found by visiting the MPNFL website https://www.aflsoutheast.com.au/mpnfl/ and clicking on the Football tab.
AFL South East Media