By Ryan Long.
Marc Hardy’s return to Bayswater had an immediate impact as Bayswater put together a much improved season, only just missing out on finals, whilst the club entered the Bendigo Bank Netball series for the first time.
Ladder Position: 6th (8-10, 106.27%)
Best and Fairest: Tim Castricum
Leading Goal kicker: Josh Treeby (21 Goals)
The club’s most successful season in terms of Home and Away season wins since 2019, when Bayswater last made the finals.
After a couple of rebuilding seasons, Bayswater put eight wins on the board, putting themselves in contention for a finals spot.
At one stage of the second half of the year, the club sat fourth, with a big chance of making an unlikely finals series. They ultimately fell short with three losses in a row to South Belgrave, Croydon and North Ringwood. Their loss to the Saints was the ultimate decider, Bayswater missing out on a top-five finish by a single draw.
Plenty to like about the way they played their footy this season under Marc Hardy. An EFNL great, Hardy replaced outgoing coach Tom Roach. Having won a premiership with the club back in 2005, the connection has been a perfect fit.
Bayswater played some impressive footy this year, knocking off Mitcham in the final round of the season, coming five points short of knocking off South Belgrave and even a thumping 85-point win over Wantirna South, ending their chances of a potential finals appearance.
Young ruckman Tim Castricum had a great season at Bayswater, averaging 42 hitouts each week. Castricum was announced as the side’s best and fairest, ahead of Lachie Kruger and Troy Maggs.
No surprise to see Ben White in another Team of the Year. The star midfielder averaged over 27 disposals and six clearances per game in season 2023.
The ever-reliable Ben Searle had another big year, making the Team of the Year, listed at Half Back. Searle averaged 18 disposals, 5 Rebound 50s and 94 Ranking Points per game in 2023, another strong season.
Best Win: Round 13 – Bayswater 11.12 78 def. Mooroolbark 11.11 77 @Heights Reserve
As good as some of their other wins were, including a tight win against eventual premiers Mitcham in Round 18, their come from behind win against the Mustangs stands out above all.
Considering the context of the game at this time of year, the Mustangs and Waters were both in the mix for a final’s appearance, needing to keep winning to stay in the hunt.
Travelling to Heights Reserve, Bayswater jumped out of the gates, conceding five goals in the opening term, without kicking one themselves. A 32-point Mooroolbark lead took some work to cut down. By the early stages of the fourth quarter, the Mustangs had moved the lead back beyond that five-goal margin, an almost unbeatable lead.
However, a huge final term saw Bayswater kick the final five goals of the game, outscoring Mooroolbark 34 points to one, storming home for a famous one-point victory.
Some familiar Bayswater names were up and about when the game was on the line. Ben White had seven touches in the final quarter and a goal while the experienced Bryce Galvin had five touches, three clearances and two tackles.
A win away from home moved Bayswater into the top four.
While Bayswater possesses a few older heads coming to the back end of their career, a lot of their key players moving forward are still young and have a lot of room for improvement ahead of them.
Adding to the youth at the club, Bayswater has already signed up Christian Poe, a young gun midfielder from The Basin. Poe’s had a good look at senior footy this year after a best-on-ground performance in the Under 19’s 2022 Grand Final.
The club also welcomes Riley Purton from the Lysterfield Under 17s premiership team. Playing at the Dandenong Stingrays, unsure just how many games he’ll play with Bayswater this year but with family connections to the club and a bright future, it’s a great pickup for the Waters.
Such a tough division that will only get tougher next season, particularly with Park Orchards. Hard to set a pass/fail mark but considering what they were able to achieve this season, with a couple of losses that could have gone either way, they’ll back themselves to be in finals conversation again next season.
For the first-ever time in the Eastern Football Netball League, Bayswater joined the Bendigo Bank Netball competition.
Bayswater managed to put together three Netball sides for the season, as well as one team for the inaugural Summer competition.
Bayswater Gold in Division Two, finished tenth on the ladder, winning three games and a draw. Molly McDonald was the side’s best and fairest winner for her season in attack, with 197 goals for the year.
In Division Six, Bayswater Black fell away late in the season to miss the finals. The club finished in sixth position with six wins and a draw. Abbey Staios finished as the side’s best and fairest winner while Ruby Walters’s 179 goal season was enough to finish inside the top ten goal leading goal shooters of the division.
Bayswater Green in Division Nine may have also missed out on a finals spot but they’ll be happy with the way they finished the year, winning the last two games of the season to take their season tally to 5-11. The side had a tie in their best and fairest award, with Eloise Goodall and Jo-Lina Buschamp sharing the honours.
The Bayswater Junior Football Club had a successful season with ten teams in the competition, opening up new facilities at the back oval.
The club’s most successful side this season was in the Under 12D age group, Bayswater winning the premiership, defeating Lysterfield in the Grand Final by 31 points.
In the Under 14C Girls competition, Shaylee Gauci-Fraser won the league’s best and fairest with a very impressive 28 votes.
Jack Zilinskas also took home a league best and fairest, 17 votes in the Under 17.5D division.