By Christopher Kourtis.
The Redbacks struggled across all competitions in 2023, yet still managed to set in place the foundations for growth in seasons to come.
Ladder position: 6th (9-9, 112.69%)
Best and Fairest: Mitchell Jackson
Leading goal kicker: Jacob Williams (17 goals)
It was a season full of ups and downs for Ringwood, who struggled with consistency in season 2023 with a much younger list than in previous years.
The Redbacks opened their season with a routine win against Knox, leaving Jubilee Park with a 55-point victory.
Entering Round 7 at 3-3, Ringwood’s season reached its summit. The Redbacks travelled to Tormore Reserve and won by the finest of margins, beating a Boronia side that would go on to finish at the top of the ladder, by a single point.
In the weeks that followed, a defeat against Knox capped off a three-game losing streak.
The Redbacks managed to end the season strong, however, picking up an 18-point victory against the second-placed Waverley Blues.
Finishing on 9 wins and 9 losses, Ringwood was just one win away from playing finals.
This season’s inconsistency will frustrate the Ringwood faithful, as they miss out on the finals for the first time since earning promotion into Division Two in 2018. Wins against tough opposition have proved that they can hang with the best, which paints a bright future for the Redbacks.
As expected, captain Mitchell Jackson was an integral part of Ringwood’s season. Bringing home the Cameron Parker Medal, awarded to the club’s Best and Fairest, Jackson led his team in total ranking points, whilst also proving himself to be a force to be reckoned with when it came to winning and keeping the footy.
Despite missing games throughout the season, young ruck Jett Latchford looked right at home. Latchford reached new heights this season, averaging 42.8 hitouts per game (third in the division) to go with 9.2 hitouts to advantage per game (second in the division).
Jacob Williams led the way up front, kicking 17 goals throughout the course of the season.
Best win: Round 7 – Boronia (6.14-50) lost to Ringwood (7.9-51) @ Tormore Reserve
In Round Seven, Ringwood proved that their best footy was as good as anyone’s, handing Boronia their only loss of the Home and Away season.
Ringwood’s inaccuracy in front of goal in the first quarter saw them get off to a rocky start. Despite having the same amount of scoring shots as their opposition, Boronia got out to a 15-point lead.
The Redbacks responded after the first break, holding Boronia goalless in the second quarter. Despite this, the Hawks took a handy lead into halftime.
It would be Boronia who started the second half with accuracy issues this time around, kicking 1.9-15 in the quarter, allowing for Ringwood to mount a comeback, kicking four goals to take the lead before Three Quarter Time.
The Redbacks held on through a tight fourth quarter to earn a monumental win.
Ringwood brought the intensity and came to play when it mattered, doing the dirty work and leading contested possessions and hardball gets throughout the whole game. Mitchell Brereton kicked a season-high four goals. Jacob Bell boasted a team-high 26 disposals, as Jett Latchford posted 133 ranking points.
It’s a key off-season for Ringwood, as they have a real chance to continue their growth and return to the finals in the upcoming season.
The Redbacks have already started securing the signatures of their best players, with the likes of Mitchell Jackson, Jacob Bell and the Murfett brothers among many who have committed to playing next season.
They’ll look to continue along this path and secure more talent for the upcoming season. If they manage to do this, it seems like they can only get better and more consistent, pushing for finals footy in 2024.
Ladder position: 7th, (2-12, 19.08%)
Best and Fairest: Grace Ward
Leading goal kicker: Grace Ward (7 goals)
Wins were few and far between in a difficult season for Ringwood in the Division One Senior Women’s competition.
The Redbacks managed two wins, both of which came against the only team below them in Chirnside Park. They started and ended the season on a high note, triumphing over the Panthers in Round 1 and 14 respectively.
The Redbacks struggled against some tough opposition from the division, going goalless in three consecutive games.
Finishing with 2 wins and 12 losses, the Redbacks will take plenty of learnings from the year, looking to start fresh in 2024.
Grace Ward was the clear standout in this Ringwood team. Leading by example, the captain put the team on her back. She led her team in best on votes and goals throughout the season. It came without surprise that Ward won Ringwood’s Best and Fairest award.
Tiana Johnson was runner-up in the Best and Fairest ranking, whilst Olivia Marsham had the second-highest goal-kicking tally with 6.
Best win: Round 1 – Ringwood (6.7-43) def. Chirnside Park (5.5-35) @ Jubilee Park
The season opener was easily one of the brightest points of the 2023 season campaign.
Despite keeping Chirnside Park goalless in the second quarter, Ringwood only went into halftime with a one-point lead. A big third quarter opened up a 17-point lead for the hosts at three-quarter time. This was enough for the Redbacks to hold on to, winning by eight points.
Grace Ward stood out, kicking a season-high four goals to go with her best on votes. Olivia Marsham also picked up best-on-ground votes.
With their coaching group secured, the Redbacks will look to focus on continuing to develop their current list ahead of the 2024 season.
Ringwood had three teams play in three different divisions across the 2023 season.
Ringwood White finished eighth in Division 6. They finished at 6-9, with Nicole Stagg securing the Best and Fairest award for her 219-goal contribution to the team.
Ringwood Black finished ninth in Division 7. Only managing two wins for the year. Hannah Smart won Best and Fairest, while Lilly Dowling was the leading goal scorer with 107 goals.
Ringwood Red finished eighth in Division 8. Despite a 2-14 record, unfortuantely finishing at the bottom of the ladder. Indiana Rancie took home the Best and Fairest award, while Kiera Jackson’s 82 goals saw her earn the title of leading goal scorer.
Ringwood had four junior football teams compete across the 2023 season.
The club had great success off the field, winning the Gordon Parker Best Conducted Club of 2023 after tirelessly working to rebuild the Junior football club over the last few years
Ringwood look set to grow over the following years, and the club award is a credit to everyone involved at Ringwood JFC.