Mornington’s Warwick Miller led the MPNFL against Northern last year. Miller has once again been selected to take on Ovens and Murray at Rosebud on May 18.
By David Nagel
Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League (MPNFL) coach Chris Holcombe is hoping a new approach will have his team cherry ripe to take on Ovens and Murray (OM) in the 2019 AFL Victoria Community Championships.
The clash, at Rosebud on Saturday, May 18, will be the fourth time the MPNFL has met one of its biggest rivals in the last nine years. The MPNFL holds a perfect three-zip record against OM during that period, with victories in 2011, ’13 and ’15.
But with two of those victories coming by 10 points or less, Holcombe knows the MPNFL will need to be at its very best to win the battle between the third and fourth-ranked leagues in the state.
The winner will take on the cream of the crop in 2020 against either Geelong or Northern.
“We’re doing things a lot differently this year and I’m really happy with how the group is coming together,” Holcombe said.
“Last year we went wide and had a lot of training sessions, where this year we have selected a smaller group and will train just three times in the lead in. I’m confident it will be the right preparation method, and give us more focus, heading in.”
The squad of 37 players – including nine that took on the OM in 2015 – have all been contacted by Holcombe or his assistant coaches, Brendan Dunne, Bevan Malloy and Andrew Morrison. More than half have already committed to train at Frankston on May 6, 13 and 15 and to continue the proud history of MPNFL representative football.
“The carrot is there again to have a crack at the number-one ranking next year and that’s something that is worth fighting for,” Holcombe said.
“Players like Byron Barry and Trent Dennis-Lane, who have played a higher level of football, have been fantastic and are really keen to make an impact. And there are players like Kevin Lylak, Jake Lovett, Shannon Gladman and Blaine Coates that look perfectly suited to this level of football.
“A lot of great players have pulled on this jumper over the years and we just want to treat it with respect and do it proud. We’ll put on a good show for those who come down and support us on the day.”
MPNFL SENIOR SQUAD – 2019
Brendan Dunne, Bevan Malloy, Andrew Morrison
Trent Dennis-Lane, Dylan Jones, Shane McDonald, Luke Verma.
Sam Fowler, Sam Geurts.
Shayne Allan, Tom Lamb, Steve Mannix.
Byron Barry, Kyle Hutchison, Matt LaFontaine, Kevin Lylak, Jake Lovett, Scott MacLeod, Paul Minchington, Christian Ongarello, Lachlan Street*, Lachlan Wallace.
Jackson Calder, Warwick Miller.
Blaine Coates, Ryan Turnbull*.
Nick Boswell, Russell Gabriel, Luke Potts.
Shannon Gladman, James Hallahan, Mitch Hallahan, Chad Harris*, Luke Lowden, Nick Marston, Luke Tapscott.
*Pending VFL release.