The Big V season has come to a close for 2015, with a champion crowned and four other sides eliminated from contention along the way. Did the finals teams live up to pre-season expectations or did they fall short of the mark?
Record: 17-3 (second)
Post-Season Performance: 4-1 (champions)
The Hawks seemed to roll through the regular season without being spectacular before turning up the heat in the post-season to claim the title. First, they stole home court from Hume City with a win in the qualifying final, before coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the grand final series against the same opponents, winning both games at home to be crowned 2015 champions. After two straight years of falling as short as possible to the Broncos in the deciding series’, this championship is well deserved and gives Ringwood something to show for three years of continual brilliance and success.
Hume City Broncos
Record: 18-2 (first)
Post-Season Performance: 2-3 (runners up)
The Broncos were comfortably the best team during the regular season, however in a reverse of recent years it was they who looked a little of their game during the post-season. They fell to the Hawks three times, including twice in the grand final series, and while they were always in control against Bulleen in the preliminary final they were forced to keep fending off the plucky Boomers until deep into the final term. Usually, the Broncos may have put their opponents to bed a little earlier, and perhaps wouldn’t have surrendered a 1-0 advantage in the grand final series, particularly when you consider that in both games two and three they were given plenty of opportunities to sew up the title. Regardless, the Broncos were superb all season again and, with the Hawks, continue to dominate the league.
Record: 14-6 (fourth)
Post-Season Performance: 2-1 (third)
The Boomers returned to the finals this year after a long absence and slotted in like they had been there all along. They won two cut-throat elimination finals against dangerous sides before succumbing to the Broncos in a grand final qualifier at Hume City, which was always going to be a massive ask. They built their success on a balanced and deep side, winning 14 games during the regular season, and had eight different leading scorers along the way. Given they had no genuine superstar in the Colleen Planeta, Tegan Cunningham and Amber Hegge mould, the Boomers did well to leapfrog the likes of more-fancied Waverley and surprise packets Southern Peninsula to get within a win of a grand final berth, exceeding expectations and becoming genuine threats rather than mid-table competitors.
Southern Peninsula Sharks
Record: 15-5 (third)
Post-Season Performance: 0-2 (fourth)
The Sharks were the surprise packet of the 2015 season, recording some very memorable wins against tough opposition on their way to a third place finish on the ladder. It all fell apart in the playoffs, however, with a heavy defeat to Ringwood followed by a double digit loss against Bulleen, albeit as they played without Kiwi Chevannah Paalvast. Nonetheless, pre-season expectations were that the Sharks would be competitive but not a threat, and despite their dismal playoff performances, they were certainly a threat to the top sides in the league throughout the campaign. With a young side, one must think it is only the beginning for Southern Peninsula.
Record: 13-7 (fifth)
Post-Season Performance: 0-1 (fifth)
2015 was a familiar tale for the Falcons – put together a star-studded roster and demand the tag of title threat early on, before watching it all fall apart as the season wears on. Tegan Cunningham’s mid-season surgery saw sister Caitlin also leave, while Carley Mijovic’s interrupted campaign due to national duties meant that Waverley barely got what they paid for all year. They limped into the playoffs and were 24 points down against Bulleen midway through the third term before mounting a remarkable comeback and nearly pinching the most miraculous of victories. Had their three-point game-winner fallen at the buzzer, we may have been talking about a preliminary final against Hume City. Instead, it was another year that promised so much but failed to deliver.
To find your local club’s fixtures and results, and to keep up to date with all the league news and information over the season, head to www.bigv.com.au or click here.