By Matt Fotia
It was a case of deja vu for the Cranbourne netballers in 2019, whilst the footballers impressed late and are one to watch in 2020.
Here’s Cranbourne’s 2019 review.
Position : 5th (8-7-1) & Semi Final
For : 1410 (Ranked 4th)
Against : (4th)
Leading Goal Kicker : Cory Ellison (24)
Best and Fairest : Shaun Marusic
What went well : The Eagles have plenty of strong midfield depth and they utilised it well throughout the season, as they rotated players through the half back, half forward and midfield all year.
Players such as Ryan Jones, best and fairest winner Shaun Marusic, Kirk Dickson, Jordan Bertrand, Luke Bee-Hugo, Anthony Vella and Thomas Marks all boast that versatility and all had strong years playing across the lines.
With so many players able to play in multiple positions on the field the Eagles were very hard to stop when on song, which was highlighted during some of their big wins throughout 2019, where they put sides to the sword with powerful, high scoring, bursts of play.
What went wrong : Other than the mini holiday that a number of players took during the middle of the season, which almost cost the Eagles their place in finals, it was Cranbourne’s defensive vulnerabilities at stoppages that hurt them frequently throughout the year.
Their numerous midfielder runners would surge through the contest, leaving their defenders open to opposition attacks, should someone get on top in the ruck on in the contested ball – i.e. Woori Yallock at Woori Yallock or Wandin at Wandin.
What they need : They need an out and out key forward to complement the youthful Ellison, and they’ve got him, with club legend Marc Holt returning to Casey Fields in 2020 after a season at Karingal. Holt will provide the Eagles with a powerful focal point and may enjoy the direct style of play that some of the smaller grounds, such as Upwey Tecoma or Wandin provide.
Grade – B+
A proud club who will no doubt want to go deeper into the season then they did, but with the list of outs they had at the start of the year, it was still quite the achievement.
Position : 3rd (11-5) & Runner Up
For : 708 (4th)
Against : 553 (2nd)
Leading Goal Scorer : Tahlia Coates (397)
Best and Fairest : Tara Cecil
What went well : Cranbourne finished the home and away season two games short of second placed Beaconsfield, and just percentage ahead of Woori Yallock. But as they did in 2018, the Eagle girls rose to the occasion throughout September, firing at the right time of year to find themselves in the the Grand Final, where they pushed the seemingly (and genuinely) unbeatable Olinda Ferny Creek girls right to the line.
Donna Wilson should be proud of her sides big game ability.
What went wrong : Not much genuinely went wrong for the Eagles in 2019.
Other than two losses to Narre Warren which almost saw them finish in the elimination finals spots, they performed to their ability, before going above and beyond in the finals, as per the paragraph above.
Perhaps that inability to be ruthless throughout the season and lock up the double chance meant they were unable to experiment with their game style throughout the year, which may have helped them unlock the unlock-able case of defeating Olinda Ferny Creek.
That could be a long bow though.
What they need : To go to that next level (after consecutive losing grand finals), Cranbourne need to add some more firepower to their attack, either in the goal circle, or throughout the mid-court.
With superstar defender Tara Cecil holding fort down back there is no doubt that Cranbourne can contain any side. But to win premierships you have to be able to put a score on the board too.
Grade – A
Strong finish to the year, getting so close, but they will be sick of coming second and will come even harder in 2020.