It’s only round three but there is already plenty happening across the AFL Outer East. Clubs are having to reshuffle, reevaluate and in some cases restart after the first two weeks of the season. Here’s the weekend preview of the upcoming action.
One club that may be exceeding the expectations of many is the Upwey-Tecoma Tigers. The senior men have started the season with two convincing wins over an undermanned Olinda Ferny Creek and Healesville scoring 201 points in the process. This weekends clash with Narre Warren at the Pies nest is a big test to see where the Tigers really sit. These clubs will know a little bit about each other considering they often played practice matches prior to the days of the Outer East.
Both sides have an in form forward with both Daniel Jackson (NW) and Daniel Waters (UT) having kicked 10 goals in the past fortnight whilst Nathan Foote and Dylan Quirk will be stiff midfield competition for the likes of Bell, Oates and Glenn Costas who have started the year so well for Upwey. A key factor in this game will be the ruck battle, Narre Warren can be undersized at stages with Lachlan Benson having to operate as a second ruckman at this current stage, whilst their opponents have a nice duo with Beacom and O’Brien combining nicely, with Beacom in particular starting 2019 very well.
Woori Yallock and Cranbourne will both head into this weekends clash still not knowing what to expect from themselves, let alone their opponents, having both only played one game apiece. The Eagles came from behind against Beaconsfield in round one but were incredibly well structured after quarter time allowing just four goals after the first break. Woori Yallock were equally impressive in defence after they completely shutdown Wandin recruit Daniel Gorringe via some increased physicality in last weekends win over the Dogs.
Expect their defence to be even better this weekend as Robbie Allen will no doubt be better for the run – rumour has it the Tiger star had only just got off an international flight the morning of the game.
Both sides were not overly reliant on one forward in their respective victories, with Ben Monkhorst (WY), Jake Matthews (WY) and Kyle Nunn (Cran) kicking three apiece for their sides. Woori had seven goal kickers against Wandin, whilst Cranbourne had eight against Beaconsfield. This game is showing all the signs of being hotly contested and most important tight affair.
It also shapes up as a ripper on the netball court. Cranbourne will be bitterly disappointed with their game against Beaconsfield where they completely crumbled after the first break conceding 43 goals in the final three quarters. They’ll need to be on their game defensively this weekend as Woori’s goalers – Madeline Hargrave and Mia Sudomirski – are coming off a strong performance against Wandin. Both girls were able to shoot 30+ goals in the Tigers win and seem to be on the same wavelength.
The Tigers will need to watch their defensive end though, they conceded eight goals minimum per quarter against the Dogs (16,8,11,14). Whoever’s defence brings their A game probably takes the chocolates.
Division One Netball is headlined by Belgrave and Warburton Millgrove’s clash. Both sides had simple wins in round two against Emerald and Doveton respectively and have also got similar offensive records with over 90 goals over the first two rounds. Naomi Hargreaves (47) and Ellen Anthony (31) headline the attack for the Magpies, whilst playing coach Bianca Daniels (55) and Kirralee Liuyf (37) are consistent for the Burras.
Belgrave’s defence have been the tightest so far in 2019 (62 conceded) but this could be attributed to the lack of attacking power of their opponents thus far. Monbulk (avg 27.5) and Emerald (30) are the two lowest scoring sides this season. We’ll have to wait to see which caused the other.
It’s 1v2 on the football field as a resurgent Doveton host Pakenham with both sides entering the match with unblemished records. Pakenham have been fabulous in their two home fixtures, completely controlling the play. Thus far this season they’ve allowed just 20 (scoring) shots on goal and on Anzac Day against Officer the Roos were kept goalless in the first term and had just four shots on goal to the half.
Anzac Day medallist Dermott Yawney, Chris Cardona and Josh Tynan patrol the half back line with authority, providing an ability to intercept mark and launch attacks. They’ll come up against a different proposition this weekend with the Doveton forward line providing a lot more threat than the past fortnight. Gach Nyoun, Lachlan Batten and Sean Kelleher have all kicked a bag of 3 or more this season and the Doves have cracked the ton in both games this season. Michael Sikora has also been a massive pick up and he will look to take advantage of his extra height on Pakenham’s Baker-Thomas in the ruck.
Anzac day losers Officer are desperately in need of a win and will be very happy to be back on their home track this weekend. It was a much improved performance against the Lions on Anzac Day but the Roos still don’t seem to have any flow or cohesion with their ball movement. Opponents Monbulk have not hit their absolute best as of yet, but they have been pressuring their opponents incredibly well and hence have a 2-0 record. If the Hawks bring their pressure game again, Officer will find it even tougher to move the ball with freedom.
Tyler Clark and James Waldon have been shining lights so far for Officer both featuring in their best six in rounds one and two. For the Hawks young Lachlan Beecroft has been impressing the coach and Glenn Strachan showed his ability with a goal and appearance in the best in his first game for 2019. The Hawks will take a lot from a win on one of the big wide grounds of the South East and well, Officer will just take a win.
Another side that will take a win anyway it can get one is Gembrook-Cockatoo who sunk to an 0-2 start after losses to Kinglake and Yarra Junction. The Brookers have conceded 217 points in two games and their opponents Alexandra are coming off a high scoring victory over an improving Thornton Eildon. The Rebels had bags of five for Brayden Norris and Scott Heveren and a handful of four for Christopher McKay.
The Brookers best is obviously good enough as both games they have been able to match it with their opponent but they really need a four quarter performance across the whole ground. For the Rebels this is a great opportunity to showcase that they’re ready to make the step up in the division this season as coach Sam Kidd alluded to during the pre-season.
On Sunday Yarra Glen host Seville in the sixth edition of the Yarra Valley Pride Cup and whilst the game plays second fiddle to the entire event there is still plenty on the line. Yarra Glen have never lost a Pride Cup game and quite obviously rise to the occasion each year, but this season their opponents are running red hot with two wins over Yea and Powelltown.
The Blues have found a pair of goal kickers with Patrick Ratray (12 goals) and Cory Glass (6) to form an impressive trio with Nathan O’Keefe, but coach Kane Shore will no doubt be more impressed by his side’s defensive effort against Powelltown, restricting the Demons to just 18 shots on goal last weekend, down from 25 against reigning premier Yarra Junction in round one. Meanwhile the River Pigs will no doubt rise for the occasion once again, but they wont have a read on where they are at just yet with their match against Thornton Eildon back on the 13th of April their only competitive hit out. The Blues will go 3-0 if they spoil the party and face Thornton Eildon in round four, whilst the River Pigs take on an inform Kinglake next weekend and will need the momentmum after last weekends bye.
There will be plenty to play for on the netball court as well with this clash against Seville a great chance for Yarra Glen to once again pull up a chair at the big girl table in Division Two as new coach Alicia Mortley outlined in our pre-season preview. Seville are back on track after an impressive win over Powelltown and will have the advantage of match sharpness over Yarra Glen who have not thrown a ball in anger in 2019 due to Thornton Eildon not having an A grade side.
Seville’s round one destroyers Yea will take on another would be challenger this weekend when they host Yarra Junction. The Eagles have started 2019 well with high scoring wins over Powelltown and Gembrook-Cockatoo, Amanda Finn netting 77 goals in the process. It’ll be a different proposition this weekend of course and Yea seem to have the Eagles measure. In 2018 they played on two occasions and the Tigers won by 45 goals (round 3) and 39 goals (round 12).