Eastland 2023 Season Review | Montrose

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The Dees fell one game short of a Grand Final Apperance in the Senior men’s competition, while a dominant Netball program saw Montrose compete in three Grand Finals.


Senior Men’s

Ladder Position: 2nd (13-1-4, 132.79%)

Best and Fairest: Greg Lord

Leading Goalkicker: Ryan Garthwaite (49 Goals)



Further development for the Dees, but it still wasn’t enough to make this year’s Grand Final, falling short at the second-last hurdle of the season.


The club made a lot of progress in the back half of the 2022 season, going on a hot streak to make it through to a Semi-Final. There were expectations of improving from that with a better start to the year and overall a more consistent season.


They managed to do so, albeit with a couple of minor hiccups along the way.  


Montrose finished second on the ladder after the Home and Away season, winning 13 games and a draw. This included two tight wins against Mitcham, the two sides having a nice rivalry across the season as two of the premiership contenders.


They faced off in the first week of the finals in what was an incredible finish, going into Extra Time where the Demons held on for a famous one-point win.


A week later, they took on the undefeated Saints for a spot in the Grand Final. The Demons certainly didn’t lose any admirers, going in front at the final change. However, South Belgrave ran over the top of Montrose to win by 19 points.


With a six-game winning streak against the Tigers, their run finally came to an end in the Preliminary Final, falling away in the second half.


A disappointing way to finish what was an overall great season for the club.


Key Players:

In contention as one of the best recruits of the 2023 season, Greg Lord’s first year at Montrose couldn’t have gone much better than it did. Lord took out the club’s best and fairest as well as a Team of the Year representative. Lord averaged 28 disposals per game, as well as 6 marks, 8 Rebound 50s and 8 clearances.


He finished on top of the best and fairest count, one place ahead of club great Ben Dessent. Another big year for the Dees star saw him make this year’s Team of the Year, averaging 26 touches in season 2023.


Ryan Garthwaite also came to the club this year, the Ex-Richmond defender had a great season up forward kicking 49 goals. Garthwaite was massive in the side’s finals campaign, listed as Montrose’s Player of the Finals.


Best Win: Qualifying Final – Montrose 10.8 68 def. Mitcham 10.7 67 @Tormore Reserve

In one of the games of the year, Montrose held on for a famous victory against Mitcham in the Qualifying Final.


Similar to the last time the two sides met, it was Montrose who jumped out of the blocks before the Tigers slowly cut into their lead. The Dees kicked the opening four goals of the game and took in a 31-point lead at Half Time.


Even through the last term, Montrose looked home. But a couple of very late goals sent the match into Extra Time. A late behind in extra time by Ryan Garthwaite secured victory for the Dees, and locked in a semi-final date with South Belgrave.


Garthwaite was at his best with seven marks and four goals, setting the tone for the Dees. Ben Dessent was also key in the victory with 23 touches, 15 of those contested.


Already having another side win in overtime on the same weekend, it was a massive day for the Montrose faithful.  


Off-Season Focus:

There’s no question that Montrose is one of the few Division One sides that are still in the premiership window.


They’ll certainly be looking to fill up their ruck stocks over the off-season. It’s quite a strong midfield with the likes of Dessent, Watson and Max Hall when available.


With Gary Ayres as senior coach, a list with an ideal age demographic, Montrose isn’t far off their next senior premiership.


Senior Women’s

Ladder Position: 5th (7-1-6, 82.70%)

Best and Fairest: Rachel Hardy

Leading Goalkicker: Grace Rogers (10 goals)


Big improvement from the Demons senior women’s side in 2023, winning four more games in Division Two than what they had last year.


The year saw a lot of growth and development for the side, winning five of their last six games, their only loss coming against the undefeated Roos. The side even managed to knock off eventual Preliminary Finalists, the Waverley Blues, twice in that period.


Finishing with seven wins, one draw and six losses, the side had a better than 50% win record, only just missing out on a finals birth.


Key Players:

Winning the club’s best and fairest was Rachel Hardy, a key player who had a very consistent season that also earned her a spot in the Team of the Year. Also in the backline of the TOTY was Tiana Witnish, finishing as runner-up in the club’s best and fairest.


Emma Watson’s year in the midfield was just as strong, yet another TOTY representative, as well as the second runner-up in the club’s best and fairest. She also added to the scoreboard this year with four majors of their own.


The Dees also had plenty of stars up forward that had great seasons with Rogers, Carroll and Bentley all frequently hitting the scoreboard in 2023.


Best Win: Round 13 – Montrose 6.8 44 def. Waverley Blues 5.7 37 @Mt Waverley Reserve

A see-sawing affair at Mount Waverley Reserve in the second last round of the season was a must-win game for the Demons to keep their slim chances of finals alive.


The game had several lead changes with the Waverley Blues holding a seven-point lead at the final break. In a big final term, Montrose charged home, kicking a couple of important goals while keeping the Waverley Blues scoreless.


Tiana Witnish was fantastic in the win, best on ground for the Demons, while Emma Watson finished with two of the six goals kicked by Montrose. 


Off-Season Focus:

Considering the way the squad finished the year, Montrose can certainly reach the finals and have an impact there in Division Two next year.


This year saw a ton of growth from their list and if the club can maintain and consolidate the playing group into next year, the Dees will be in great shape for the future.



One of the strongest Netball programs in the league, Montrose had seven sides compete in the 2023 Bendigo Bank Netball Series. Three sides faced off in Grand Finals, more than any other club, with one team going on to win a Grand Final.


The Division Eight Montrose Storm side celebrated with a premiership, defeating the Waverley Blues in the Grand Final. They finished second on the ladder with a record of 12 and 4, knocking off The Basin in a Semi-Final by six goals before going on to win the decider by 15 goals. Chelsea De Kort topped off a great season by winning the Blue Ribbon Medal for her best on-court performance.


The highest-ranked side, the Montrose Demons competed in Division Three, winning four games for the season in a highly competitive division. Kristy Hicks top-scored for the side with 127 goals from 15 games. 


In Division Four, Montrose Flames finished second on the ladder, winning 12 games with two draws. Their finals run saw them take on Vermont twice, once in the first Semi-Final and then again in the Grand Final.


The Demons qualified for the decider first after defeating Vermont in a close four-point game. The Grand Final was a similar tight contest but this time it was the Eagles coming out on top, holding on for a four-point victory and the premiership.


In Division Seven, the club had two teams compete, the Thunder and the Devils. Both on different projectories, the Devils won just one match while the Thunder lost just one, finishing second on the ladder.


They had an almost identical finals series to the Flames, defeating the Waverley Blues in the semi-final and then losing to the same side two weeks later in the decider. 


In yet another close Grand Final, it was goal for goal all game, the Waverley Blues scoring in the dying seconds to win by a single goal. Leading goal shooter of the division with 375 goals, Tamara Hutson scored 24 goals in the Grand Final loss, also the runner-up in the club’s best and fairest, behind Naomi Mortimore. 


Their final two sides competed in Division Nine, the Montrose Raptors winning five games with Kristyn King taking our best and fairest honours for her performance this season. As for the Montrose Heat, a great Home and Away season saw them finish second on the ladder with 11 wins. Unfortuantely they bowed out of the finals in straight sets.


Casey Hahn was one of the division’s best shooters, finishing up with 215 goals.


Montrose Juniors

One of the most successful junior clubs had another big season with 20 sides competing in the junior competition, four of those being girls’ teams. 

A highly successful finals series saw Montrose win three premierships in the boys competition, Under 15B Boys, Under 14B Boys and the Under 12B Boys.

A great sign for the future of the club to see how much their juniors are thriving.

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