The first ever AFL Outer East season is creeping ever closer, and as anticipation builds we’ll be taking a closer look at each and every club in our newly formed home.
Mount Evelyn Football Netball Club are backing themselves in and embracing the change in 2019 according to senior football coach Mark Fisher, as all eyes turn towards the clubs first game of the AFL Outer East Division One season.
Close, but no cigar was the overall theme for the Rovers in 2018, with the Senior men finishing just a game outside the five whilst their under 18’s were minor premiers but were unable to make the big dance.
The Rover’s senior women’s side lost the grand final by eight points to Vermont, after finishing the season top of the table losing just one home and away game. Katelyn Betts (24 goals, 5 times in best) and Isobel Urqhart (23 goals, 10 times in best) were stars for the Rovers in 2018.
They did claim some silverware however, with the reserves side coming from fifth on the table to pinch the flag by just two points over Olinda Ferny Creek.
On the netball court Mount Evelyn will take some confidence from the fact that they won’t have to face netball powerhouses Olinda Ferny Creek, Wandin and Woori Yallock, and while they still have to face Belgrave, it comes with the knowledge that the Magpies A Grade side have all moved on.
They’ll be under the tutelage of defender Kaitlyn Black this season. Black herself is coming off an impressive 2018 which heralded her a spot on the bench in the Yarra Ranges Division One Team of the Year.
Fitness levels will be higher this season as well for the Rovers, with the girls completing a number of gruelling F45 sessions throughout the pre-season to ensure they hit the 2019 netball season in good physical condition.
For the footballers, it’ll be about building upon their impressive 2018, which saw them finish with a nine-nine win loss record, according to senior coach Mark Fisher.
“It might have been exceeding expectations to those on the outside, but the reality is that under me they started to play and understand some structure,”
“We had a really clear way that we wanted to play the game as a group and with defined roles it made the game a little bit easier for them.”
Fisher says that the increased buy in he received resulted in a thirst for knowledge amongst the playing group, which he expects to build upon this year, stating that his team is currently on a journey towards an end product.
“Last season we had 75 training sessions under me and now we get to do that again, we’ve already had a further 18 this year, and everyone is starting to get better.”
With the re-structure of the competition seeing the Rovers go from the best of the rest to possible front runners, Fisher has a different monster to tackle in regard to expectation, but rather than head out and recruit heavily to ensure he delivers upon the new found expectation, Fisher is looking to promote youth and ‘back in his processes’.
Those processes have become more and more advanced the longer Fisher has been in the role, with the first 50 sessions focusing on laying the foundation, and now the Rovers will be adding further layers on top.
“At the moment we’ve been focusing on our ball movement so that we’re more adaptable, teams will see a distinct change in that, and it’ll become our biggest area of change.”
Not only has Fisher done his homework on what his side can do better, he’s also been preparing for the Rovers newest opponents – Doveton, Pakenham and Officer. He’s pretty content with the way the restructure has occurred.
“I think the right teams have come in at the right level,”
“It’s exciting for us purely because it’s new and it’s different, we should be at the pointy end, so let’s embrace it, ”
“It gives us the chance to do something we haven’t done for 20 odd years.”
Mount Evelyn host Warburton Millgrove on the 14th of April to start their 2019 AFL Outer East season.