By Josh Ward
After taking the drop from Premier Division to Division One, it was a consolidating season for Montrose, finishing fifth in a very even Division One.
The Demons finished with a record of 6-5 and showed plenty of promise but were still rather inconsistent across the season and will look to improve on that in 2022.
They’ve already made some major moves, including bringing in legendary AFL Player/Coach Gary Ayres, and will look to improve and even challenge for the Division One premiership/promotion in its centenary year.
Best Win: Round 7 at Croydon (Montrose 8.8.56 defeated Croydon 7.11.53)
It was a matchup between one of the in-form sides of Division One and one of the more inconsistent sides at Croydon Oval, and it was the inconsistent Montrose who got a season-defining win against second placed Croydon.
It was a tight contest throughout, with Montrose’s third quarter the difference as the Demons inflicted Croydon’s second loss of 2021 and first at Croydon Oval since August 2019.
Young superstar Bailey White was the difference, kicking five goals and being named best on ground for Montrose, but it was defender Adam Ewart who picked up two votes in the BandF count for the Demons.
Jordan Bastinac, Robert Maibaum, Shaun McMillan, Riley Hams and Andrew Haining were also named in the best for Montrose in what was the final game before the first COVID-enforced break.
Worst Loss: Round 12 at Lilydale (Montrose 7.3.45 defeated by Lilydale 13.9.87)
Having two contrasting games the week before, with Lilydale humbled by Park Orchards by 144 points and Montrose comfortably beating Mitcham by five goals, many would’ve thought it’d be easy pickings for the Demons in this twilight match at the LSO.
However, it was in fact the opposite as the Falcons picked up their second win of 2021 by seven goals in freezing conditions in Lilydale.
Liam Jeffs and Mitch Gordon were the biggest threat up forward for Lilydale each kicking three goals, whilst Matthew Phillips, Jordan Jaworski and Ryan McNay picked up the Best and Fairest votes for the Falcons.
Mitch Davis, Bailey White and Jordan Bastinac were the shining lights for Montrose, with the former two each kicking two goals and Bastinac picking up the Best on Ground for the Demons in what was a tough twilight match for Montrose players and fans.
Standout Player: Mitchell Davis
There were plenty of consistent performers for Montrose, but it was former Vermont man Mitchell Davis who stood out for Montrose.
Possibly his best season since his massive 2015 season, the tall forward kicked 27 goals in 11 games in 2021, finishing three behind top goalscorer Riley Constantino whilst also being named in the best for Montrose three times.
The offseason has well and truly begun for Montrose, with a focus on improving both in attack and defence.
Have made five signings so far this season, including bringing in Chandler Medal runner-up and 2013 premiership player Billy Schilling as well as other 2013 premiership players Jack Garthwaite and Matt Langdon.
Have also signed Ryley McKernan from South Croydon and former Montrose junior Ayden Potter, with the biggest signing of them all being legendary AFL/VFL Coach/Player Gary Ayres.
Their player signings add much needed depth to all three lines, but will need improvement, particularly up forward and down back, in order for them to challenge in 2022.
In what was the inaugural season of women’s senior football at Montrose Reserve, it was a decent effort from the young Montrose women.
Despite finishing second last (fifth), they still had a record of 3-7 in Division Two and found plenty of stars for the future.
Will look to improve their squad and that record in season 2022, but everyone at the club should be proud of their effort in their first season of senior footy.
Best Win: Round 6 at Kilsyth (Montrose 4.6.30 defeated Kilsyth 4.5.29)
Coming up against a red hot Kilsyth (4-1), the 1-3 Demons pulled off one of the biggest shocks in Division Two, defeating Kilsyth by the smallest of margins (one of two one point games that weekend in Women’s Division Two).
It was a tight contest throughout, with the largest margin at each break a five point margin to Kilsyth at three quarter time, before Montrose kicked the only goal of the final quarter to win by that one point margin.
Star Katie Cameron was the difference on the day, voted the umpires best as well as kicking one goal.
Shae Eslick also picked up two votes on what was a massive day for Montrose, with their men also getting their best win of 2021 up the road at Croydon Oval.
Worst Loss: Round 9 vs Knox (Montrose 3.0.18 defeated by Knox 5.4.34)
Sitting pretty in third with a 3-3 record and up against a Knox side who’d only won two of their first seven games, it was the Falcons with a stirring win at Montrose Recreation Reserve.
Following a solid seven-point win at HE Parker Reserve before the break, Montrose would’ve been full of confidence.
However after a poor first half and down by 14 points at half time they weren’t able to mount a comeback, losing by 16 points. Kristen O’Neill was the difference up forward, kicking as many points as Montrose (three goals)
It was Jorja Alexander though who picked up the three votes from the umpires, with Shae Eslick the only player to get votes for Montrose in what was the beginning of a poor second half of 2021, losing their final three games after this loss.
Standout Player: Katie Cameron
The Montrose/Bayswater junior was a star in Montrose’s and her first season of senior women’s footy in the EFNL Deakin Uni Women’s competition.
Not only was she Montrose’s top goalscorer with seven goals in 10 games but was also their top vote getter in the Division Two Best and Fairest count, finishing third overall with 12 votes.
All 12 votes were Best on Ground performances, coming against Heathmont twice, Kilsyth and even Ringwood at Jubilee Park. Will be a massive part of Montrose women’s very bright future.
It could be set to be a quiet offseason for the Montrose women’s, but one thing they might need is a defender.
Their attack was very solid, averaging the third most points per game in 2021 (21.3), but they were still rather leaky down back, conceding the second most points per game (35.1).
If they want to compete against the likes of Kilsyth (again) and Ringwood in 2021, they’re gonna need some improvement down in defence.