Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault season wrap up

Headshot of Luke McPherson
Luke McPhersonHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault Lion Xavier Milner.
Camera IconHarvey-Brunswick-Leschenault Lion Xavier Milner. Credit: Jon Gellweiler/Bunbury Herald, Jon Gellweiler

Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault were booted out of finals in straights sets for the second year in a row after finishing third on the ladder to end the 2021 SWFL season.

Ty Anderson is hunted down by Collie's Kyle Shanahan.
Camera IconTy Anderson is hunted down by Collie's Kyle Shanahan. Credit: Bunbury Herald

The Lions sat in second place until they lost at home to Busselton in round 10 and dropped to third for the rest of the year.

HBL were the victim of injuries throughout the year and were the only team outside the bottom four to play more than 45 players in their league side.

Outgoing coach John Baggetta said being able to finish in the top three despite the high turnover of talent showed the depth of the squad.

“We played a lot of players and developed guys and gave some mid tier guys the opportunity to play at the top level, that was a plus,” he said.

“You always want to win a grand final, but when you reflect back on some of the guys we gave opportunities and some of the roles they played, it was a positive (season).

“The aim is to finish (in the) top three and we did that, from that point of view it was a positive (season).”

The high

HBL Lions forward Jarrod Humphires.
Camera IconHBL Lions forward Jarrod Humphires.

The major positive for HBL this year was the step up of young talent.

The cub pack which includes Ty Anderson, Reid Kinninmont and Xavier Milner gave the Brunswick faithful something to cheer about.

At just 21-years-old, Anderson is already in his fifth year of league football and was the Lion’s second best player for the year behind 2020 Hayward medallist Brendan Tingey.

Kinninmont is only 19-years-old and the hard nosed ball winner played every game for the top side this year after playing only one match in 2020.

Arguably the most exciting of the group is the 189cm tall 17-year-old Xavier Milner who takes big marks and managed 12 goals from 15 games.

The low

HBL defender Ben Ablett.
Camera IconHBL defender Ben Ablett.

Though the Lions were bundled out of finals in straight-sets for the second year in a row, it may have been a different story had they had their kicking boots on when they met Busselton in the first semi.

HBL led 3.2 (20) to 2.1 (13) and had the bulk of the play in the second and third terms but were wayward in front of goals.

The Lions managed 1.7 from scoring shots in the middle two quarters to lead by just 10 points in the 19th minute mark of the third quarter.

It was then the tides turned in the favour of the Magpies as Aidan Fraser and Kester Decke kicked two goals in two minutes to lead 5.5 (35) to 4.9 (33) at the last change.

Busselton came out full of confidence in the last quarter and by the time Mitchell Howlett kicked his second they led by 34 and there was no catching them.

What to watch

It was announced on September 9 that coach John Baggetta and the Lions had mutually parted ways.

Baggetta took over the Lions in 2019 and coached the side to an undefeated season and grand final win over the Eaton Boomers his first year at the helm.

There is no telling what the departure will mean for the club, but it is definitely something to watch.

The league side has made finals for the last three years and will be hoping whoever is in charge next year can bring some more silverware to Brunswick Oval.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails