By Matt Fotia
The Eastern Football Netball League has added another four worthy names to its impressive list of 300 game life-members, following a stop start – and ultimately unfinished – 2021 season.
The Basin Football Netball Club houses two of the 2021 class, with club stalwarts Luke Watson and Michael Oxley joining the illustrious group.
Watson and Oxley began their senior journeys in the early 2000’s and went on to play in back-to-back Division Four Grand Final defeats with the Bears in the 2004 (defeated by Heathmont, 91 – 85) and 2005 (defeated by the Waverley Blues 93 – 84) seasons.
Both players were a key part of the The Basin’s defence, with Oxley moving into the midfield on occasion.
Watson went on to taste the ultimate success at Senior Level in 2012, when he and The Bears defeated South Belgrave by 53 points (123-70) to lift themselves out of Division Four. Earlier in the day Oxley played a major role in the club’s Reserves Premiership.
In 2013 Watson was made Senior captain, a role he performed for two seasons, before relinquishing it for the 2015 season, a year which resulted in another heartbreaking Grand Final loss, this time in Division Three, with the Bears going down to Mitcham (111 – 67).
Leadership roles would follow the pair throughout their time at the club, with Oxley a frequent member of the club’s leadership group in the 2000’s, whilst Watson’s 2013-14 captaincy reign wouldn’t be his last, with the club legend leading the Bears’ Reserves outfit in 2021.
Welcome to the 300-club gentleman.
Luke and Michael will be joined by Whitehorse Pioneers and Chirnside Park legends, Adam Blythman and Steven Young.
Blythman, who was part of the Pioneers famous 2018 Division Four Grand Final win over Glen Waverley (48-32), has been the heart and soul of Springfield Park for some time.
Part of the club’s Team of the Decade (1994 – 2003 edition) , Blythman was awarded Whitehorse Pioneers Life Membership in 2013 which recognised both his on field achievements, which include multiple Reserves Best and Fairest awards, and his off field efforts, with Adam serving on the committee through the late 1990s and early 2000’s.
Blythman’s Chirnside Park counterpart Steven Young has an equally impressive CV. Young first arrived at Kimberley Reserve in 2001 and hasn’t turned back.
Still going strong in 2021, Young has four Reserves Best and Fairest trophies to his name – 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2017 – and became a Premiership player with the Panthers in 2010, when he and his Chirnside Park Reserves teammates made up for their Division Four Grand Final loss to Forest Hill (67-54) the previous year, by defeating North Ringwood by 16 points (43-27) to take out the Division Three crown.
In 2014 Young was awarded Chirnside Park Life Membership and now in 2021 he, along with Adam Blythman, Michael Oxley and Luke Watson, join the EFNL 300 Club.