In this week’s Eastland In and Under column, Media Manager Ryan Long gives you his key takeaways from the weekend.
The Rowville of 2022
The bar has been set high for Rowville this year after what the young Hawks were able to achieve last season as Minor Premiers.
This year, they’ve had an interesting seven weeks, dropping a couple of big games by close margins due to lapses within games.
On Saturday, we saw their most comprehensive victory thus far, defeating Doncaster East at Zerbes Reserve by 57 points. They punished the Lions, scoring 67 points off their turnovers. It was a different looking forward line to previous weeks which worked well on Saturday, creating 39 points off forward 50 turnovers.
Lachlan Wynd kicked another six goals on the weekend to take his tally to 30 from just six games, an average of five goals a game.
He’s been vitally important this season but the more assistance he receives from those around him, the more dangerous this side becomes.
It was just as strong of a defensive performance from the Hawks as well with Rowville keeping the number one attacking side in the division heading into Round Seven to just six goals for the entire afternoon. Cooper McDonald played a part in that with three intercept marks, three rebound 50’s.
The win away from home means Rowville are back in the top six in what is a very even Premier Division competition.
They return to Seebeck Oval this weekend in another blockbuster game against Norwood.
East Burwood keeps season alive
The Rams kept their finals hopes alive in Division Two with a fourteen-point win over Ringwood.
Sitting seventh with a record of 2-5 heading into the round, it became an eight-point game as they took on fifth-placed Ringwood. A loss would have seen the Rams three wins outside of the top five. They were challenged by a young Redbacks side in the third quarter but responded with a strong final term to walk away fourteen-point winners.
It’s been a challenging year for David Jensen to take over the role with many of their key players this year missing a lot of footy due to injury.
On Saturday, it was the experienced heads that really stood up for the Rams. Matthew Mariani and Marcus Young were both influential through the midfield, with 27 and 25 disposals respectively. The ever-reliable Max Wills was a rock down back with 10 marks and 12 Rebound 50’s.
For Ringwood, Jett Latchford used East Burwood’s lack of height in the ruck to his advantage, having 51 hit outs, 7 marks and 7 clearances. With one of their youngest sides on the park in recent memory, their third-quarter comeback fell short.
The two Preliminary Finalists of last year have changed quite a bit in terms of personnel in less than 12 months but they’re both well coached are are not to be underestimated in the division.
It looks to be all set up for an interesting race between Ringwood, Mulgrave and East Burwood for who pinches that fifth spot.
Blues dig deep
It hasn’t been the ideal start to the season for Croydon. After defeating Lilydale by ten points in Round One, they were on a six-game losing streak heading into their Round Eight clash against Montrose.
Against one of the premiership contenders away from home, the Blues pulled off an inspiring eleven-point win. One of the biggest knocks on the club has been their scoring power. This weekend, they hit triple digits for the first time since Round 10 of the 2022 season.
The side had nine goal-kickers on the weekend with Britton and Dmonte both kicking three goals each.
Despite the Demons winning most of the key statistics on the day, Koger and Spurrell won the ruck battle for the Blues which resulted in 11 to six centre clearances in favour of Croydon. They also made the most of Montrose’s turnovers, having 19 scoring shots from those turnovers.
With multiple key players out, it’s been a difficult season thus far, but this gives the side a great opportunity to turn things around ahead of the second half of the year.
As for Montrose, they’ve still got a lot of work to do if they are to be a serious chance of taking out this year’s premiership.
Their best form is good enough to beat anyone on their day but they’ve still lacked a bit of consistency from week to week, something that plagued the Demons in the first half of season 2022.