It’s been a month or so of the Outer East on the field and we continue to take learnings from every game that is played and whilst this weekend we look to build towards growing the stature of the league around the whole of Victoria we can still review the week that was, so without further ado here is this weekends Football Review.
1 – Blessed Bye
There are plenty of positives about Interleague. The ability to challenge ourselves as a competition against others from around the state, opportunities to put players on the big stage who otherwise may not get the opportunity and of course the biggest plus is the new relationships that can be made by mixing together week to week rivals in one team and putting them on a bus to Bendigo.
The other positive for all those in club land is the chance to reset, revaluate, regroup and in some cases a chance to rehab some injured players that the Interleague bye offers.
The make up of this season has of course meant that every clubs expectations came with a grain of salt. After just four rounds a few clubs would be going better than expected and a few may look worse for wear. But this week is a great opportunity to regroup, redefine goals / processes and build towards the 25th of May.
Olinda Ferny Creek will continue to improve as they have players return from injury. They also have the added bonus of the round five bye which means they have a two weeks to get their full strength team on the park for a round six clash with Beaconsfield, one they’ll be looking forward to.
Wandin will no doubt use this week to figure out what is holding them back on the bigger grounds as it cannot be a question of talent, the Dogs have plenty of that. Nick Adam and his coaching staff are quality football minds and should be able to identify the issue and use the next fortnight or so to develop a way around it. They’ll have a further month or so to fine tune it after that.
Other Clubs such as Beaconsfield and Belgrave will look at where they are really at. Both sides sit 1-3 but have performed better than their record suggests. The Eagles were so close to giving Berwick their first defeat of the season and haven’t lost a game by more than two goals.
The Magpies have impressed each weekend and if things had gone more to plan they could easily be 3-1 or even 4-0, but most definitely should be 2-2. Both teams need to figure out whats the missing piece of the puzzle.
The Bye can be a blessing as long as you use your time wisely.
2 – Brilliant Bulkers, Perfect Pakenham and Revived Roos
The only problem with the bye is that we have to wait an extra week for the Division One top of the table clash between Monbulk and Pakenham. At this stage it will be the first game played at the new and improved Monbulk facility and will be the first test of Pakenham’s ability to play on a smaller ground.
Thus far the Lions have been familiar with their surroundings with three home games and an away game at Doveton, and they’ve relished the familiarity. This weekend they put Mount Evelyn to the sword in their own unique way allowing the Rovers just eight scoring shots in the first three quarters and of which only one was a goal.
Their defensive structure and freedom of movement will need to be adjusted if they’re to continue their winning ways against the Hawks of course.
The Hawks are improving each week, with this weekends win over Emerald seeing them have 32 scoring shots with Glenn Strachan kicking five majors. If they had kicked straight this season they’d be far and away the highest scorers this season. Not once this year have they kicked more goals than behinds.
They’ll apply some real physical pressure on the Lions ball carriers and will definitely be a force to reckon with through the middle. Plus they’ve already showed they can win in unfamiliar territory – it’s now up to Pakenham to prove they can do the same.
Special mention must go out to the Officer who have copped a fair beating in this column. The Kangaroos had left a lot to be desired in the opening three rounds, but reminded us that they’re a very good football side. Brent Moloney kicked four majors and Tyler Clark continued his really good start to the season with two goals and another appearance in the best players.
The Roos may have revived their season in the nick of time with winnable games against Belgrave (Home) and Mount Evelyn (Home) in the weeks after the bye.
3. Kings of the Lake
Kinglake have vanquished yet another opponent.
The Lakers were expected to improve in 2019 with a host of recruits coming across with new coach Andrew Fairchild, but they might have shot themselves right into the premiership discussion after the opening month of football.
They dismantled Gembrook-Cockatoo in the second half of their round one clash away from home before they mauled Yea on Anzac Day by over 200 points, but this weekends win over Yarra Glen has showed that they really mean business.
Led by Mason McAllister who kicked four goals in a best on ground performance, the Lakers did their work early leading by three goals at the first change, before the game entered into an arm wrestle, Kinglake kicking 9.6 to 8.8 after the first break.
Despite suggesting that his side will be playing a more ‘tempo’ style in 2019, Andrew Fairchild’s team are the number one attacking force in the division averaging 102.3 points per game.
Yes they’ve played Yea and that has helped that particular stat, but they’ve also kicked 27 goals against two sides who were amongst the contenders for the Division Two flags in Gembrook Cockatoo (Kinglake 14.10) and Yarra Glen (Kinglake 13.7).
Look further ahead and should the Lakers maintain their current level of performance you would expect them to be undefeated at the conclusion of round seven. It’ll be then, when they face Yarra Junction and Seville away from home in consecutive weeks that we will find out how real their premiership challenge is.
In the meantime however the Lakers fans should enjoy the 2019 edition of their side in all it’s (early season) glory.