Hampton Park keen for homecoming

Declan Brunell is set to have a huge scoreboard responsibility for Hampton Park. 354792 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Jonty Ralphsmith

Southern Football Netball League Division 2 club Hampton Park is set to return to Robert Booth Reserve in 2024 after the establishment of new clubrooms kept them away last season.

There is excitement around ‘Spiderland’ about the new facilities and the prospect of playing at home again after playing home games at Cranbourne West’s Tony Way Recreation Reserve in 2023.

The Redbacks will play their first home game in round 2 against old foes, Doveton.

“We look forward to playing at home and hopefully making it hard for opposition sides to come and play against,” coach Hayden Stanton said.

“Hampton Park has a steep history of very good football talent which we hope to welcome to the new rooms.”

On-field, Hampton Park is set to enter the season with a toxic lack of key-position players.

After a lack of talls plagued them in 2023, a key pair they relied on to fill those roles, in ruck Andy Parker and bullocking forward Nathan Carver, are both not playing this season.

“That will make it hard to compete with big sides like Murrumbeena in the air, so we will have to get them in contest and get the ball in quickly and keep pressure on to keep the ball in our forward half,” Stanton said.

“We’re coaching them at being better in the contest and more efficient defending the ground.”

The Redbacks have also lost flashy midfielder Makaio Haywood to the Ellinbank and District Football League and small forward Kyle Hendy to Springvale Districts.

High on the agenda for Hampton Park will be two-way running and moving the ball fluidly to afford small-medium forwards Trent Thomas, Declan Brunell and recruit Bailey D’Monte ample scoring opportunities.

“In the perfect scenario, we proved last year we can excitingly move the ball and use it pretty well but that second layer of inside midfielders in the past has not been there, so we’re trying to build that,” Stanton said.

The coach highlighted Kilsyth recruit Jayden Weichard, a star of the Eastern Football League’s Division 4 competition, and skipper Liam Myatt, who has endured a wretched injury run, as players who have impressed in preseason.

Hampton Park is set to kick its season off on the road against St Kilda City.

Ins: Jayden Weichard, Bailey D’Monte, Ryan Patterson, Bailey Mayworm, Will Tyers.

Outs: Kyle Hendy, Nathan Carver, Lionel Benoit, Jackson Dalton, Makaio Haywood, Cory Phillips, Charlie O’Neil, Andy Parker, Ryan Hillard, Jack Wilson.