By Matt Fotia
The Bombers may not have featured heavily across (all) of the Division One Finals Series in 2019, but they did build themselves a nice platform to take off from in the years to come, on both the football field and the netball court. Here’s a look at their 2019 Season.
Position: 6th (5-11)
For : 1093 points (Ranked 6th)
Against : 1406 (6th)
Leading Goal Kicker : Jake Pedder (40 Goals)
Best and Fairest : N/A
The Good : The Bombers have plenty of young up and comers on their list and a good crop coming through via the under 18’s as well, with that side making it through to the second week of the finals.
Players such as Rogan Goonan, who finished up in the Division One Team of the Year with 26 goals to go along with his best afield performance in the under 18 interleague side against Bendigo earlier in the season, Jake Pedder, who won the league goal kicking (40 goals) with another impressive season as a mid sized target, and Steve Kapahnke who finished the year strong as opportunities came his way due to mid season departures, are players that can become the core of a strong Bombers side for years to come.
The Bad : Emerald’s start to the year would be something they’ll regret, with their finals hopes dashed pretty early in the season. The round one loss to Pakenham, whilst large, was nothing to really worry about, but their defeat at the hands of the Belgrave the next week is one they should rue.
At 1-1 the Bombers would’ve had some momentum heading into the next fortnight which saw them take on Mount Evelyn and Monbulk. In reality they had to wait until round five to snare their first win and get the year rolling, when they pumped Warburton Millgrove, but by then they were too far behind the eight ball.
They need : Some experience.
As mentioned above Emerald have plenty of talented youth on their list, along with numbers coming through via their under 18’s and a fairly strong junior program. Add onto this a well thought of coach in Jamie Marshall and it’s looking promising.
If they can add some experience and steel across the lines we might see a promising side turn into a genuine finalist. They’ve already started this move with Nick Lang returning to the club. Their location opens them up to possibly recruiting players from the South East and the Valley as well. Add a couple more like Lang and the Bombers could be ready for take off in 2020.
They Need : A bit of everything. Emerald have good netballers on their lists, but need some really good players to make the jump up the ladder, such is the strength of the Division One netball competition.
They’ve already started adding some of these players to their list with the likes of Tayla Shannon, Kaylah Loulanting and Kaela Hughes all signing on for 2020. All three of those girls have VNL experience.
Grade : D+
Emerald weren’t tipped to pull up trees on the netball court this season but would’ve wanted more than just the one win. However, with a skilful coach and a few signings already on board, watch this space in 2020.