VCL: The run home
There is only one round of Victorian Champions League (VCL) fixtures to go, and unlike most other leagues, the winners in each age group are far from certain.
This is due to the 20 technical and 10 respect points that will be awarded on Wednesday. These are based on how well each team has adhered to the Football Federation Australia National Coaching Curriculum as well as how much respect each team has shown for their opponents and the match officials.
The VCL is unlike any other elite junior competition in Australia in that teams are awarded 40 technical and 20 respect points each season to be added to their competition points. This takes the emphasis off winning and places it on player development through the National Coaching Curriculum.
29 technical observers, all of whom have a C Licence and 19 of whom have a B Licence or higher observed each team multiple times taking note of their attempts to play to the National Coaching Curriculum and giving them a score out of 20. These scores will be averaged out to give each team their technical points score.
At the conclusion of each match, referees would also give each team a score out of 20 based on how fairly they played the game and how well they respected everyone on the pitch. These were then averaged out and divided by two to give each team their respect points score.
With up to 30 points to be awarded per team, anything can happen, so let’s take a look at each age group and see what might happen.
Under 13 Boys
Southern Bluetongues have had an incredible season, with 16 wins and one draw from 17 matches. They face probably the most disciplined team in the entire competition in Northern All Stars and a win will make it difficult for Loddon Mallee Lightning and North East Diamonds to make up the deficit. Even if they don’t both of those teams have had fantastic seasons and should hold their heads up high. South East Cougars have also been attempting to play an attractive and technical brand of football, as have most other teams in this age group.
Under 13 Girls
North East Diamonds are currently eight points clear of second placed Southern Bluetongues. If the first half of the Diamonds’ season was good, the second half has been even better and barring a major upset against Central City in the final round, they are probably home and hosed. South East Cougars have been a joy to watch at this level and don’t be surprised if they finish as high as fourth, despite only winning five of their 17 matches so far this season.
Under 14 Boys
This age group is shaping up as a three horse race between Central City, Western Wolves and Northern All Stars. Neither team has an easy fixture this weekend, with fourth placed Southern Bluetongues, fifth placed North East Diamonds and seventh placed North West Wanderers their opponents, all of whom are capable of a win. This one is too close to call and is going to come down to technical and respect points to find a winner, and even then it will still be very close. Other commendable teams in this age group are Wimmera South Coast Eagles, South East Cougars and Rivers FC.
Under 15 Girls
South East Cougars are poised to take out the Under 15 Girls title with a handy eight point lead over North East Diamonds going into the last round. A win on the weekend for Loddon Mallee may or may not see them leapfrog Western Wolves in third position, but this league is a tough one to call, with plenty of mid-table spots up for grabs.
Under 15 Boys
This one looks like it is going to go down to the wire between Western Wolves and North East Diamonds. Despite winning two more matches, Western are only a point clear of North East. The Wolves will need to be asking themselves whether or not they have enough technical and respect points from the second half of the season to stop the Diamonds sneaking into top spot. Despite only winning three matches this season, Loddon Mallee could end up finishing sixth, higher than teams with twice the number of wins while Eastern should also be commended for their attempts to stick to the National Coaching Curriculum despite finding goals hard to come by.
Under 17 Girls
All season it has been a battle between Loddon Mallee Lightning and North East Diamonds at the pinnacle of the Under 17 Girls competition but a couple of tough losses in the final few rounds for North East means that Loddon Mallee go into the final round with a 12 point lead. While North East have been technically adept for much of the season, it will be hard for them to make up the points on Loddon Mallee, who have been just as good. Moving down the table and Northern All Stars may just finish higher that the sixth spot they currently occupy.
Under 17 Boys
Probably the closest league overall this season, Western Wolves and Wimmera South Coast Eagles are currently equal first on 58 points. This weekend’s matches as well as the release of technical and respect points is likely to really shake up this league. With only eight points separating fourth placed Southern Bluetongues and tenth placed Rivers FC, anything can happen. Third placed Central City is unfortunate in that three of their five losses have been due to forfeits, potentially costing them the title.
Please note that this is just a quick wrap up of each competition. Many teams have played well who may not have been mentioned here.
FFV would like to thank everyone for their participation in the Victorian Champions League and the hard work that each club puts into it. By taking part, each player has hopefully developed their own skills as well as learned some new things that they can utilise during the winter season, and we hope to see everyone back for the 2012/13 VCL season.