EFL: Finding winning form is the common goal
Coach: Peter Bennett
Ins: Craig Folino (East Ringwood), Jess Moore (Ferntree Gully), Ryan Henderson, Lachlan Mckernan (both Vermont).
Outs: Dean Grice (Port Melbourne).
Chances: The Hawks will again shape as a premiership contender as long as they can put their best side on the field. Midfielder star Dean Grice is a major loss but Folino is as good a replacement as you could find. The Hawks will be competitive once again and with a young midfield could challenge for the flag. Moore is another key signing whose height will be valuable to the Hawks.
Coach: Steve Buckle
Ins: Michael Costello (Norwood).
Outs: David Want (Eastern Lions).
Chances: Heathmont will challenge sides in the division 3 despite it being their first season up. Expect a skilled, committed attack from the Jets, who will again look to stars Leigh Odermatt, Darren Sheen and Anthony Hickey to star.
Coach: Brett Davidson
Ins: Simon Fraser (Kyabram), Marcus Baxter (Lilydale), James Iacono (YVMDFL), Matt McNeil (break).
Chances: Expect a much fitter and deeper Panthers side this season after Davidson spent the off-season building his side’s fitness. Fraser, Baxter and Iacono should all make the senior team better. Davidson said the Panthers’ depth from players six to 16 had improved significantly.
Coach: Matt Price
Ins: Jake Uslar (YVMDFL), Matt Lawrence (Lilydale).
Chances: Club veteran Matt Price takes on the coaching reins this season and expects his club to push for a finals place. But with a young list, Price will also be patient and hope he can push his side towards a successful season. Lawrence and Uslar look likely to add quality to the Cougars’ midfield.
Coach: Brett Moyle
Ins: Max Melzer (Balwyn), Tom Buckley (Bright), Josh Barrett (Lilydale).
Outs: Daniel Walls (retired).
Chances: The Saints expect to be thereabouts once again. Walls will be a loss after kicking more than 40 goals last season but Moyle expects Melzer to make an impact at division 3 level while Buckley and Barrett should add creativity and run to the Saints’ forward line.
Coach: Nick Tennant
Ins: Ryan Grinter (NFL).
Outs: Tom Gysberts (Kilsyth).
Chances: The Redbacks again want to press for a finals berth. Whether they get there remains to be seen but expect a young, skilled side in 2012. Grinter returns to the club from the Northern Football League.
Glen Waverley Hawks
Coach: Mick Gaul
Ins: Sam Zikman (Mulgrave), Karl Schoenmaekers (VAFA).
Chances: With height up forward and strong ball-winners in midfield the Hawks won’t be pushovers.
Coach: Matt Clarke
Ins: Chris Baker (Kilsyth), Harry Melzer (Balwyn), Jarryd Briscoe (Balwyn), Sam Bates (Nunawading).
Outs: David Edgcumbe (Vermont).
Chances: After two relegations Wantirna South is looking to happier days in 2012 and possibly a finals appearance. After pumping games into their teenage senior players last year, Clarke expects his side to be much stronger this term. Melzer and Briscoe should add much-needed muscle and experience to their midfield.
Templestowe, Warrandyte, Mitcham and Whitehorse Pioneers also play in division 3.
Coach: Michael Glassborrow.
Ins: Clinton King (Keysborough), Clinton Jones (Vermont).
Chances: The Basin was shattered to miss out in last year’s elimination final, so expect it to press hard for the finals although the finals race again looks tight.
Coach: Bernie Ryan
Chances: New coach Ryan should have the Eagles up and about although he may need a season to get his side into line time before making a real push for the flag.
Coach: Nick Cox
Ins: Dean Burnell (EDFL), Anthony Willenberg (Mulgrave), Marty De Luca (Mulgrave),
Chances: Cox believes his side will start slower than last year as the Saints work towards playing their best football in the second half of the season leading into the finals. South Belgrave was heartbroken to miss out last year, so expect a more determined side in 2012. Willenberg and De Luca add size to their side while Burnell is tipped to make an impact and centurion goalkicker Lucas Appleby will go around again.
Park Orchards Sharks
Coach: Peter Nicholson
Chances: Park Orchards has already notched a win over Ivanhoe Amateurs during the preseason and hope to add more victories to their maiden EFL campaign. Nicholson is pleased with his list but the realities of the first season could see the Sharks have some tough days.
Coach: Simon Caldwell
Ins: Ton Gysberts (Ringwood), David Anderson (VAFA).
Outs: Chris Baker (Wantirna South), Adam Oxley, Jai Smith (both Wandin).
Chances: Kilsyth has focused on its young players in the off-season and will push its teenage talent into the seniors. Expect a young and exciting Cougars side. Caldwell said the spirit around the club has never been better. Hopefully, the results follow.
Coach: Chris Goodlet
Ins: Ash Froud (Vermont), Jake Straughair (break), Bryce Litchfield (Lilydale).
Chances: The Cats plan on becoming a premiership contender. With high-powered recruits like Froud and Litchfield and returning stars like captain Mark Cullen, expect them to go close. Health and fitness will be the key areas for the Cats. If they are healthy come finals time, look out. Nunawading, Forest Hill, Surrey Park, Eastern Lions and Canterbury also play in division 4.
EFL divisions 1 and 2 will be previewed next week.