By Matt Fotia
Thanks to an impressive 2018 and a strong social media game to kick off 2019, many expected Officer FC to take out the Division One Premiership, but the Roos finished up with just the one win in September.
Meanwhile ROC NC seemed destined for the ultimate glory throughout the entire home and away season before falling flat on their face come September.
Here’s their 2019 Season Reviews.
Position : 5th (8-8) & Semi Final
For : 1480 (Ranked #1)
Against : 1035 (Ranked #4)
Leading Goal Kicker : Matthew Clarke (38)
Best and Fairest : Tyler Clark
What went well : The Roos should have some bigger crowds next year, as their style of play is a pleasure to watch and it will bring the crowds back.
Attack seemed to be on the forefront of Doug Koop’s mind (it would seem) in 2019. When moving the ball at their best the Roos are poetry in motion, with handball chains, incisive foot skills and constant movement in front of the ball, making them an absolute handful for any side on their day.
The epitome of this was their Elimination Final win over Mount Evelyn, where Officer tore the Rovers to shreds from start to finish on a blustery day at Gembrook, to run out 61 point winners.
What went wrong : For all of the beauty they possessed when on song, the thing that hurt Officer throughout the year was their inability to knock off a top three side throughout the home and away season.
They improved throughout the year, going close against Pakenham and Doveton at home and testing Monbulk on the road, but were unable to finish the job. Whilst it’s no great tragedy that they weren’t able to claim a victory against one of those three sides, if they had been able to finish the job earlier on in the home and away season, we may have seen the Roos premiership hopes treated differently on the eve of the finals, both externally and internally.
Mix some belief in with that beautiful style of football and the Roos become a genuine threat.
What they need : Officer need to add a bit of height to free up some of their current stars like Matthew Clarke and James Waldon.
Clarke had an impressive year, kicking 38 goals as the Roos deepest forward (more often than not), but is he best suited to playing that deep? No doubt Clarke has the tricks and capabilities to play as a key forward, but his skills could be better utilised further up the ground, supporting the likes of Tyler Clark and get the ball rolling for his side.
At the other end, Waldon had a good season playing as one of the last ditch defenders for the boys in Blue and White.
Notorious for his strong build, there is no doubting his ability to play on the best forwards in the division, but he does give away height. Waldon has the ability to break lines by foot as well, so a move away from the lock down role could see him blossom even further.
Grade – B
Despite the Roos being everyone’s pre-season favourite for the premiership, they were probably a couple of players short of being a real contender. Nonetheless another year in the finals, this time with a September win to savour.
Position : 1st (14-2) & Preliminary Final
For : 727 (#1)
Against : 484 (#2)
Leading Goal Shooter : Dorothea George (315)
Best and Fairest : Unknown
What went well : Pretty much 95% of the year went well for ROC, as they cruised through the 2019 Home and Away season with just two losses to their name, the best attacking numbers and the second best defensive numbers to boot, as they notched up consistent comprehensive victories on their way to the minor premiership.
What went wrong : If the Home and Away season was almost perfect, the Finals series was pretty much the opposite, as ROC managed just 46 goals across their two appearances, against Mount Evelyn and Monbulk, in a disappointing end to what loomed to be a great year for the Roo Girls.
What they need : An argument could be made that the timing of their run is all they need to fine tune.
Their best is good enough to win premierships, and they’ve got a plethora of talent coming through, as the Junior Netball results show. But a closer look at the seasons results saw the Roos wane ever so slightly in the back half of the Home and Away season, finishing it with a loss to the Pakenham Lions, meaning they lost three on the bounce to end 2019.
Could they have been burnt out?
Grade – A
In the grand scheme of things ROC lost just four games for the entire season, a pretty good record. Unfortunately for them they just happened to come at the wrong time.
They were almost perfect.