By Matt Fotia
Round two is done and dusted across the AFL Outer East and whilst some clubs are loving the beginning of the 2019 edition, others are still looking lovingly back at what used to be. Here’s the AFL Outer East Football Review for this weekend.
Upwey Tecoma sit atop the Totally Workwear Berwick and Knoxfield Premier Division table after they defeated Olinda Ferny Creek by 44 points on a cold and breezy afternoon at Chosen Avenue.
The Tigers were the least talked about Premier Division side throughout the off-season with so much attention heaped on their fellow premier counterparts. But under (playing) coach David Bell the Tigers have looked impressive in their two wins over albeit depleted sides in Healesville and Olinda Ferny Creek.
Bell’s troops look to have a good level of fitness and are well drilled with their ball movement, with the forward structure looking much more versatile than previous seasons. Daniel Waters kicked five goals once again to bring his tally to 10 goals for the year but was given more freedom to roam up the field now that the Tigers have other options to play deep forward.
Sam Waters was impressive despite finishing goal less, splitting or winning every marking contest he was involved in whilst Liam O’Brien and Lachlan Hughes took a number of marks inside the forward half and kicked one goal apiece.
Upwey were also very physical around the ball and their tackling/body blows left the Bloods with literal bruises, rather than just bruised egos.
For Olinda Ferny Creek there are obvious grumblings of discontent about their slow start to the year. Whilst they definitely don’t have their best line up on the park at this stage, they were made to look slow both with their ball movement and with their literal leg speed.
They had opportunities throughout the game but failed to get quick deep entries to suit their forward line, who without the usual target of Charge haven’t got the genuine height to take consistent pack marks. Get the ball in quicker and give them a chance one on one.
Olinda are a proud club and now is not the time to point fingers and find someone else to blame for their current misfortunes. Now is the time to band together and show what the Bloods are really made of.
2. Rovers rumbled
At half time on Saturday it seemed like Mount Evelyn were sending another message to the rest of Hallam and Bayswater Truck Centres Division One.
They led Monbulk by 19 points at home and despite some awful kicking from the Hawks you would’ve expected Mark Fisher’s men to grab their second win of the season considering the way the Rovers ran away from the Burras in the second half last time out. Plus the Hawks had looked very scratchy in their tough win over Belgrave.
The Hawks finally found their kicking boots in the second half and after six scrappy quarters to start their season they booted eight goals to four in the second half to come away six point winners. Nicholas Wall, Michael Langworthy and Shane Williams all kicked two goals and found a spot in the best six.
They say the sign of good team is winning the close ones and winning when you’re not running on all cylinders. After their performance against Belgrave and with 22 behinds this weekend it’s pretty plain to see Monbulk haven’t hit their straps yet. Still the Hawks are 2-0 and will have extra home fixtures in the back end of the season when they get back on their new and improved home deck.
Watch out for the Bulk in 2019.
3. Big week for the Brookers
It may seem like I have Gembrook-Cockatoo in the gun here, but I can honestly say I don’t, it’s just they are quite obviously the big talking point in the ATC Traffic Division Two. All the stuff we’ve heard before about the expectations on the club this season may be just outside chatter, but you can’t tell me the club wasn’t looking at a possible premiership this season.
Whilst their two losses so far seem to have come against two of the stronger opponents in the competition (Kinglake and Yarra Junction) there is already a pattern developing.
In both clashes the Brookers have been well in touch at the halfway point. In round one they trailed by just eight points and on the weekend they trailed Junction by just six points. Both games looked to be classics in the making.
Collectively the Brookers have now lost their second halves by a total of 54 points, conceding
17 goals in the third and fourth quarters collectively in 2019 .
Could this be a sign of the young Brookers making the step up not having the engine to go the full four quarters?
Perhaps it is, but whatever the actual reason is for their second half fade outs, Brad Coller and his crew have to figure it out and fast. I’m not ruling the Brookers out of anything just yet, but they need a win and they need it now.