Yarra Valley Water 2023 Season Review | Vermont

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The Vermont of old, the Eagles senior men returned to the biggest stage on the EFNL calendar while the senior women’s and netball programs went from strength to strength.


Senior Men’s

Ladder Position: 1st (15-3, 150.51%)

Best and Fairest: Lachie Johns

Leading Goalkicker: Adrian Kalcovski (57 Goals)


The Eagles were back to their best in 2023, the powerhouse of the EFNL bouncing back from a missed finals series to make this year’s Premier Division Grand Final.


The opening few rounds of the season had some of the Vermont faithful concerned. A five-point home game loss to Berwick and a 91-point thumping at the hands of East Ringwood had outsiders asking questions.


Vermont turned things around in Robbie Ross’s 200th game, with a 25-point win over Balwyn, keeping the high-scoring Tigers to just four goals. It started a dominant winning streak, five wins in a row and 13 wins from the last 14 games to finish on top of the ladder, a game clear of Rowville and Balwyn.


The powerhouse of the league, Vermont have missed the finals just once in the last decade of seasons.


The first Semi-Final saw the Eagles take on the Hawks at Bayswater Oval, a one-point game between the two eventual Grand Finalists. Lachie Johns starred in the tight loss, the Eagles bounced back the week later in the Preliminary Final.


Vermont held off Doncaster East, keeping them at bay across the afternoon to win by five goals.


Aiming for their 24th premiership in the league, Vermont faced off against Rowville who was searching for their first at Premier division level. A tight low-scoring contest all afternoon made for a great spectacle in front of a packed Bayswater Oval in perfect conditions. Despite some impressive performances from leaders such as Johns, Ross and Daraio, the Eagles lost by just ten points.


Key Players:

A champion of the club and league, Lachie Johns went on to win the club’s best and fairest despite missing a few games this season. Johns averaged 26 disposals and 8 clearances per game, working closely with the likes of Alex Greenwood.


Greenwood unfortunately went down with a serious injury in the Grand Final, but his form was excellent across the year, averaging 24 disposals and 8 clearances.


Calvin Daraio and Adrian Kalcovski were the only two Vermont players who played all 21 games in 2023. Daraio averaged 24 disposals per game, saving a huge performance for the Grand Final. Kalcovski was massive throughout the year, the side’s leading goal kicker with 57 goals.


James Ross was another big standout this year, playing some important roles across the season. Someone to watch closely over the upcoming years.


Best Win: Round 11 – Vermont 16.11 107 def. Rowville 9.6 60 @Vermont Recreation Reserve

A statement victory on a unique Sunday fixture.


Vermont hosted Rowville in a near top-of-the-table clash, a big win cemented the famous club as a premiership fancy.


The game was set up off a seven-goals to two second quarter, Adrian Kalcovski starring with four goals in the quarter. Kalcovski finished with six as the Eagles managed to hold off all of Rowville’s second-half advances.


James Ross was fantastic in defence, and Lachlan Wynd kept to just one goal for the afternoon.         


Off-Season Focus:

One of the differences between this Vermont side to former Grand Final Eagles teams is the overall youth of the side. Their rise this year was a surprise to many, there’s no doubt that they can sustain this over the upcoming years.


One of the strongest junior programs in the league has the senior club set up well for the future. 


Senior Women’s (Vermont Purple)

Ladder Position: 6th (4-8, 101.67%)

Leading Goalkicker: Madison Buszano (13 Goals)


Vermont’s first of two senior women’s sides finished the year with a record of 4-8, missing the finals this season.


It was such an even Premier Division competition, Vermont was just one win away from playing finals due to a very healthy percentage.


Their four wins in 2023 came against Mt Evelyn twice, Whitehorse and Donvale.


In the final two games of the year, the Eagles had two strong performances against both eventual Grand Finalists. On both occasions, they came up short by just three points.


Key Players:

Another superb year from Madeline Johns, the star midfielder selected as the Captain of the Deakin University Premier Division Team of the Year. She was listed nine times in the best of her twelve games.


Erin Woodford was brilliant in defence, another Team of the Year selection, listed at Full Back. Again, a very consistent performer across the season, in the Eagles best nine out of eleven games.


The third member of the Vermont team to make the Team of the Year was Holly Kenealy. She starred with 12 goals for the year, the second most of any Eagles players, one behind Madison Buszano with 13.


Best Win: Round 11 – Vermont 4.5 29 def. Mt Evelyn 3.5 23 @Mt Evelyn Reserve

In the context of their season, this was arguably the most important win of the season for the Eagles.


They took on Mount Evelyn away from home in the third last round of the season, needing a win to keep their finals hopes alive.


The Eagles led at every change, taking a two-goal lead at the final change. In a tight last quarter, Vermont managed to hold off a fast-finishing Mount Evelyn side for the four points.


Off-Season Focus:

Still in a great position going forward despite missing the finals this year.


The Vermont Under18A Girls side was fantastic this season, going on to defeat Blackburn in the Grand Final.


Well-coached, a strong list that will only improve over the next couple of seasons, the Eagles are on the right track forward to return to the finals.


Senior Women’s (Vermont Gold)

Ladder Position: 5th (2-9, 14.71%)

Leading Goalkicker: C. Reid, E. Martini, L. Devincentis (2 Goals)


A successful women’s program at Vermont saw the club field a second senior women’s team once again in 2023.


After a three-game grading period, the Eagles were promoted to Division Three after winning two matches.


The side won two games in the official home and away season, both against The Basin.


Key Players:

Bridgette Thorne, Torey Burns and Linda Devincentis were both stars for the side on a consistent basis in 2023. All three players were in the best four times across the Division Three season.


Burns was fantastic from just five games in the side, also adding to the scoreboard.


Best Win: Round 6 – Vermont 6.17 53 def. The Basin 3.1 19 @Batterham Reserve

The Eagles’ first win of the season was one to remember, up against the Bears away from home.


It was a very one-sided contest in favour of Vermont but despite having five scoring shots to one in the opening quarter, inaccuracy saw the basin leading at the first change.


By Half Time, the Eagles led by two goals but their missed opportunities kept the Bears alive, with two goals twelve at the main break. They controlled the contest for the remainder of the game, Reid with two of the side’s six majors.


A 34-point win for Vermont, a total of 17 more scoring shots than the Bears.


Off-Season Focus:

With a fantastic junior program, Vermont will look to set up two teams to compete in the women’s competition once again in 2024.



Another dominant season for Vermont with the Eagles having the equal most representation in the competition.


A total of seven teams competed in 2023 for Vermont, all of whom played in the top six of nine divisions. The highlight of the club’s season was the Division Four premiership side, winning their second consecutive flag in a row.


Vermont Purple finished on top of the Division Four ladder, winning 13 of 17 games. After going down to Montrose in the first Semi-Final, the Eagles had to go through the long way en route to the flag. The side defeated Kilsyth in a Preliminary Final before having a chance at facing Montrose again. In another close one, the Eagles won in a thriller, defeating the demons by four points. Isabella Touhy starred in defence, taking out the Blue Ribbon Medal for her best on-court performance.


Kellie Phillips was lethal in front of the ring, with 474 goals for the season.


Four other Vermont Netball sides made the finals series, including Vermont Gold, the Division One side. In a highly competitive division, the Eagles won seven games and a draw to qualify for finals. Maddison Elder starred with 377 goals for the season.


In Division Five, Vermont Purple went on to make a Grand Final, falling just short to Minor Premier Silvan. That came after a six-goal win over the Cats in the first Semi-Final. Ashlyn Bear finished with a massive 408 goals for the season.


The club have also put together teams for the Summer season competition.

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