Out of the Scrap

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By Wil Spence

Ferntree Gully have knocked off finals hope Donvale in convincing fashion, leaving many to wonder what could’ve been in 2022 for the slow starting Eagles.

The Eagles may not be in contention for finals with two games remaining in the home and away season but with five wins out of their past six games, there is a lot to like for their upcoming campaign in season 2023.

After losing to Donvale by 13 points in their first outing, the Eagles were dominant in the return leg, winning by 40 points in a turnaround that was built off the back of their midfield to forward cohesion according to coach, Brent Kiker.

“We dropped our way in the second half last time and were a bit undisciplined, this time round we were keen to beat a top four side,

“We try to get a lot of drive from the backs, and the first half of the year our defence held well, but we just couldn’t get that midfield to forward cohesion,

“It took longer than I expected to get that cohesion, but we knew once it had, and now it has you can see it in our scores.”

Sitting 0-7 to start the season, there was plenty of external noise surrounding relegation for the Eagles. However, Kiker was quietly confident his side’s gameplan would stand up against the rest of Division Three.

“From the first half of the season, we had a big turnover of the list and with some injuries our list became quite young. It took a bit of time to create the cohesion. Within games we would have a patch where we weren’t consistent,

“When we were naught and seven, externally we were penned in to be relegated, but for us to keep faith in the gameplan and keep belief that we could turn it around at some stage, particularly when we played Coldstream, we got a lot out of that.”

The midfield and forwards of Ferntree Gully were dominant all day on Saturday with ruck Daniel De Ieso and star recruit Luke McComb influential in the centre of the ground. Forward trio Michael Russo, Kieran Gray and Jack Flannery all played pivotal roles according to Kiker who was also ultra-impressed with second gamer, 16-year-old Jordan Church’s game off half-back.

“Daniel De Ieso has been fantastic in the ruck, getting Luke McComb back, he’s a class act and was fantastic on the weekend.

“Our more experienced guy’s (Michael) Russo and Kieran Gray have been fantastic along with Jack (Flannery). He created a lot of goals around him and 16-year-old Jordan Church who was playing in his second games was fantastic off half back.”

With relegation avoided after doing the mathematical equations, Kiker is now relieved to get the monkey off the back enjoying the remaining two games, and hopefully take some momentum into season 2023.

“It’s (relegation) been hanging over us and to get out of the scrap is massive,

“It’s important to finish off the season strong and set us up for years to come,

“We want to come out and play some footy, win lose or draw, we just want to play our way and would love to take a couple more scalps.”




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