By Matt Fotia
What a year for the Magpies, as they scooped up the Reserves and Senior football premierships and were strong across all netball grades on their way to winning the ‘Champion Club’ award for 2019.
Take a closer look at their year here.
Position : 2nd (13-3) & Premiers
For : 1942 (Ranked #1)
Against : 1001 (Ranked #3)
Leading Goal Kicker : Daniel Jackson (51)
Best and Fairest : Nathan Foote
What went well : Grand Final day went absolutely to plan for the Magpies. Their seconds were able to steal victory from the jaws of defeat with a late behind, before they wrapped up the main game against a much fancied Berwick side.
It wasn’t just the fact they were finally able to knock off the Wickers in 2019, but the way everything came together.
Nathan Foote had played the majority of the season as an option moving forwards, whether it be through the middle, out on the wing or off the half back flank. But on Grand Final day he was utilised on Berwick’s live-wire forward Harrison Money in a lock down role. Such was his performance Foote was awarded the medal for Best on Ground.
Trent Cody, known for his gut running and foot skills through the middle of the ground, was also used in a different role, spending a fair chunk of the game as one of the Magpies deepest forwards, kicking two very important goals, backing up from four goals the week before against Beaconsfield.
But most notably was the manner in which the young Magpies bullied their older opponents. Rather then shrink to their (Berwick’s) reputation and recent form against them, Narre Warren puffed out their chests and dominated the contested ball and tackle count in the early stages.
It might not have been the most aesthetically pleasing Grand Finals of all time, but Narre Warren fans won’t care one little bit.
What went wrong : Only a couple of options here. Their loss to Beaconsfield back in Round 10 when a slightly undermanned Narre Warren side were over run by a Matthew Johnson inspired Beaconsfield, or the fact that their Under 18 side – who finished second on the ladder – couldn’t also find themselves a spot in the Grand Final.
If they’re your only problems, you’re going alright.
What they need : One thing that the Magpies will look to top up on is height. They were on the look out for a ruckman throughout the pre-season, and in the end they managed to win the competition with the under-sized but ultra athletic Lachlan Benson and Jake Richardson going through there.
Both players could be better utilised elsewhere, with Richardson a prime prospect in a key defensive role and Benson with all the attributes required to become a dynamic third tall down forward.
Find a ruckman and they’ll go to another level in 2020.
Grade – A+
Two premierships and a preliminary final between their three sides. That’s fairly handy.
Position : 5th (9-7) & Elimination Final
For : 771 (#4)
Against : 697 (#4)
Leading Goal Shooter : Chloe Phillips (315)
Best and Fairest : Unknown
What went well : Narre Warren play a very enjoyable style of netball. With a strong mid court, depth of goalers and talented defenders the Magpies play forward thinking netball and that shows in their goals scored tally.
Most of their victories came off the back of scoring 50 plus goals, with their best performance of the year coming against eventual runners up Cranbourne in Round 16 as they blew the Eagles out of the water in the first half, with 34 goals to 17.
Scintillating at their best
What went wrong : Narre would’ve been disappointed at their failure to knock off Woori Yallock throughout the season. They lost back in Round Eight (63-56), in Round 17 (51-35) and in the Elimination Final (46-41).
Whilst on the bare facts it would just seem that Woori Yallock had the Magpies measure, Narre Warren will still feel it was a missed opportunity.
The Magpies know they can score, and will also know that the Tigers defence was their downfall. Their inability to slow down the Tigers attack and get caught in a shoot out will be something that irks at them over this coming pre-season.
What they need : Chloe Phillips was the leading goal shooter for Narre Warren this season with 315 goals from 15 games, at an average of 21 goals a game. She averaged less than all of the top six goal shooters in the Premier Division (bar Tahlia Coates of Cranbourne) and whilst the Magpies attack was one of the better ones in the division across the court, they would’ve benefited from a ruthless spearhead.
Something to find in the coming months.
Grade – B+
A strong season, across all sides, not just the A grade outfit. Expect them to challenge next season.