By Matt Fotia
Big losses, big wins, a bag of ten and a lot of ramifications. Just another weekend of footy in the Outer East. Lets take a closer look at the fall out from the weekend and what it means heading forward.
Here’s the Footy Review.
1. Pressure Paky
Pakenham were undefeated and top of the table heading into their clash with Monbulk on the weekend.
The Lions had thus far cut sides apart with their controlled style of play, having majority of possession ensuring that their opposition are unable to score. Before Saturday no side had been able to kick more than nine goals against the Lions. On Saturday Shane Williams booted 10 himself – you can read about his magical performance here.
Monbulk implemented a very high press from the get go. Whenever the Hawks were not in possession of the football, they would settle into their 18 man zone which would cut the ground size in half. Whilst this can sometimes make them look foolish, it more often or not (when executed correctly) ends with their opponents kicking a long ball down the line to clear the danger (which is marked by their band of marking defenders) or their opponent must try to thread the needle with short kicks and handball chains.
Pakenham tried both of these options over the course of the day. Option A does clear the immediate danger, but with the small stature of the Lions outfit it usually means the ball is coming back into the danger zone.
Whenever they tried Option B they were swamped. On countless occasions Lions players were confronted by multiple Maroon and Gold jumpers charging towards them and rather than making their usual measured decisions they were forced to distribute the ball as quickly as they could. Eventually, three handballs down the chain one Lion would be hammered and the Hawks would have their hands back on the footy.
Monbulk’s pressing game is not just suited to their home ground, or the smaller surroundings, it can work anywhere if they execute it as they did on the weekend. Their zone shuts down the space and makes the ground smaller meaning there will be more space out the back of the zone, but the claustrophobic feeling they give other sides will still be achievable.
They’ve now given other sides the blue print on how to shut down Pakenham’s game style. Other sides just have to figure out how to execute it as well as the Hawks.
2. Junction Juggernaut
It was mentioned in the Weekend Preview that if Yarra Glen were to beat Yarra Junction they would need speedsters Austin Smith and Blake Binion to fire.
Smith kicked three goals off a wing to be the River Pigs best, whilst Binion also made appearance in their top six players of the day.
But the Yarra Junction Juggernaut still had enough to overcome their hosts by nine points. The Eagles have contributors all over the ground, who on their day could take a game apart. Much has been written about forwards David Johnson and Sam Morton, but left footer Tyson Wheeler is another top quality forward in his own right and without much fuss this season has 11 goals.
Midfielder Brad Clark has three goals in the last three weeks, to go with three consecutive appearances in Junction’s top three players. Cameron Hoare was named fourth best this weekend and has the ability to kick majors whilst inclusions for season 2019 – Josh Hammen and Ewan Wadsworth have been regular performers thus far. Don’t forget about the experience of John Holmes, Allan Chandler and Grand Final Best on Ground Medal Winner – Troy Armstrong.
Yarra Junction have left their Round One slip up to Powelltown well and truly in the rear vision mirror and look to be running on all cylinders. They should be able to comfortably defeat Thornton Eildon this week before a top of the table clash against Kinglake in Round Eight.
The Eagles waited 28 years to end their premiership drought. I don’t think they’ll have to wait as long for the next one.
3. Do or Die for the Doggies
It’s been a tough month for the Doggies. After the elation of their high scoring win against Berwick in Round One, the Dogs have failed to taste victory and have lost by over 90 points three weeks in a row.
WATCH | " He loves his paint brush haircut"All the extended highlights from Wandin Football and Netball Club's high scoring win over Berwick football club – bought to you by Lilydale Smash Repairs
Posted by AFL OUTER EAST 'Community Bank' Football & Netball on Tuesday, 16 April 2019
The draw has been harsh on Wandin, with it pitting them against the reigning SEFNL Premier in Round One, last seasons AFL Yarra Ranges Runner-Up Woori Yallock in Round Two before Beaconsfield, Cranbourne and Narre Warren. The latter three games all being played away from home.
There is no question about the talent on the Bulldogs list. Skipper Justin Van Unen booted seven goals on the weekend against Narre Warren and has 17 for season. Young on-baller Patrick Bruzzese has been named their best player three weeks in a row and was amongst the leagues best players in AFL Victoria Community Championships. They also have AFL experience on their list in the form of Ex Carlton and Gold Coast tall Daniel Gorringe.
The next month is massive for Wandin. They face familiar opponents in the form of Upwey-Tecoma (Home), Healesville (H) and Olinda Ferny Creek (H), with the bye (a guaranteed four points) in between the Upwey-Tecoma and Healesville clashes.
If the Dogs can produce their best football over the course of the next month it will not be surprising if they enter their Round Nine clash against Berwick with a 4-4 record(20 points with the bye). Which would put them well and truly back in the finals mix.
No one would want to play an inform Wandin in the finals, which means the month ahead isn’t just massive for the Dogs – it’s massive for the competition.