By Sam Watson

THE West Gippsland Football Netball Competition and the Pakenham Gazette have announced the 2021 Senior Football Team of the Year.

Fifty of the league’s best players will by vying for a spot in the fourth edition of the final team, which will be announced with the rest of the league award winners.

The league is yet to announce when presentations will be held, but COVID-19 restrictions may mean the event is held online or even on grand final day at Dalyston.

Every club in the competition has secured at least one nomination in the squad but it’s Inverloch Kongwak who has earned the most selections with eight.

Much to the delight of the Sea Eagle faithful, five of those eight are junior products of the club.

As always, Phillip Island is well represented, with five selections in the 50-man squad, but one notable omission is Brendan Kimber, who has been named captain in all three previous editions of the final team.

Unfortunately for Kimber, an injury saw him miss five games through the middle of the season, which means he’ll fall short of the required number of games played to be eligible for selection.

The Phillip Island bull was the only current West Gippsland player to have been named in all three squads, with Jason Wells (formerly Kilcunda Bass and Koo Wee Rup) and Luke Walker (formerly Koo Wee Rup) now competing in other leagues.

Phillip Island midfield dynamo Hayden Bruce, who some consider one of the best players in the competition, will also join Kimber due to an injury at the start of the year.

But Kimber and Bruce won’t lose any sleep over a selection in the Team of the Year squad as their eyes will be firmly on a third consecutive premiership.

Former Melbourne Demon and reigning West Gippsland league best and fairest Cam Pedersen will also be determined to win another flag for the Bulldogs, and he will surely be named in first ruck in the final team.

Pedersen’s teammate Max Blake will certainly earn a spot in the forward line, booting 39 goals in his first year at the kennel.

But Cora Lynn power forward Nathan Gardiner is a shoo-in for the full-forward position, kicking 50 goals to earn back-to-back goal kicking awards at the Cobras.

Inverloch Kongwak ruckman Clint McCaughan will look to earn his first selection in the final team.

He’ll be hoping the other seven selected Sea Eagles contribute to a deep finals run, especially if they can add Hawthorn legend Jarryd Roughead to the mix.

Fourth-placed Nar Nar Goon isn’t far behind the Sea Eagles with seven nominations, and they should be gearing up for a big finals series, as the only side to knock off Phillip Island in 2021.

And Tooradin-Dalmore, who has now shot up into third position, will be hoping the big names in their six selections can help them reach the biggest stage in their second year competing in the competition.

Only 16 players in the 50-man squad have been selected in the final team since the league began in 2017, but it won’t be surprising to see Phillip Island’s Beau Vernon earn the coaching nod again, after the Bulldogs earned their third straight minor premiership.

The Pakenham Gazette will announce the coach when the final team is announced.

Pakenham Gazette Senior Football Team of the Year Squad

Bunyip
Jeb McLeod – Mid Forward
Matt O’Halloran – Defender
Dylan Quirk – Midfield
Ryan Quirk – Defender

Cora Lynn
Jaxon Briggs – Midfield
Nathan Gardiner – Forward
Robbie Hill – Defender
Lochie Peluso – Defender

Dalyston
Brad Monson – Defender
Clay Tait – Midfield

Garfield
Daniel Helmore – Forward
Matt Rennie – Forward
Michael Wallace – Forward

Inverloch-Kongwak
Corey Casey – Mid Forward
Michael Eales – Defender
Tom Hams – Mid Forward
Shem Hawking – Midfield
Jack Hutchinson – Forward
Clinton McCaughan – Ruck Forward
Campbell McKenzie – Defender
Lewis Rankin – Defender

Kilcunda Bass
Darcy Atkins – Midfield
Taylor Gibson – Forward
Jack Soroczynski –Defender/Mid

Koo Wee Rup
Mitch Cammarano – Midfield
Tim Miller – Defender
Nathan Voss – Forward

Korumburra Bena
Matthew Lello – Defender

Nar Nar Goon
Trent Armour – Mid Forward
Jake Blackwood – Defender
Ryan Bromley – Defender
Brendan Hermann – Mid Forward
Brad Homfray – Midfield
Troy McDermott – Forward
Eamon Trigg – Ruck Forward

Phillip Island
Max Blake – Forward
Cam Pedersen – Ruck Forward
Jason Tomada – Defender
Zak Vernon – Mid Forward
Jaymie Youle – Mid Forward

Tooradin-Dalmore
Andrew Dean – Forward
Adam Galea – Defender
Blake Grewar – Mid Forward
Josh Mulheron – Ruck Forward
Stewart Scanlon – Forward
Dylan Wilson – Defender

Warragul Industrials
Shane Brewster – Midfield
Anthony Bruhn – Forward
Michael Debenham – Mid Forward
Jackson Mockett – Ruck Forward