Australian Lacrosse Network release Final 2016 Edition of the Men’s Australian Club Poll

Australian Lacrosse Network
Australian Lacrosse Network  

The Australian Lacrosse Network have released the Final 2016 Edition of the Men’s Australian Club Poll. 

Williamstown, Brighton and Wanneroo seized the moment and took home their respective states State League premierships with minor premiers, Footscray, Glenelg and Bayswater all coming up short. What does that mean for a Poll? Two words, absolute pandemonium. On one hand, we could fill the top 3 spots with the premiers and then leave it to the rest but then again the purpose of the Poll is to rank how we see each of these sides taking into account their lists, final positions and overall body of work. This led to some long arguments but after much soul-searching number crunching and tears, we settled on the final rankings. Please let us know what you think.

1. Williamstown Lacrosse Club (Lacrosse Victoria) (16 - 3, 3rd) (Latest Ranking: 5)
Injuries and representative duty gave coach Damien Orr plenty to think about this season. As such, the Fearons slipped down the rankings a little bit as they struggled to field a consistent side all year. However, this was merely a ruse as Williamstown showed during the Victorian finals that they are the best team in the country dispatching Camberwell by 10, Surrey Park by 8 and Footscray by 5 in a dominant run where their Evan Willis led defence allowed only a combined 14 goals. Their offence also turned it up a notch with Ben Newman scoring 11 goals and Alex Pike scoring 8 goals throughout the finals. Congratulations to Williamstown, the inaugural ALN Men's National Club Champions.

2. Bayswater Lacrosse Club (Lacrosse WA) 12 – 2, Minor Premiers, Runners Up ) (Latest Ranking: 1)
Heading into the 2016 WA State League Grand Final, Bayswater were the hottest team in the country, having won 10 in a row and they were coming off of a 15 - 6 drubbing against fellow grand finalist Wanneroo in the semi 15 - 6. At 3 quarter time of the Grand Final, everything was going to script with Bayswater leading 7 - 5. However, the problem with big winning streaks is that you are always one step closer to that stinker of a quarter and regrettably for Bayswater that turned out to be the last quarter and overtime where they were outscored by a younger, fitter Wanneroo, eventually succumbing 9 - 7 in over time. This made Bayswater a tough side to peg but we are satisfied with number 2 because up until the very last quarter of the season, Bayswater were the best team in WA and arguably the best team in the country. Whilst not bringing the premiership home hurt, in the eyes of the committee that didn't warrant a severe punishment. Led by 2016 Isaachsen winner Thomas Graham (42 goals), Bayswater solved their offensive riddle and with an evergreen and stout defence, had a terrific season which saw them lose only 2 games (one by 2 goals and the other in overtime).

3. Wanneroo Lacrosse Club (Western Australia) (9 - 6, Premiers) (Latest Ranking: 8)
We will probably cop some grief from the Tribe about putting them behind Bayswater but we think is the right place for them. They certainly have the potential and despite the ebbs and flows of a challenging season, they managed to find the right gear at the right time to pull out terrific come from behind wins against Wembley and Bayswater to bring home the bacon in season 2016. Such grit is a credit to their coaching staff and a testament to a great young core with players like Lachlan Walker (31 goals) and Jordan Gillespie (37 goals) leading from the front. Ultimately they slipped behind Bayswater because we think Bayswater as a whole had the better season but based on the way they finished, with some stability we expect the Chiefs to only grow as they look for a rare 3peat in 2017.

4. Brighton Lacrosse club (13 - 3, Premiers) (Lacrosse SA) (Latest Ranking: 6)
Brighton was another team that was hard to get a read on throughout the season. Their star studded outfit seemed to plod at times, getting the wins they needed to snag that all important top 2 spot and whilst they ultimately fell just short of the minor premiership, they showed their class at the right time of the year. Led by Leigh Perham (36 goals), Tyler Leeming (31 goals) and elite centreman Jack Woodford the Bombers held Glenelg at bay in the major semi before crushing ETP's dreams in a soggy grand final with a defensive masterclass which no doubt put Clint Barker on Glenn Meredith's radar ahead of Manchester.

5. Footscray Lacrosse Club (Victoria) (15 - 3, Minor Premiers, Runners Up) (Latest Ranking: 2)
Much like Bayswater, Footscray was another tough side to peg given their dominate season but ultimate demise. The difference here though was that whilst Bayswater dominated the season series against Wanneroo, questions hung about whether Footscray could get it done against nemesis Williamstown having lost by 10 in their first matchup and only just managing the beat an understength Fearons by 2 in the final. Whilst those fears were ultimately realised in the Victorian grand final, that should not detract from a great season. Footscray offence was potent with 5 players scoring at least 27 goals led by Peter Kwas with 43 and import Mike DeNapoli with 40. This side is choc full of elite talent and we expect to see alot of them donning the Green and Gold in 2018.

6. East Torrens Payneham Lacrosse Club (South Australia) (12 - 5, Runners Up) (Latest Ranking: 9)
ETP were the sweethearts of 2016. They started their season in dominating fashion, recording stunning upsets and racing to the top of the SA competition. A mid-season form slump saw them in danger of falling into oblivion but behind veteran net minder Tom Vickery, they corrected things heading into the finals recording a tough win against Burnside before knocking out minor premier Glenelg in straight sets to reach their first grand final in 30 years. Be it the emotion of the day, or just Brighton's class, they fell short on grand final day but can nevertheless hold their heads up high after a great season. Glenn Steele (21 goals), Ryan Gaspari (20 goals), Sean Smith (17 goals) and Brian Guilfoyle all had stand out seasons for the Red Wings who will no doubt relish starting the 2017 with a target on their back as they look to go one step further.

7. Wembley Lacrosse Club (7 - 5, 3rd) (Western Australia) (Latest Ranking: 7)
After a shaky mid-season slump, Wembley found their groove as the season went on with veterans Brad Goddard, Alex Brown and Sam Williams leading the Wolves to the brink of a return to the WA grand final. They fought off a feisty East Fremantle in the minor semi final but would be ruing not capitalising on a huge 6 - 1 opening term against Wanneroo in the preliminary final. Alex Brown led the way offensively with 32 goals from 10 games whilst Stuart Bentley had a great season through the midfield adding some run and grit to their backline. This team has a number of Crocs and Sharks in the squad and will find themselves in the hunt again.

8. Surrey Park Lacrosse Club (Victoria) (13 - 3, 2nd) (Latest Ranking: 3)
Surrey Park were another side with high hopes heading into the finals only to see their season come to a premature end recording back to back losses to Footscray and Williamstown. Whilst they could be forgiven for their tight loss to Footscray in the major semi final, they would be regretting their performance in the Preliminary Final where they were completely outclassed by the Fearons, letting in an uncharacteristic 12 goals whilst only managing 4 of their own. Their backline continued to be their strength led by Chris Tillotson, Andrew Ham and River Bradley whilst Nicolas Tuttle (29 goals in 12 games) proved to be a great find adding some firepower alongside Blair Pepperell (34 goals) and Warwick Henderson (33 goals). The all-whites would no doubt be stinging from their end of season results and will look to hit the ground running in 2017.

9. Glenelg Lacrosse Club (South Australia) (11 - 5, 1st) (Latest Ranking: 4)
Glenelg would have been disappointed with the end of their 2016 season, having claimed a hard fought minor premiership, they saw their chances go down in flames in straight sets after losing tough games to Brighton and ETP. SA Fairest & Best Luke Keesing (23 goals) had a great season for the Seahawks as did Nigel Morton (37 goals) who led from the front offensively. Defensively, their back half was strong all year with Nathan Bolton, Jack Opolski and Geoff Davis all having good years. The Seahawks will no doubt head into their 2017 offseason with much vigor as they look to set about a 2017 revenge tour as they look to position themselves again for a title run.

10. East Fremantle Lacrosse Club (Western Australia) (5 - 8, 4th) (Latest Ranking: Not Ranked)
Filling the last place really came down to a battle between East Fremantle, Burnside Lacrosse Club and Camberwell Lacrosse Club and the determining factor was how it all came together in the minor semi finals, which all lost. Camberwell would have been disappointed with the drubbing they copped from Williamstown and Burnside certainly pushed but ultimately came up short again ETP. East Fremantle on the other hand was an absolute enigma putting in some stirring results along with some absolute stinkers. However, at the business end of the season, There really wasn't much that separated the top 4 in WA, with Wanneroo beating Bayswater in OT, Wanneroo beating Wembley by 1 and Wembley beating East Fremantle by 1. The Blues have some of the best top end players in the country with Mitchell Kennedy (36 goals), Daniel Kennedy (33 goals) and Ryan Spark as good a top 3 as any side has going around. The challenge for the Blues was improving an aging and leaky backline and getting some more depth. With those in order, we wouldn't be surprised to see East Fremantle right in the mix for a flag in 2017.

Dropped Out: Camberwell Lacrosse Club (Victoria)

Also receiving votes: Camberwell (Victoria), Burnside (South Australia), Knights Lacrosse Sunshine Coast Queensland (Queensland)


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