Eastland 2023 Season Review | Knox

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A new era began for the Falcons as EFNL great Steve Buckle took over the young senior men’s group, whilst the senior women challenged themselves at a higher level in 2023, coming off the back of their 2022 premiership.

 

Senior Men’s

Ladder Position: 9th (3-15, 59.00%)

Best and Fairest: Harrison Greaves

Leading Goalkicker: Harrison Greaves (28 goals)

 

Summary:

A positive second half to the year wasn’t enough for Knox to escape the clutches of a double relegation year in Division Two.

 

The slow start where the side failed to win a game in the opening nine rounds inevitably cost the Falcons any chance of staying another year in Division Two.

 

All three of the senior side’s wins came in the second half of the season, two of those wins against reasonably strong opposition in East Burwood and Ringwood.

 

It was Steve Buckle’s first year coaching the young group, and he was well aware that it would take a bit of time to see that progress. Buckle’s the right man for the job, having great success at Doncaster East in the past, the Falcons are on the right track forward.

 

They’ll take some confidence out of what they were able to achieve later in the season, with plenty of development of a rather young group.

 

Key Players:

It was no surprise to see Harrison Greaves take out the best and fairest for the club in 2023. The key forward finished with 28 goals, enough to make the Division Two Team of the Year an impressive feat.

 

He finished just above Harry O’Brien and Jordan Love who rounded out the top three of Knox’s Best and Fairest.

 

Ashley Black took out the award for most consistent player at the club, constantly finding a spot in the side’s best each week.

 

Best Win: Round 10 – Knox 11.7 73 def. Ringwood 9.14 68 @Knox Gardens Reserve

Nine losses to start the season saw the Falcons desperate to get on the board.

 

In Round Ten, they faced off against Ringwood in a Saturday Night clash on their home deck. Surprising many, the Falcons were on fire from the first bounce, kicking the first seven goals of the game to set up a 42-point Quarter Time lead.

 

They managed to keep a similar lead by three-quarter time, keeping the Redbacks to a goalless term in the third. With the wind, they came home hard, seven goals to two in the last quarter. However, Knox managed to hold on by five points, a famous win for the club.

 

Harry Greaves kicked four goals, a strong performance from the big man, while Sam Woodward was listed best on ground for Knox.

 

Off-Season Focus:

The club will compete in Division Three next season, with hopes to put together a stronger year on the field. 

 

Such a young group so hard to predict just where they might finish on the ladder next year but expect some continued improvement and development of the group.

 

Recruiting-wise, it would be a great time to add a bit of experience to the list, similar to what Upper Ferntree Gully has done so far this off-season.

 

We’ve seen what Oakleigh District have done going down a division and making a Preliminary Final. It’s a very even division with sides such as Coldstream and Warrandyte that will be hopeful of returning back to the finals. There’s no reason why Knox can’t be in that finals race next year as well with a couple of additions to their current list.

 

Senior Women’s

Ladder Position: 5th (7-7, 97.44%)

Best and Fairest: 

Leading Goalkicker: Rebecca Lia (22 goals)

 

Summary:

After a Division Two premiership win in season 2022, the Falcons moved into Division One for the 2023 season.

 

With a slightly different list, they competed well, with a 50% win record, only just missing out on a finals position due to percentage. Their closest rival across the season was the side that just beat them out for that fourth spot on the ladder, North Ringwood. They split their encounters with one win each.

 

Knox comfortably took care of the bottom three sides of the ladder in Beaconsfield, Ringwood and Chirnside Park. But the Falcons were still a fair way off the top three in The Basin, Boronia and Park Orchards.

 

For a team that’s just come up a division, it’s an impressive start which will give the playing list plenty of confidence going into 2024.

 

Key Players:

Two Falcons made this year’s Division One Team of the Year, Rebecca Lia and Zali Wagner.

 

Rebecca Lia finished as the club’s leading goal kicker with 22 majors, having two bags of five goals against both Ringwood and Chirnside Park.

 

Zali Wagner was one of the club’s most consistent players, having plenty of value across the ground, particularly in defence. She was awarded the club’s best and fairest for her incredible season.

 

Rounding up the top three of the side’s best and fairest awards night was Taylor Prentice and Makaela Egorov.

 

Best Win: Round Two – Knox 5.5 35 def. North Ringwood 5.3 33 @Quambee Reserve

After a Round One loss to the Sharks, Knox headed to Quambee Reserve as underdogs as they took on last year’s preliminary finalists North Ringwood.

 

A win was looking unlikely at the main break with the Saints 19 points in front, having kicked four goals to one, controlling most areas of the contest.

 

However, a big third term that saw the Falcons kick three goals to zip brought the margin back to two points. The final quarter was largely controlled by Knox but a few missed opportunities left the door open for the Saints to hold on. A late goal however helped pinch victory for the Falcons, a memorable two-point win away from home.

 

Emily Agius and Holly Gibson both finished with two goals each.

 

Off-Season Focus:

The Falcons are searching for a new senior coach for the 2024 season, and that’ll be priority number one, locking in before the finals series.

 

If the club can keep their playing list together, they’ll have more than a good chance of playing some Division One finals footy.

 

Netball

The club also featured a strong Netball program, having two teams compete this year, with their top side playing off in the Division Two finals series.

 

The Knox Falcons Division Two team finished the season in fourth place with ten wins and a draw. This saw the side taking on East Ringwood in a Semi-Final, needing a win to stay alive. They trailed for most of the game but managed to remain close at the final break before going on a 12 to 6 point run in the final term to win by four points.

 

They were competitive against the eventual premiers in the Division Two Preliminary Final but Coldstream broke away late to win by seven. Jacqueline Harfield had a fantastic finals series, scoring 45 goals over the two games. Harfield finished second in the Falcon’s Best and Fairest count, one vote behind Rachel Isles.

 

The club’s second team that competed in Division Six won five games and had a draw to finish sixth on the ladder. The Knox Black best and fairest winner was Brigid Dowsing, 110 goals from 14 games.

 

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