By: Matt Fotia
Footy is now officially back as we welcomed our first instalment of winter weather over the weekend with some rain, hail, wind and at some points of course, a spattering of sunshine – we do live in Melbourne remember.
The weather gave us a good look at who can handle it in the cold depths of winter and who might enjoy the sunny times of autumn and spring a bit more. Here’s five things we learnt from the weekend…
The Rams are loving it!
East Burwood claimed its first back-to-back victories since 2012 with a fighting win over Glen Waverley Hawks on Saturday. Adrian Gileno snagged five whilst Max Wills kicked four in the elements at Central Reserve.
Coach Stuart Wynd has not only revitalised the playing list with a number of recruits from around the competition, but also the club culture with the Rams faithful turning up in more and more numbers with the wins increasing. I’d expect East Burwood Reserve to have a few more rolling through the gates on a Thursday and Saturday night in season 2018.
Is Lilydale the real deal?
Division 2 saw a massive shock as Bayswater were absolutely battered by the Falcons. It’s not the actual result that sent shockwaves through Division 2, but the 67-point margin, as Lachlan Koger nailed five majors and ruckman Beau Mitchener ran away with best on ground honours.
Coach Ben Neagle was quietly confident during pre-season about his side’s development, but not even he could’ve expected a performance like this so early in the year. They won’t be flying under the radar from now on and with a wounded Mitcham outfit awaiting them in Round 3, the Dales should be sitting pretty at 3-0 this time next week. Not a bad time to find yourself around the bar at the LSO.
East Ringwood will be fine.
The Roos ran a much-improved North Ringwood down to the wire in last weekend’s local derby before backing it up again against a much fancied Norwood outfit, going down by just two points in a nail-biter out at Mullum Mullum.
Despite being 0-2 in the early stages of the season, East has shown more than enough to suggest that it’ll be doing more than okay in season 2018.
Panic stations in Division 3.
It might only be Round 2 and it may have played two of the stronger sides in the competition but Chirnside Park will be feeling the pinch down the bottom of the Division 3 ladder.
It went down to Scoresby by 119 points in Round 1 in front of its home support before Ferntree Gully ran away with it on Saturday to the tune of 34 points in trying conditions.
The Panthers have scored just 85 points in eight quarters of football thus far and seem to be hurting after the loss of Michael King.
The Panthers welcome South Belgrave this weekend with both sides looking to kick start their season.
The Dockers have decided to strip their list back after so many seasons pushing for a Division 2 berth. It’s taken its toll on the folk down at Fitzsimons Lane.
They’ve been handed some big losses from the top two thus far and like the Panthers they’ll be looking to get a much-needed four points against Donvale this weekend at home.
Grand final preview already?
I know, I know, it’s very early to be calling something like this but we could be looking at a grand final preview in Division 3 this weekend with the Battle of the Birds between first-placed Scoresby and second-placed Boronia out at Scoresby Recreation Reserve.
The Magpies were the talk of the town during the summer months and haven’t missed a beat thus far with two fairly comfortable wins, whilst the Hawks have been just as good without so much of the hype.
Both sides have been tight in defence letting through just 75 points apiece, showing their true dominance so far this year. Both sides have plenty of match winners and solid coaching structures to back it all up and look like being the real deal already in 2018.
The wide open spaces of the Recreation Reserve and hopefully some better weather could see an absolute thigh-rubber of a clash this weekend in Division 3 between two of this season’s contenders.
All views expressed in this article remain those of the author and not of the Eastern Football League or its affiliated clubs.