The Year of the Bull. The premiership flag headed back to Noble Park for the first time since 2011.
By Ryan Long.
Ladder Position: 2nd (14-4, 158.27%)
Best and Fairest: Kyle Martin
Leading Goalkicker: Shayne Allan (40)
2022 was the Year of the Bull.
Noble Park won their fifth premiership since joining the Eastern Football Netball League in 2000. They came into the season with high expectations of a strong year after an impressive 2021 campaign that saw the club finish in second place before the season was cut short.
A great focus of the Steve Hughes’ coached Bulls side has been the defensive elements of their game. They were again the number one ranked defensive team in Premier Division. However, they were just as strong up forward with a star-studded midfield line-up giving their forwards every chance to put up a big score. Five times across the year did Noble Park score 100 or more, averaging 98 points per game.
One side they did struggle to beat in 2022 was Rowville. The Hawks would defeat the Bulls in three encounters before they met in the Grand Final including an incredible comeback win in Round 16 at Pat Wright Senior Oval. After Rowville defeated Noble Park at Bayswater Oval in the first Semi-Final, the odds were stacked against the Bulls.
They comfortably took care of South Croydon in the Preliminary Final, winning by 67 points to set up a fourth meeting with the Hawks. The Grand Final would be a very different outcome from the first three meetings in the year. In wet conditions, the Bulls physically outworked the Hawks, keeping them to just two goals in a 47-point win.
Three Bulls made the EFNL Premier Division Team of the Year, Kyle Martin, Jackson Sketcher and Ryan Morrison. Martin was named as Captain of that side, also winning the club best and fairest, averaging 36.8 disposals for the year. He had at least 28 disposals in every game he played, reaching over 40 disposals five times during the season. He was assisted well by Jackson Sketcher and Christopher Horton-Milne, both averaging more than 25 disposals per game.
Ryan Morrison was fantastic for the club down back, with an average of 23 disposals and 2.3 intercept marks, listed as Full Back of the Team of the Year. Morrison played a crucial role in the Grand Final, especially in the first half when the game was there to be won.
In front of the goals, Shayne Allan wound back the clock, finishing with 40 goals for the season. The rest of their goals were well spread out with the likes of Marson, Francis and Byers all playing their role.
Best Win: Grand Final – Noble Park 9.16 70 def. Rowville 2.11 23 @Bayswater Oval
A day that all Noble Park faithful will remember for a long time. Out at Bayswater Oval on Grand Final Day, the Bulls romped home to a 47-point win over a Hawks side that had their number throughout the year. Conditions were extremely tough with constant showers across the afternoon. After Mav Taylor kicked the first goal of the game for Rowville, it was all Bulls, who kicked the next six to set up a 33-point lead at Half Time. There was no sign of slowing down after the main break with Kyle Martin unstoppable in the midfield, having 42 disposals, 23 of those contested. Noble Park managed to keep Rowville to just two majors for the day, winning their fifth flag in the Eastern Football Netball League. Blake O’Leary topped off his two-goal performance on the day with the 2022 Cliff Tomkins medal for being named best on ground.
No sign of the Bulls dropping off next season. They’ve picked up some massive recruits already including an eight-time Bonbeach best and fairest winner and two-time league b&f winner, Shane McDonald. A champion of the Morning Peninsula Football League, he’ll be key for the Bulls in their aims of going back-to-back.
Although club legends Ziggie Alwyn and Shayne Allan have hung up their boots, the side is still stacked with talent that steps up on the big stage. They’re well coached, without a weak link on the ground and will once again, be hard to knock off in 2023.
Noble Park Juniors
The Noble Park Juniors had a great year as well, increasing from two to now 7.5 teams in the league. The Bulls Under 17B Boys side had a fantastic season, finishing on top of the ladder and then going on to win the Grand Final by 28 points against Forest Hill.