In: Jill Adam (Geraldton), Cathy Taylor (North Beach)
Out: Robin Higgins (North Beach)
First 9 Fixtures: NB (A) Mann (H) VP (A) SB (A) Mun (H) Gos (A) Sorr (H) MP (A) Leem (H)
Osborne Park have been on the periphery of the big three but haven’t quite been able to break through into that realm consistently. They’ll be looking to make that leap this season and get themselves back up into preliminaries and grand finals. Jill Adam is most definitely a recruit that can help achieve that goal and is the biggest piece of business in or out for the club this off-season. She’ll join what is now good stable of consistent players with skippers like Hailey Adams, Pam Chalmers and Helen Stevens at the club.
Even still, the Saints will be looking for a few of their lesser lights to have really good seasons to help them push up the ladder and hopefully have a deeper finals campaign. Of course they also need to be wary of challenges from below as well with Sorrento looking up at them enviously after finishing 5th last year. Other mid-table clubs such as Safety Bay and Gosnells would also have them in their sights as they look to improve. It’s going to be big year for the Saints as they currently are a little precariously placed.
After a tough first couple of weeks Osborne Park have a very nice five week stretch. This includes games against both promoted clubs and a critical game against Sorrento, who would have to be the number one contender for their finals place. If they can get at least one win from their first two games then the Saints will know that they are every chance to push on and have a big season. As long as they take care of business against the more mid-table looking sides then it’ll be their games versus North Beach, Manning and Mosman that will decide their season. If they can at least half those contests, then you’d have to fancy them for a potential top two spot and that would give them the opportunity for a real challenge. If they don’t go well in those games, then another fourth-place finish beckons at best.
Classification: Finals Contender
Osborne Park are a good side and we think they’ll probably make the four, but we don’t quite see them breaking through into premiership contention just yet. They have plenty of good players but may just be missing an elite player or two to lift them up into top two calculations. If they can find those players within what they’ve already got, then they can have a big go this year. However, it’s unclear who’s ready to take that step right now.