Another year means another season of the South West Football League and here are 10 huge games to pencil in to your calendar for 2022. Round 1 - Augusta-Margaret River v Busselton, Gloucester Park (League) The Hawks will present their flag to their fans, showcase their new lights and then do battle with their closest rivals last season in a bumper grand final rematch down the highway. It comes as part of a massive opening round, with the league’s 10 traditional teams doing battle across five league games. It will also be the debut for new Busselton league coach Daniel Delaney, after taking the club’s colts side to a premiership and another grand final in the past two years. The two sides met twice last year before the grand final. The Hawks won by seven points at home in round six and by 29 points in Busselton in round 15. Round 2 - Dunsborough v Bunbury, Dunsborough Playing Fields (All grades) Dunsborough’s first day of South West League Football will be a triumphant day for a club with a long history of producing young talent and a town starved of top-tier country football. They begin life in the competition with a big day of football against Bunbury — one of the league’s biggest and most successful clubs — in a true test of their measure. The Sharks’ colts side are looming as their most competitive, and will be put on show against a perennially successful Bunbury outfit, while their reserves face the reigning premiers in that competition and the women’s team have a date with a side who won’t be keen to drop points early in their pursuit of a record-equalling third premiership. Round 2 - Busselton v South Bunbury, Bovell Park (League) South Bunbury were the side with all the form heading in to this year’s finals series. But it came to a screeching halt when they were outrun and outplayed by Busselton at home in the first week, kickstarting the Magpies’ run towards grand final day. Round two presents an early chance for the Tigers, with their new coach and new midfield leader on board, to shed some demons and make a statement in the first month of the season. Round 5 - Carey Park v Busselton, Kelly Park (Colts) The nature of the colts competition is that players come and go. But that doesn’t stop deep rivalries forming between clubs and after their four dramatic meetings in 2021, the first clash between Busselton and Carey Park is highly anticipated. While Carey Park had a massive nine players to have played three years of colts footy or more in this year’s grand final, Busselton entered the season with a younger core. They had massive turnover from the team that beat Bunbury to the premiership the year before and the bulk of their group will go around again this year, keen to get one up on the Panthers. Round 9 - Donnybrook v South Bunbury, V.C Mitchell Park (League) Julian Burgess, Jace Cormacks and Chris Atthowe. Famous names at VC Mitchell Park, returning to their former home grounds wearing red and white. Cormack is the biggest on-field move of the season so far, following his old mentor Burgess to Hands Oval for next season, while Atthowe joined too — signing on as an assistant coach after retiring as a player. If it wasn’t rebuild time already for the Dons it really is now, and whoever is going to step up and make a difference in their side this year, this clash with the Tigers presents a nice chance to make a statement of intent. Round 10 - Bunbury v South Bunbury, Payne Park (League) Last year’s derby day was the most important in years, with South Bunbury knocking the Bulldogs off early in the season and finals on the line for both clubs. But with a strengthened South Bunbury outfit, this first derby of the season might be bigger again. The Tigers have a new coach at the helm and it has already gone someway to assembly one of the best midfields in the competition. They’ll have to do the job on enemy territory the first time around though. Round 10 - Bunbury v South Bunbury, Payne Park (Women’s) Far and away the two best teams in the competition’s brief history, the Tigers got one over their arch rivals with a grand final win for the ages in September. When they played for the first time this year they both came in to the game unbeaten, and their two meetings this season will shape their fortunes once more. Their is a reasonable chance it is again the first time either drops points. The first chance for the Bulldogs to get one back from last year’s grand final also comes on home turf. Round 21 - Collie Eagles v Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault, Collie Recreation Ground (League) If very early season predictions are anything to go by, these two sides are likely to be in the mix for the bottom part of the finals and pushing hard at the end of the season to secure their spots. They may both make it, but if the Lions have to win in Collie to get the job done, don’t count it a sure thing. Winning in Collie is hard, no less when they have something to play for. Both sides have new coaches in charge who will be desperate to mark their debut seasons with finals appearances. Round 22 - Augusta-Margaret River v Bunbury, Gloucester Park (League) There is a very real chance the Hawks go the last month of the season without winning a game. With two byes and meetings with the Tigers and then the Bulldogs as part of their run to the finals. But the last time they hosted the Dogs in Margs was a special day for a football club starved of recent success. A blistering early start meant they had a buffer big enough to withstand a barnstorming Bunbury finish, prompting rapturous celebration as they booked their grand final ticket. This one looms as being just as important, especially with their lack of momentum coming in to September. Grand Final Day A longer season with the addition of an extra team and four byes for each league side means the South West Football League’s grand final is once again the last game of football played in the State for the year. It should make for a bumper crowd at Hands Oval, should the venue be ready and available for use on the day.