By Matt Fotia
It was a pair of contrasting seasons for the Berwick clubs in 2019, with a premiership just eluding their footballers – whilst wins eluded their A Grade netballers for the majority of the year.
Here’s the Wickers 2019 Review.
Position : 1st (14-2) & Runner Up
For : 1763 (Rank #2)
Against : 767 (#1)
Leading Goal Kicker : Harrison Money (64)
Best and Fairest : Madison Andrews
What went well : Pretty much all of the year went well for Berwick. Barring the Round One loss to Wandin and a slip up against Cranbourne later in the year, they seemed untouchable.
With a nice mixture of youthful exuberance and storied experience they played some glorious football week in, week out, moving the ball forward with power, precision and speed, whilst cutting off opposition attacks with aplomb.
They might have rubbed a few people up the wrong way this year with external ambitions, but absolutely no one can doubt their skill level.
What went wrong : It’s pretty obvious isn’t it. Grand Final Day wasn’t a great day for any Berwick Football Club supporter. It started well enough as their Under 18’s stormed home to win in extra time, but it went downhill from there.
The Reserves lost by just one point after leading for the majority of the game, and then as the weather engulfed Toomuc Reserve, Narre Warren caused a boil over to claim the inaugural AFL Outer East Premiership.
Uncharacteristically the Wickers were reliant on too few and seemed to get bullied by their Black and White rivals in the low scoring tussle.
A tough pill to swallow.
What they need : This might seem ridiculous but stick with me.
We all know that Harry Money is an absolute dynamo. But wouldn’t he be so much better with a big man taking some of the attention?
Yes Jordan Andrews played that role well throughout the year, but in the opposition’s team meeting I’d suggest more time was put into Money than Jordan Andrews.
No matter how freakish he is, its going to be hard for him to consistently compete as the key forward, with his frame. Find a big focal point who takes attention away from him and all of a sudden Money becomes even more dangerous, as he runs rings around lesser defenders.
Grade – A
So so good all year. They just picked the wrong day to have a bad one.
Position : 8th (3-13)
For : 546 (#8)
Against : 791 (#7)
Leading Goal Shooter : Emma Clarke (365)
Best and Fairest : Unknown
What went well : Despite an overall poor season in the A Grade competition, the Wickers can rest assured that they won’t be down the bottom for long, if their junior ranks are anything to go by.
The Wickers were well represented in the Junior Interleague, in the medals for the Junior Netball and seemed to be ever present on both the Premier and Division One Grand Final Days.
The future is bright for the girls in Blue and White.
What went wrong : The Wickers suffered from a lack of firepower, mainly due to the lack of support for Emma Clarke, who had quite the year in an unsuccessful outfit. Clarke netted 365 of the Wickers 546 goals in 2019, an incredible 67% of all goals.
Whilst those numbers are good for Emma, they aren’t too good for everyone else who floated through there. Attack isn’t everything, but it’s still something, and as Emma Clarke will probably attest too, you can’t do it alone.
What they need : To find someone to fill that void. Casey Demons representative Kassidy Withers is off to Belgrave in Division One, and whilst that hurts on paper, she rarely played for Berwick in 2019.
Their summer focus needs to be finding Clarke a partner, whether it comes from within the clubs current ranks, or from somewhere else, they have to find one, or they’ll be down the lower regions of ladder again in 2020.
Grade – C-
The Wickers list was never really set for finals, but regardless of that Berwick would have wanted more than just the three wins for 2019. An interesting one to keep an eye on in 2020.