By Matt Fotia
It wasn’t the start to the season that Emerald had originally planned for, but after a big win over Warburton Millgrove the Bombers are ready for take off in season 2019.
Emerald broke their duck convincingly, smashing the Burras by 98 points 18.18(126) to 4.4(28) with Kieran Burns booting five goals, whilst young up and comer Rogan Goonan kicked three majors carrying on his good form from the AFL Outer East Under 18 Interleague Clash a fortnight ago, where he was named the leagues best afield.
Emerald came into the season like everyone else, having no idea where they would sit in the Division One pecking order. After a Round One drubbing at the hands of Pakenham the Bombers have been improving each week according to Football Manager John Rich, but weren’t able to string four quarters together until Saturday.
“We just weren’t good enough for long enough, but the improvement has been steadily building and Saturday was the day – the boys killed the game off in the first half.”
The Bombers inability to put four quarters together prior to Saturday is a combination of a few factors, most notably players taking time to get back into the swing of football. Emerald recruited a number of players who hadn’t played the game for one to two years due to travel, attempts of going professional in other sports and injuries.
Injuries are also affecting the Bombers in 2019, with two to three members of their best 22 still missing in action. They can add another to that list for this weekends clash with fourth placed Doveton, after midfielder Ty Ellison received a concussion on the weekend.
Ellison has been one of the Bombers best this season appearing in the best players each week and despite being given the all clear from a CT Scan, he is expected to miss a week of football.
Ellison was named as Emerald’s best online, but missed out on the ‘Kade Simpson Medal’ which was given to forward Jake Pedder. Pedder kicked four goals on the weekend, bringing his tally to 12 for the season, and Rich says his determination is something to be admired.
“Jake’s last two weeks have been really good and it’s been helped by the fact that we’ve got Jarrad Donders back – who plays a lead up presenting forward role,”
“Jake’s just a great competitor and that showed on the weekend – he didn’t lose a contest all day and has really stepped up his whole game this year.”
Despite the poor start to the season as a club on field, Rich says the vibe around the club has been superb and expects everything to improve very quickly.
“There’s been a great feel around the club even though we haven’t been winning – footy and netball – we could’ve dropped our heads, but the feel around the place has been really good,”
“With a win under our belts now, who knows what could happen.”