Season 2012 Preview: Dingos, Guelph
Hi folks, on this Super Saturday edition!
This time next week the ball will be bounced, exciting everyone involved with the OAFL. As long as the off-season is, by gosh it comes around quicker and quicker each year.
Before we get into another 2012 preview, this just came in:
Hamilton Wildcats defeated Guelph in Guelph 8.8(56) to 7.5(47) in today's practice match. A nine-point win there for the visitors. No other details from the game, except it was a close one!
Speaking of Guelph, they're included in this special OAFL weekend edition, as we take a look at the Gargoyles as well as the red and black Toronto Dingos. Both teams made the finals last year, both suffered season ending defeats. Toronto Dingos were no match for the High Park Demons, fading out in the last quarter to lose by 34-points. Guelph, in their match, gave the Toronto Eagles a four-goal headstart, came back strongly, only to fall short by less than a kick. Both teams will be looking to go deep into September in 2012.
In 2012, the Toronto Dingos Football Club will be looking to improve on their six wins from last year. In the off-season,they started weekly conditioning and running sessions in January, then added indoor training at Upper Canada College, which included their first 30-player four-week indoor football league. In March and April, they continued with the conditioning and added outdoor sessions. Mick McFarlane has taken on the coaching role for Div.1 (with Australian Justin Robertson and Dingo legend Chris Buczkowski as his assistant coaches) and veteran Craig Stewart will captain the Dingos. This year, the Dingos have lost Australians, Andrew Gauto and Andy Elleway to travel but have added Liam Sorrell and Justin Robertson who has returned from a two-year stint in Melbourne. Former Northwind backman Mike Karas will also be returning sometime in June.
Last Year: 6th
2012 Prediction: Anywhere from sixth to third.
What we say: The last two seasons have seen sluggish starts by the Dingos. A structured pre-season this year could mean they may pinch a few early wins. There hasn’t been a major exodus or shuffle, so expect the same personnel as last year with a few new Australians added to the roster and similar Canadian numbers. They have the skill and experience, but do they have the pace to match it with the young-guns from other clubs this year? They have the knack of finishing in the top six year after year (only missed finals twice since 2000), but can they do more than just make up the numbers this year, if they qualify?
Starting pre-season training in February, Ben Roberts said the team wanted to make amends for past seasons, especially the last two first round finals' exits. "Numbers have been solid. Having the luxury of being in a uni town, we have recruited some more solid young Canadian boys," he said. "The last few years have been some good new guys coming through." Coming into the Guelph team this year, Dylan Grubb from the Tasmanian state league, Adam Day from the Victorian Amtatuer Football Association and Matt Newark who re-joins the club after a year off due to work. On the Canadian front, expect to see six new faces on the field this year. Departing the shed, is club champion Matt Bannon, after his knee gave way again last season. Roberts said all the experienced Canadians are sticking around for one more season, and, they've retained the Australians from last season. "We are looking forward to a huge year," he said. "Round one can't come fast enough."
Last Year: 5th
2012 Prediction: Anywhere from sixth to second.
What we say: As the club conceeded, the last two seasons saw a quick finals exit. Last year's four-point loss to the Eagles in the Semi Final would have sat with the club all pre-season. In 2012, Guelph could go deep into September. Hard to know just how good their three new Australians are, but it will surely strengthen their rotations. They've always been a "hard-at-it" kind of club, and expect no different this year. A top four spot is not out of the question for Guelph, but consistency is key. If they can maintain their best football for the year, they may push for a tilt at the flag.