By Matt Fotia
Powelltown Football Netball Club celebrated its 100th year in 2019 and for a brief few weeks in September, they threatened to pull off a fairytale finish.
Here’s a review of their 2019.
Position : 5th (9-7) & Preliminary Final
For : 1488 (Rank #6)
Against : 1111 (#4)
Leading Goal Kicker : Dean Roy (60)
Best and Fairest : Rhys Johnson
What went well : Powelltown had their backs to the wall following their second tight loss to Gembrook-Cockatoo, which saw them needing a near perfect finish to the season to make the finals. Rather than melt under the pressure, the Demons experienced list completed their task with aplomb, defeating Alexandra, Kinglake, Yarra Glen and Yea to lock in their September spot.
Once again they were faced with a tough task, with their older list predicted to bow out due to Gembrook-Cockatoo’s superior leg power, then once they were vanquished, Kinglake’s firepower was meant to be too much.
Finally when they proved everyone wrong again they were expected to be on the end of a hammering by Yarra Junction.
But with likes of, Rhys Johnson, Dean Roy, Tom Stokes, James Rohan and Coach James Iacono, along with the belief of a community behind them, Powelltown managed to push Yarra Junction all the way, almost pinching a spot in the decider, with the names above hitting another gear comes finals time.
What went wrong : Whilst their glorious finish to the year was truly something to admire, the fact that they required a perfect finish to the year came down to the fact they have a severe lack of depth.
The Demons Reserves side finished equal with Yea in 7th with a 3-13 record, making Powelltown one of just two sides in the whole of the AFL Outer East to make the finals without their Reserves also featuring in the finals, with Woori Yallock joining them in that particular group, after their Reserves failed to reach the Premier Division finals.
The Demons best 22 was arguably the closest to matching the premier in Seville. But unfortunately for Powelltown faithful, if you scratched beneath the surface, there wasn’t much behind it.
What they need : It is hard for Powelltown, with no direct link to any junior club of their own, to have a strong and consistent production line of players to continue coming through the club and provide it with long term stability.
Therefore the focus of Powelltown’s recruiting should be around bringing in some more youth, who have the ability to play in the Powelltown jumper for a long period of time, and carry on this momentum.
These players don’t need to be world beaters either, they just need to strengthen their Reserves and bottom end of the Senior side.
Grade – A
Powelltown weren’t mentioned for the flag at all throughout the pre-season or the season, and until literally a fortnight before the completion of the Home and Away season they were rarely mentioned for finals.
The Demons went above and beyond in 2019.
Position : 6th (5-9)
For : 587 (#6th)
Against : 667 (#5th)
Leading Goal Scorer : Samantha Hansen (389)
Best and Fairest : Maddalyn Beet
What went well : Both ends of the netball court are sorted for the Demons.
Samantha Hansen had a very strong season in the goal circle for Powelltown, shooting 389 of their 587 goals at 27.8 a game in 2019. She finished the season as the fourth best shooter in a strong goal shooting division, with the three shooters who surpassed her all totalling over 400 goals.
Meanwhile at the other end of the court, Best and Fairest winner Maddalyn Beet and Division Two Team of the Year representative Demi Barber provide consistent solidity.
It’s something that they can build a team around for the future.
What went wrong : It’s not necessarily a shocking result but Powelltown will rue missed opportunities against the three sides grouped around them on the ladder.
The Demons lost the first of its encounters against each of Yarra Glen, Yarra Junction and Alexandra, before squaring the ledger with each of them in the latter half of the year.
Just one win in those early rounds would’ve more than likely seen the Demons find themselves inside the top five come the completion of the Home and Away season, and book a place against Yarra Glen in the Elimination Final .
What they need : As mentioned above, Powelltown have strength at either end of the court, which should mean they direct their attention towards bolstering its mid court stocks, as they look to take themselves from prospective finalists, to a side that could challenge for the top three.
This is especially significant as 2020 provides a big opportunity for clubs to move up the ladder, with Seville – a consistent powerhouse in recent years – finally moving up, out of Division Two.
Grade – C+
The Demon Netballers failed to shock anyone in 2019, but they didn’t disappoint either, a passable season.