Victorians on show in the West as Grand Final approaches

Bailey Smith, Matt Stevic and James Jordon will be three of many Victorians representing community football clubs and leagues on Grand Final day

For the second season in a row, the Toyota AFL Grand Final will not be played in Melbourne at the MCG.

But whilst Victoria may not be hosting the game’s biggest occasion, a Melbourne and Western Bulldogs Grand Final has assured that Victoria, and community football across the state, will be well represented on the greatest stage.

Both clubs have a significant number of players who grew up in Victoria and played their junior football at clubs in regional and metropolitan leagues.
WorkSafe AFL Victoria Country will be well represented, as former Mooroopna Cats, Clayton Oliver and Laitham Vandermeer could duke it out, whilst in his debut playing season, James Jordon will complete a mighty journey from Yarrawonga and the Ovens and Murray League to the Melbourne Football Club and a Grand Final.

Former Mooroopna Cats, Clayton Oliver and Laitham Vandermeer

And then there is the three Hampton Rovers made Demons (Christian Salem, Angus Brayshaw, Jayden Hunt), and the St Bernard’s Snowdogs come Bulldogs (Tom Liberatore and Mitch Hannan), as there is an abundance of Victorian talent in both sides.


The Victorian representation does not stop with the players either.

There are umpires—field, boundary, and goal—who have contributed significantly to our leagues and associations around Victoria and are now representing them on Grand Final day. Former West Gippsland Umpires Association field umpire, Matt Stevic will officiate his eighth consecutive Grand Final, whilst for Albury Umpires League product, Jacob Mollison, it will be his first.

(L-R): Brett Rosebury, Jacob Mollison and Matt Stevic will umpire the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

It has been an enduring journey for the coaches too, and for many of them, it was community clubs around Victoria that paved the way for their playing and coaching careers. Luke Beveridge cut his teeth at St Bede’s/Mentone Tigers, leading them to three straight premierships in the mid 2000s. Meanwhile, Demon’s assistant, Alan Richardson coached the East Burwood seniors to back-to-back premierships in the 1999/2000 seasons.

Luke Beveridge wins a premiership with St Bede's/Mentone

As AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan acknowledged in a statement to community football, it has been a tough year, but it is exciting for so many local football clubs and leagues around the state to be represented on the biggest day in the football calendar and to be acknowledged for the integral role they play in developing and supporting our elite talent from the grassroots level.

As we eagerly await the return of community footy in season 2022, we wish all the Grand Final participants good luck and congratulate you on your journey from grassroots football to the biggest stage of all!

Enjoy the Grand Final!

Victorian Grand Final Players


NameCommunity Club
Jake BoweyHighett
Angus BrayshawHampton Rovers
Bayley FritschColdstream
Max GawnOrmond
James HarmesDevon Meadows
Michael HibberdSomerville
Jayden HuntHampton Rovers
James JordonYarrawonga
Ed LangdonGlen Iris
Jake LeverRomsey
Tom McdonaldEdenhope-Apsley
Jake MelkshamOak Park
Clayton OliverMooroopna
Christian PetraccaBeverley Hills
Christian SalemHampton Rovers
Charlie SpargoAlbury
Jack VineyAshburton

Western Bulldogs

NameCommunity Club
Marcus BontempelliEltham
Zaine CordyOcean Grove
Bailey DaleEdithvale-Aspendale
Josh DunkleySale
Taylor DuryeaWahgunyah
Mitch HannanSt Bernard's
Lachie HunterWilliamstown
Alex KeathShepparton
Tom LiberatoreSt Bernard's
Jack McraeKew Rovers
Stefan MartinOld Hailebury
Ed RichardsHawthorn Citizens
Josh SchacheSeymour
Anthony ScottKew Comets
Bailey SmithEast Malvern
Roarke SmithSunbury
Adam TreloarNoble Park
Laitham VandermeerMooroopna
Cody WeightmanBeaconsfield
Easton WoodCamperdown