Hanwood Football Club
Pre-season prediction: Second
Position: First (15 wins, 1 loss, +70 goal difference). Lost grand final.
In short: Hanwood FC did everything right this season but perform in the big games. Their State Cup run was inspirational, they were all class in the local competition – but to win things, you have to produce when it matters, and they didn’t.
What went right: Hanwood won the regular season armwrestle with Yoogali SC for top spot and bragging rights, and did so playing a lethal brand of football. Aside from YSC and YFC, nobody got close to them, and even then, Hanwood looked better for fair stretches of the season.
What went wrong: Just couldn’t hold their nerve in their two most important games of the season – the ones that people will remember. Lost the State Cup final on penalties and were well below par in the GDFA grand final. That double failure from the penalty spot summed things up nicely.
Best win: You could go for margin and pick the 14-1 thrashing of Wests but for pure theatrical value, it’s the 1-0 win over YSC in round 17. Top spot was on the line and it was secured for Hanwood with a brilliant Joey Schirripa free kick – a wonderful ending to an incredibly tense match.
Worst loss: HFC will have nightmares over the grand final. They didn’t turn up, Yoogali SC did and now they are the champions – it’s as simple as that. Given how good they looked before, this performance was bitterly disappointing and should be the only pre-season motivation HFC needs.
Best player: Tie between former YSC man Dem Torino, who was outstanding in midfield all season long, and stopper Daniel Johnson, who was a rock at the back. Joey Schirripa also gave HFC a timely boost when he returned midway through the year.
Leading goalscorer: Teenage striker Brandon Barski had an outstanding debut season, scoring 25 times – a tally that would have secured him the GDFA golden boot in any other year but this one.
Moving forward: It’s uncertain if Barski and goalkeeper Tom Elford, who was another quality buy, will return next year. If not, replacements are needed, because this is a squad obviously good enough to go all the way.
Grade: B+. It would have been A at minimum had Hanwood turned it on in the grand final or prevailed in the State Cup decider, but it wasn’t to be this year. Off-season penalty practice should be fairly high on the agenda.