PFNL 2018: Peel league coaches’ pre-season predictions on the money

Turns out the Peel Football and Netball League’s footy coaches know a thing or two about their league.

Before the season started, we quizzed each of the PFNL’s nine coaches on how they thought the season would pan out, and as it so happens, most of their predictions are on track to bear fruit.

With the league now entering a general bye as the colts hit the road bound for the Great Southern Colts Carnival in Kulin, I thought it was a prudent time to check in on the coaches’ crystal ball and scrutinise their estimations.

But there isn’t much to scrutinise.

1. Outside of your club, who has the best chance to win the flag?

  • Pinjarra: 8 votes
  • Baldivis: 1 vote

The coaches are on track here with the only two sides receiving votes sitting in the top two, albeit in reverse order.

Recruiting Rory O’Brien to a team coming off a premiership season was always going to have the Tigers as hot favourites, and their 7-2-1 record through 10 games is proof that they mean business about defending their throne.

But on base results you have to say Baldivis has been the better side, with their 9-1 record keeping them sitting pretty atop the table.

2. Which side do you think will be 2018’s surprise package?

  • Rockingham: 6 votes
  • Mandurah: 2 votes
  • Halls Head: 1 vote

Again, full credit to the coaches, as Rockingham have been far and above the biggest risers from season 2017.

They’re young, they’re fast and they’ve got difference makers in every phase of the game, a mix that has them sitting in third spot.

Halls Head’s first 10 games have been vastly more successful than last year too, with the team already boasting double the wins they posted all last season.

Mandurah is also improved, even if their 1-9 record doesn’t show it.

3. Who will win this season’s Ross Elliott medal?

  • Andrew Haydon (South Mandurah): 2 votes
  • Rory O’Brien (Pinjarra): 2 votes
  • Ben Wright (Waroona): 1 vote
  • Rohan Kerr (Pinjarra): 1 vote 
  • Rhett Mason (Waroona): 1 vote
  • Fraser Millar (Rockingham): 1 vote
  • Thomas Bennett (Centrals): 1 vote

This question is much harder to judge with the votes spread out, but every player on this list has either been in strong form, injured or departed the league, so this is another tick for the coaches.

Haydon and O’Brien are likely to feature prominently in the PFNL’s medal count, while Rhett Mason has been great for a struggling Waroona outfit.

Thomas Bennett has been part of Centrals’ resurgence in the recent rounds, while Fraser Millar’s contributions to his Rams are significant.

4. Who will lead the league’s goal kicking?

  • Brad Holmes (South Mandurah): 6 votes
  • Brennan Gillam (Pinjarra): 1 vote
  • Daniel Wilson (Centrals): 1 vote
  • Jay Walton (Mandurah): 1 vote

This was never a hard question, and any coach that didn’t vote for Brad Holmes was probably just thinking outside the box.

The Southies spearhead boasts 57 goals through 10 rounds, and his average of 5.7 per game has him on track to crack the 100 mark (just barely).

None of the others are in the league’s top 10 for goals, but have been very good for their respective sides.

5. Will Waroona continue its run of being at least top three by the end of finals?

  • No: 5 votes
  • Yes: 4 votes

This one had the coaches divided, with a handful taking on the “what goes up must come down” logic and the other four not wanting to tip against a team that has been the benchmark of the competition for 12 years.

Alas, the no voters look like they’ve got this one in the bag.

The Demons have coughed up the most points in the league with 1202 going against them in 10 games, 151 more than the bottom-spot Mustangs.

Waroona’s previous dominance gives them the right to feel like they can turn their season around, but even with a few late wins it’s hard to see a finals berth on the horizon.

6. Will the PFNL make it three straight Landmark carnival wins this year?

  • Yes: 8 votes
  • No: 1 vote

Only time will tell with the carnival set to play out across the first weekend of July, but the Peel league is likely to feature another strong squad.