In this week’s Eastland In and Under column, Media Manager Ryan Long gives you his key takeaways from the weekend.
One Garner Out, Another Garner In
With Taylor Garner sitting on the sidelines, Damian Garner stepped up in his brother’s absence, returning to the field for the first time since Round One, kicking four goals in South Belgrave’s 22-point win over Mitcham on Saturday.
The Saints were without Taylor Garner and Tim Smith at Walker Park, the two key forwards leading the goal-kicking in the division. South Belgrave still managed to find the scoreboard without them, having 31 scoring shots for the game. With a very inaccurate first quarter, kicking 4.10, the Saints had left the door open for the Tigers who fought hard in the following three quarters to get themselves back into the game.
Jesse Cherry continued his great start to the season, keeping Mitcham in the game early, finding plenty of the footy. He’s stood up with many of the Tigers’ best midfielders watching on from the sidelines due to injury.
The Tigers themselves had plenty of chances to give the Saints their first loss of the season, missing vital set shots in the second half. The intensity rose in what was a very physical game, Mitcham got within twelve points in the final quarter but South Belgrave had all the answers.
Ryan Silver was dominant in the Saints’ back 50, with a series of intercept marks and rebound 50s. He was awarded the Sportsco Eastland Best on Ground award.
With both sides having a series of injuries to key members of their squad, it’s a difficult one to get a read on. At full strength, both sides have a serious chance of winning the premiership this year.
The big question for South Belgrave is if they can get all three Garner brothers on the field at the same time come August and September.
Norwood against the odds
One of the most surprising results from the weekend came at Pat Wright Senior Oval where Norwood pinched a one-point win over the reigning premiers, Noble Park.
Rarely have Noble Park lost back-to-back games at home, the last time occurring in the 2019 season. On top of that, it was skipper Jackson Sketcher’s 100th senior game.
The Bulls led at Half Time by 11 points in a very contested game, making the most of Norwood’s turnovers. After Half Time, Norwood was able to change that up, making a few adjustments including the way they were bringing the football inside 50s to avoid the easy transition exits from their defensive half.
They took the lead by three-quarter time and managed to hold on for a point in a contested last quarter. Hugh Johnson kicked three majors in the win while Yarran Jaffer-Williams continued his great start at a new club, playing a different role, and moving further up the ground.
It’s the club’s third win of the season, also defeating Doncaster and Park Orchards, putting the club back into seventh position. They’re still without a couple of their key players including 2022 club best and fairest winner Tom Maloney and star midfielder Lochlan Dickson.
Last year, the club were marred by a series of injuries and overseas absences. But comparing their opening five weeks to last year’s, they sit at a much more comfortable 3-2 compared to 2022’s 1-4 start. They have been a side that has flown under the radar but at full strength under Marty Pask, they’re a serious threat in the Premier Division competition.
If you would like to hear from Marty Pask, the senior coach of the Norwood Football Club, speak about the big win, make sure to check out the latest podcast HERE: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/baQHZCu3Pzb
Shootout at Springfield Park
For the first time this season in any senior division, we had a match where both sides hit triple digits.
At Springfield Park on Saturday, Whitehorse and Oakleigh combined for 216 points in a free-flowing game where 32 goals were kicked.
At the final change, the Pioneers held a sixteen-point lead before a late charge from Oakleigh saw them kick six goals to steal a fourteen-point win away from home. Senior playing coach Blake Pearson alongside the leading goal scorer of the division, Zak Bozanich kicked five goals each in the win.
As for Whitehorse, they’ll still take plenty from the match despite the result. Charles Thorn starred for the Pioneers while Thomas Young booted five goals of his own.
Division Three has been the most even division in the Eastland Senior Men’s competition all season.
At their best, both Oakleigh District and Whitehorse have proven to be true finals contenders. This might be viewed as an eight-point game for Oakleigh come August.
EFNL Clubs get behind BCNA Round
One big positive from the weekend was the way the clubs got around BCNA Round. From the netballers on Friday Night to the seniors on Saturday to the juniors on Sunday, there was plenty of pink on and off the field around the grounds.
Many clubs have worked hard to raise money, helping BCNA to inform, support, connect and represent all Australians affected by breast cancer.
If you would like to donate, there’s still plenty of time.
View the link HERE to the BCNA EFNL Donations page: https://pinksportsday.bcna.org.au/my-fundraising/956/efnl-eastern-football-netball-league