By Ryan Long.
A positive start in a new division for the Rams’ Senior Women’s side, whilst the Senior Men’s inconsistent year sees the side miss out on the 2023 Finals Series.
Ladder Position: 7th (9-9, 97.44%)
Best and Fairest: Marcus Young
Leading Goal Kicker: Marcus Young (26 goals)
Disappointing season for the Rams who were never able to break out of first gear.
After a come-from-behind victory over the Lions in Round One, the Rams lost their next five out of six outings to be well behind the pace.
They found some mid-season form, defeating Ringwood at Jubilee Park in what was at the time, a season-defining game. This led to a five-game winning streak which saw them in the box seat to lock up fifth spot on the ladder. However, the season slipped away late with a couple of crucial losses, including a disappointing loss to Knox at home, and a thumping against the Dockers at Templestowe Reserve.
Finishing on nine wins and nine losses, East Burwood missed finals by a game and percentage.
An inconsistent year will be frustrating for a side that was just one win away from a Grand Final in 2022. Injuries and availability without a doubt played a huge part in their form slumps. Without an experienced ruckman, key position players missing chunks of the year and having multiple changes week to week, it was certainly not an ideal situation.
One of the most consistent players in a Rams jumper this year was Marcus Young. The leading goal kicker in 2023 finished with 26 goals, to only player to play all 18 senior games of the year. Young averaged 24 disposals, along with seven marks, five clearances and 119 ranking points each game.
Matt Mariani, a famous name in the league, was on fire in the first half of the year, leading the league’s best and fairest after nine rounds. The inside midfielder averaged 21 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and five inside 50s per game for the season.
Jordan De Zilwa also celebrated a great year, in his second year with the club. The defender had a fantastic year, having to step up with the likes of Max Wills unavailable due to injury for key parts of the season.
Up forward, Braeden Barlow had four bags of three goals or more, finishing with 23 goals for the season.
Best Win: Round 10 – East Burwood 11.6 72 def. Mulgrave 8.15 63 @East Burwood Reserve
Two times the Rams and Lions faced off, the same result occurred with the Rams coming from behind to pinch victory.
In Round Ten, after a dominant Mulgrave performance in the second term, the Lions stretched out a lead that reached the 50-point barrier. Eight goals to one in the first half, the game appeared to be over, and the Lions were on top in all the key areas, doubling the Rams inside 50s.
The tide began to shift in the third term as the Rams kicked seven goals straight to the Lions one behind. They backed that up in the final term, kicking three goals to five behind, to win by 9 points, an incredible 61-point turnaround.
Mariani stood up in the third term with six disposals, three clearances, two marks and a goal, whilst Max Wills held up in defence with 14 disposals in the final quarter.
Still very positive about what the club can achieve next year. 2023 was a bit of a write-off with so many of their best players off the park during key moments of the season.
The club revealed their new coach, Justin Whitcher, who takes over the reins from David Jensen. Whitcher is a dual-premiership player with the Rams, having a wealth of experience coaching at multiple clubs outside of the EFNL.
Talented enough side that should be aiming for at least finals. A big positive was the club’s Reserves team beinf strong enough to win the Division Two Reserves premiership, in a thrilling finish against the Dockers.
They’ll be eager to bank some wins in the early rounds after their slow start this season.
Ladder Position: 4th (8-6, 108.05%)
Best and Fairest: Georgia Mahon
Leading Goal Kicker: Cecilia Baldassarre (68 goals)
A strong season for the Rams who were promoted to Division Two this year after their 2022 Division Three premiership win.
It was a different-looking Rams side this season, missing a few of their premiership stars. Unlike many of the other sides in the division, East Burwood didn’t have the luxury of a full bench.
The Rams put together an 8-6 winning season to finish fourth and make the 2023 finals series.
In the first week of the finals, they took on Waverley Blues, who this year returned to the competition for the first time since 2019. It was a tight contest between the two sides, the only difference being the first term in which the Waverley Blues were able to keep the Rams scoreless.
Cecilia Baldassarre was a clear stand-out, not only from an East Burwood perspective but also from a league point of view. The key forward kicked 66 goals for the season, 68 including her finals series. It was the most of any player not only in the division but also the entire senior competition, men and women combined.
Georgia Mahon had a fantastic year, consistently performing for the club, and celebrated as the side’s best and fairest winner. Finishing just behind her as the Runner Up was Bronte Rowlands, six times listed as the best, as well as having five goals.
Best Win: Round Seven – East Burwood 25.16 166 def. Croydon North MLOC 0.0 0 @Hughes Park
By far the side’s biggest win of the season came in Round Seven when the Rams faced off against the KangaRams in a Grand Final Rematch at Hughes Park.
Comprehensively beaten on every level, the Rams piled on the goals, six or more every quarter while keeping their opposition scoreless for the entire game.
Cecilia Baldassarre was simply unstoppable, with 17 goals, a phenomenal and historic individual achievement. The side finished with 25 goals themselves, winning by 166 points.
Increasing the numbers will be a key focus for the side, giving the match-day team a full bench each week. The added depth will certainly help the current list and potentially turn the side from a finals team to a premiership contender.
They missed players such as Sarah Jones, who was prominent up forward in their premiership year. Having her back in the side for a full season would be a massive help.
The club are certainly on the right track forward.
East Burwood has always possessed one of the strongest Netball programs, being the home of some of the best players in the league. East Burwood was the only club in the competition that had two teams competing in the top division.
East Burwood Black finished third in Division One, with a record of 13-2-2, while East Burwood Rams finished sixth with a record of 5-1-11. After a Grand Final last year, East Burwood Black never looked like missing finals this year. They finished on the same amount of wins as their Grand Final opponent last year in East Ringwood.
The first week of the finals saw them take on Vermont. Although it was a close first half, East Burwood piled on the goals in the second half, 39 goals to 16. A week later, they took on the Minor Premiers Croydon. In another close contest against the Blues, Ella Tweedale starred with 41 goals. The side however just fell short, losing by a single point.
Tweedale was fantastic in 2023, finishing with 611 goals after the end of the finals series. East Burwood Rams’ Rylee Hamilton finsihed as the leading goal shoter uring the Home and Away season with 543 goals. Both finished highly in their club best and fairest counts. Hamilton runner up to Nicole Wong for the Rams, while Tweedale finished ahead of Gaby Clarke to win the East Burwood Black Best and Fairest award.
Both Tweedale and Hamilton made the 2023 Netball Team of the Year, alongside Gabriella Clarke in Goal Keeper and Grace Hayen in Wing Defence.
East Burwood Grey competed in Division Three, winning seven games and a draw to finish seventh on the ladder. Rachael Sheridan finished high in the leading goal shooters of the division with 288 goals, also winning the side’s Best and Fairest award.
Unfortunately for East Burwood Silver in Division Five, they were unable to finish with a win. Ami Jenson had a great year on the court, winning the side’s best and fairest award.
East Burwood White finished seventh in Division Nine, finishing the season with four wins and a draw. Grace Sketcher celebrated a great season, 142 goals from 14 games, and a club best and fairest.
The East Burwood Junior Football Club had 5.5 teams compete in the EFNL Junior competition this year.
Their Under 15’s side qualified for the finals in the Under 15B division. Max Mcardle finished third in the league best and fairest, having a great year, and leading the Rams to the finals.
The Under 17.5 side just missed out on finals, but Jonty Sinclair went on to win the league best and fairest for that division.