By Ryan Long
After finishing inside the top five with nine wins in 2019, it was a disappointing return to footy for the Bayswater senior men’s side, who finished with just three wins from their eleven games in 2021. The Waters never appeared to be in finals contention, especially after losing their first four matches of the year before a 35-point win over Upper Ferntree Gully kickstarted their 2021 campaign.
The club struggled to find some consistency, often giving up early leads including in two of their wins against Upper Ferntree Gully and Montrose. Bayswater won just two first quarters of the year which led to some of their biggest losses of the season against premiership contenders such as Mooroolbark and East Ringwood.
On a positive note, Bayswater was able to get some more experience into some of their younger players coming up from the Under 19’s. There was a total of 35 players that played at least one game in the senior side this year including many who debuted for the first time such as Feroz Khan and Troy Maggs.
Alongside their youth getting a good look at senior footy, some of Bayswater’s more experienced heads also had strong years. The 2019 EFNL Kenneth Wright medallist Kurt Lopo, who has since signed for Edithvale-Aspendale, featured in the EFNL Division One team of the year while Bryce and Joel Galvin also had very solid seasons wearing the green and gold.
Round 10 – Bayswater 10.11 71 def. Montrose 10.6 68
Without a doubt, their standout win of the season was a three-point thriller over the Demons at home.
The side had to dig deep after failing to make the most of their opportunities in the first half in sunny yet windy conditions, spraying the ball in front of goals, kicking an inaccurate 1.8. The Waters recovered in the third quarter, kicking six goals to three before holding the Demons off in a low scoring final term.
Livewire forward Josh Treeby kicked four of Bayswater’s ten majors for the day, spearheading the second-half comeback. Some of the club’s more experienced players such as Joel Galvin and Mitchell Grubb played a crucial role in the midfield to get the side across the line. Bayswater’s defence did well to limit the influence of Mitchell Davis who played a massive role the first time these teams met, kicking seven goals.
Round 7 – Bayswater 4.12 36 lost to Mitcham 16.10 106
It was their equal biggest loss for the year but unlike their loss to East Ringwood, the Waters would have rated themselves a much better chance coming up against Mitcham, with a two-game winning streak coming into the game against a side who had lost three on the trot, a win at home would have increased their slim chances of playing finals at the time.
The game was a completely one-sided affair with Mitcham getting on top of the midfield battle early and asserting their dominance with a very lopsided inside 50 count. The defence struggled to contain Mitcham star forward Jake Parente who went on to boot six in his first game for the year after an early injury setback.
Another fantastic year from the 21-year-old star. White finished second overall in the league best and fairest with 14 votes, just two votes behind the Mooroolbark’s Austin Smith. The gun midfielder had another impressive year and will only get better as he develops his game further.
White was named best on-field three times by the umpires across the season. This included their two-point loss to Croydon in round twelve, playing a massive role in almost producing a big second-half comeback, kicking two majors and dominating through the middle.
It’s no surprise to see the youngster dominating at this level at such a young age after winning eight consecutive EFNL best and fairest awards during his junior career. His transition into senior level went as smoothly as it could and he’s become the focal point of the dominant midfield that Bayswater hopes to build their next premiership around.
White has recently signed on for the 2022 season with Bayswater which is very exciting news for the club.
Bayswater’s midfield has always been a massive strength for the club, senior coach Tom Roach identified that at the beginning of the year.
However, something they need to look at if the club wants to feature in September action next year is their key position players in their attacking and defensive arcs. Josh Treeby in his third year in the senior side was the Waters highest leading goal scorer with 18 majors. The club will be looking to develop some of the other players in the forward line or recruit another key forward to give Bayswater more avenues to goal.
Their defence was put under a lot of pressure when opposition midfielders started to get on top of the game. More dominant Division One teams such as Mooroolbark and East Ringwood were able to score heavily against the Waters once they started to win the inside 50 count.
There’s plenty of upside to the current list, overall Bayswater is riddled with youth, but they’ll be looking to develop these younger players with another pre-season under their belts. Along with White re-signing, other youngsters such as Paul Haasbroek and Troy Maggs have recommitted to the club for the 2022 season.
Although there’s plenty for the club to improve on, there’s a lot to look forward to next season for the Waters as they look to rebound and aim for a top-five position.