Time flies when you are having fun.
We are already at the halfway mark of the Goulburn Valley League season and, while clear — or murky — formlines have emerged for every team, individuals are also showcasing what they are made of on a weekly basis.
Musings HQ has seen, heard and deduced enough to once again put its next out and have a crack at picking the football and netball teams of the year.
Obviously plenty can change in half a season, but this columnist still believes the following two teams will stack up closely to the final incarnations when the dust settles at the end of the year.
Below are the GVL mid-season teams of the year for football and netball.
B: Kier Bol (Seymour), Brad Ryan (Tatura), Jordan O’Dwyer (Tatura)
The rebounding ability of Bol, the aerial expertise of Ryan and the hard-nosed edge of O’Dwyer — this last line of defence has it all. O’Dwyer is not necessarily a back pocket player, but in this side he is the lock-down defender and will float wherever needed.
HB: JD Hayes (Euroa), Peter Faulks (Echuca), Lachie Smith (Kyabram)
Hayes just misses a midfield spot of his own, but the half-back flank is arguably where he can do the most damage anyway. Faulks and Smith speak for themselves when it comes to the best defenders in the competition. A number of players are stiff to miss this back six, but it is certainly a tough gig to get.
C: Mick Mattingly (Kyabram), Nick Fothergill (Tatura), Pat Wearden (Kyabram)
For pure, unadulterated silk even Shaun Burgoyne would struggle to match this trio. All of Mattingly, Fothergill and Wearden have pace to burn as well — and when combined with their supreme ability to use the football means lines stay broken when they shatter them.
HF: Brody Webster (Benalla), Angus Byrne (Echuca), Daniel Willis (Echuca)
Another trio in this team with a particular skill in spades — that of marking the ball from any position against any opposition. High balls, contested balls and perfectly weighted balls alike do not stand a chance when Webster, Byrne and Willis are hunting them.
F: Kyle Mueller (Kyabram), James Lawton (Mansfield), Kayne Pettifer (Kyabram)
The only concern with Mueller, Lawton and Pettifer in the same forward line is who will snare a haul the quickest. Quite comfortably the easiest three spots to pick on the field.
R: Shane Neaves (Shepparton United), Zac Keogh (Seymour), Jason Cole (Seymour)
The number one ruckman in a team of the year is a coveted position and, despite his side’s record, I think it is Neaves’ to lose to this point of the season. Keogh and Cole are the most dangerous midfield duo going around.
I/C: Harry Boyd (Shepparton), Brett Mahoney (Mansfield), Will Martiniello (Benalla)
There is comfortably 20 names I could have placed here, but I have gone with a traditional back-up ruckman and two extra midfielders for rotations. Boyd will roll mostly through the forward line and give Neaves a chop-out when he needs it, while Mahoney and Martiniello won’t be kept away from the coalface for long.
The only thing I could see this side missing is another recognised defender, but I will quite happily throw Webster or Willis back there if we need another tall during the contest this side will face against an imaginary opponent.
COACH: Jamason Daniels (Tatura)
Along with overseeing a brilliant recruiting spree over summer, Daniels has guided his Bulldogs expertly throughout the season. Has also been in ripping form on the field himself and could certainly be a playing coach in this side as well.
GK: Olivia Kirby (Shepparton United)
Kirby and her teammate next on this list have taken over the mantle as best defensive duo in the league this season — separate them at your peril in a team of the year.
GD: Laura Cole (Shepparton United)
Along with Kirby, Cole deserves this spot greatly and will clearly work well with her goal keeper.
WD: Ash Lancaster (Mooroopna)
One of the best defenders in the competition and will switch well with Kirby and Cole depending on match ups.
C: Shelby Britten (Mooroopna)
Brings her college basketball experience and endurance levels to the mid-court.
WA: Holly Long (Echuca)
Having a career year.
GA: Jessie Barnes (Shepparton United)
You always need plenty of tenacity under the ring and Barnes brings that in spades.
GS: Claudia Mawson (Echuca)
Really coming into her own as the number one shooter in a team defending its title.
I/C: Morgan Gibson (Shepparton), Tiarna Steel (Shepparton Swans), Morgan Dingwall (Rochester), Darcy Croxford-Demasi (Mansfield), Ellie O’Sullivan (Seymour), Eliza Hoare (Euroa), Bridget Hill (Benalla), Steph Gorrie (Tatura), Elle Groves (Kyabram)
The standard of the GVL netball A-grade competition is extremely high this season — and yes it is a cop out to include a player from every club in a team of the year list — but you look at this team and tell me who is beating it in an interleague or association championships contest. There are some Mooroopna, Shepparton United and Echuca players who are stiff to miss out completely on the side, but with those outfits dominating the on-field spots I have gone with other clubs on the (very) extended bench.
COACH: Di Hanslow (Mooroopna)
Hanslow has Mooroopna on track for a deep finals run, but it is her craftswomanship when it comes to recruiting which has caught the eye most. Bringing Shelby Britten and the Ogier sisters on board midway through the season has been a masterstroke and it would not surprise me if she convinces gun defender Maddi Wong to have a run around soon either.