Men’s Premier League Preview
Article by Simon Alden from www.bowls360.com.au
As our 2020/21 season is about to commence, it promises this year to be a wide open affair. It’s hard to pick an out and out winner, you could mount an argument for 8 sides to finish in finals action. Likewise those same 8 sides if they don’t start the season well could find themselves in the relegation zone very quickly. Home ground advantage will play a key, so winning those away games will be like gold dust. Let’s look at each team in the order I think they will finish in the Blooms The Chemist Men’s Premier League for 2020/21 –
Cambridge (last season 7th)
OUT: Perica, P Harris
I’ve put Cambridge first for a couple of reasons. Their home ground advantage is one of the best in the competition. They have solid players on every line and topped with some star skippers in Blake Nairn and Clive Adams. The loss of Sam Perica and Pieter Harris will hurt but the void can easily be filled by Cameron Harris, Ross Bolton or Steve Rushforth or many others. They have such flexibility between positions with the players that a loss of form in any position can be covered. They’ll be hard to beat.
South Perth (last season 4th)
OUT: N Reagan, Sharp
My next 2 selections have not been decimated as much in the off season and it’s hard to leave them out of the top 3 after strong placings last year. South Perth like Cambridge are very hard to top at home, especially when they play their Friday night fixtures. And like Cambridge are very flexible with their players, people like Glenn Pauling, Scott Walker, Ross Bresland, Neale Griffin, Tyrone Alberti and Mitch Biglin can play in any position. You add the quality of Justin Opie, and they are a strong side this season.
Manning (last season 3rd)
Manning have always presented a strong side on paper and yet for some reason have never been able to get the results their side could achieve. Flag winners in 2015 and 2017 could easily have a couple more so they will be hungry for success this year. Boasting top line skippers Tom Mitchell, Shane Knott, Lee Such and Anthony Williams, all are current members of the state squad. One to keep an eye on this year is Scott O’Brien, he continues to impress me and it will be interesting to see how Manning treat him. You can never discount Manning, they should play finals and that may be enough to see them fight for the flag
Bassendean (last season 2nd)
OUT: Rhodes, Margin, Neilson, A Smith
The surprise packet of 2020 and were on a roll when the season was prematurely ended at Round 16. Top 2 was almost certainly guaranteed, but they have lost some key personnel in the off season and it is hard to see them finish top 2 again this year. Fourth spot will be hot property, I see any of the next 5 teams fighting for this position. Bassendean don’t have a home ground advantage because of their wonderful greens, so they will be heavily reliant on skippers Simon Alden, Stein Davies and Dan Nicholls. It is a very well rounded team with experience (David Killisch von Horn) and young talent (Marcus Simpson) and for this reason I see them sneaking into the 4.
Kardinya (last season 6th)
OUT: Foy, McKay, Krajancic, Golem
IN: Perica, Leahy, White, Bates
It’s hard to know where Kardinya sit in this years fight for the flag as they have so many variables. Their Hunter Gold artificial surface was laid in the off season so while the players are adjusting to the new surface, it reduces their home ground advantage. With a high volume of ins and outs, how quickly will the new team gel? And is Daniel Brown playing this season, apparently so but he hasn’t been named for round 1? He is a quality player they will want in the team sooner rather than later and coupled with last years skippers who have departed in Rob Foy and Kevin McKay, it is a new look Kardinya Kats. David Rankin remains a difficult skipper to beat while Russell Bates adds some steel to the side. Difficult to predict how their season is going to unfold.
Osborne Park (last season 5th)
Another team that is relatively unchanged and they are in a transition period. They have added another key young player in Connor Biddle to complement Jack East and Patrick Quinlan and with more exposure to these players from experienced players Neville Stevens, Kevin Pickering, Steve O’Neill and Gary Caffell amongst others. A side that boasts Cody Packer our reigning Rosenthal medallist will never be a pushover, but this team is one on the rise and building for future so it wont be a surprise if they finish higher than predicted.
Doubleview (last season 1st)
OUT: Brandsma, McIlroy, Bessant, Edmonds, Gallipeau
The off season has not treated Doubleview very well at all. They were well on their way to claim another Premier League title before COVID hit and then the club decimated by key departures. That is a huge talent pool and experience that won’t be there this season and for that reason I see them dropping away. They still have John and Charlie Slavich and Ryan Moyle who are all class, but this season will test their depth. Their Blue North side hung on to demotion on Challenge weekend and they will have to draw on those players for the Premier League. Someone has to finish 8th, Doubleview have match winners and could easily finish 4th, but I can’t see it happening this season.
Sorrento (last season White 1st)
The first of our promoted White sides and they will be very competitive this season. Two seasons ago they made the Premier League for the first for a lot of the players and they will have gained some valuable experience from it. Add to the mix seasoned campaigner Kyle McIlroy on top of multiple state champion Shane Loftus and Steve Rixom who comes with some hype, it is a squad of players batting a bit deeper than the side from 2 years ago. Could easily play finals and will cause some upsets but I just see them missing out on finals action this year. Rhett Butler late unavailability to the season will hurt their backend, he will return at some stage and we wish him a speedy recovery
North Beach (last season 8th)
OUT: Kuziela, Dempsey, McGinlay
As someone must finish 8th, so must 2 teams get demoted and I think North Beach will be one of those teams this season. It is largely unchanged from last year, Ron Kuziela moving down south won’t be playing and Ross Dempsey unavailable, so they will again be relying on Mark Douthie, Paul Walker and Brad Gillingham to pull them up to save their position in the Premier League. They were plucky last year and started the season extremely well but had a horror finish, they boast one of the best artificial surfaces going around but I don’t think it will be enough to save them.
Rossmoyne (last season White 3rd)
IN: Maesepp, C Edson, N Edson, Churcher, Barrett, Carter
Our other promoted side from One White and they gained promotion after defeating Wanneroo in the September challenge games. It is their first time in the Premier League as a club and for that it is a credit to the bowlers at all levels at the Rossmoyne club. It’s hard to see them retaining their position but they should look upon this as great experience, and a chance to probably go back a grade but build again and be a stronger unit when they next get promoted. Players like Eddie Gollan, Allan Petchell, Wally Harvey, Reza Vind will love mixing it this season but it’s hard to see them finishing anywhere but 10th.