EFL: Fevola spectacle hits Donvale, but fast-finishing Glen Waverley too good

Glen Waverley ducks away from a Donvale tackle (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Glen Waverley ducks away from a Donvale tackle (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Division Four of the Eastern Football League was well and truly alive at Donvale Reserve on Saturday.  Brendan Fevola was the star attraction, pulling on a Magpies jumper, but the Glen Waverley Hawks spoiled the party by winning their sixth game in a row.

The former Carlton and Brisbane full-forward kicked six goals of Donvale’s total of 12.3.75, not enough to overcome the Hawks five goal last quarter, their 14.16.100 final scoreline giving the visitors a lot to cheer about.

Tim Pape opened the scoring, and the flurry of early Hawks chances inside 50 meant opportunities came but weren’t converted.  Captain Jesse Dunn missed to put the Hawks further up, and Donvale capitalised by sending it to Fevola in the square, who duly converted.

Akin to a seesaw, the game was never blown open by either side.  Jeremy Grocott was superb crumbing the ball, while Matt Leardi worked diligently to create space for Donvale.

Critically, Donvale’s strength at the contests allowed them to win the contested ball more often than not; however, turnovers gifted chances to the Hawks, who took a 19 point lead into the quarter time break.

That margin threatened to break out beyond 30 points and stay there for the remainder of the game, but missed opportunities in front of goal meant Donvale went into the main break just 15 points behind.  Jack Dunn, Ryan Goold and Adam Amin all kicked their games up a gear.  The Hawks better ball control didn’t go unnoticed, but the Magpies continually pestered.  Strong lead-ups from Leardi, Adam Woods and Fevola ensured Donvale stayed competitive on the scoreboard.

As far as the weather was concerned, a dry football meant fast paced movement through the middle, which Glen Waverley executed far better after half time.  The Hawks 4-2 lead on inside 50’s early in the third term was continually marred by missed chances, and the Donvale defence hard on the aggressive spoils.

Donvale’s third-term goals all came from the boot of Fevola, who earlier in the day snapped an around-the-body kick that snuck home, much to the delight of the strong crowd.

On-field decisions made by the umpires gave whoever was the benefactor yet another chance to go further in front.  However, a Donvale turnover lead to a goal for Luke Broad, and the Hawks began to expose the heavy targeting of Fevola deep in the Magpies attacking 50.

Hawks coach Ryan Flack emphasised at three-quarter time to his players to not get caught up by the hype of the crowd and the support for Fevola; that teammates helping teammates and the knowledge the players could run out the four quarters and finish on top would be enough of a driver for Glen Waverley to get up.

Brendan Fevola snares a mark in the forward 50 (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Brendan Fevola snares a mark in the forward 50 (photo: Davis Harrigan)

The flurry from Donvale came in a hurry, with Fevola, Grocott and Adam Woods all attacking the scoreboard.  Glen Waverley rallied as a team in the second half of the last quarter, quelling delivery into Donvale’s forward 50 and sending it quicksmart up the wing or through the centre corridor.

Amin, Goold, Josh McInerney and Gavin Cruse were instrumental ball winners, as a five goal salvo was enough to seal the deal and give the Hawks a win and a percentage boost to above 100 after nine rounds.

Competitiveness has been one of Donvale’s key victories after re-entering the Eastern Football League this season.  Despite a loss at home, the three-quarter effort in which they kept pace with Glen Waverley is along the lines of the five year plan hinted at by Coach Angelo Lamana, who wants to be out of Division Four by that time.

While Fevola may not have snaffled the four points for Donvale, he was well admired by the crowd, and appreciated by all of those affiliated with the club, as they re-stock and work towards a new era.

Now at the halfway point of the season, Glen Waverley is well poised to attack the top three of Warrandyte, Coldstream and Forest Hill, but will need to rapidly improve their percentage.  Donvale travel to Nunawading next week, who fell to the Eastern Lions.  The Hawks travel to Warrandyte to meet the wall of the Bloods, who sit well clear on the top of the ladder.

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EFL: Pressure and structure key for Bayswater win over Wantirna South

Wantirna South stopped in their tracks by Bayswater (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Wantirna South stopped in their tracks by Bayswater (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Bayswater secured a top four spot against the promoted Wantirna South Devils at home leading into the Queen’s Birthday weekend bye, taking home the four points with a 16.10.106 to 8.6.54 win.

Much of the scoring was thanks to Bayswater’s power forward Wayne McInerney (six majors), but the credit went to the delivery across the ground, with more than 60 tackles laid. Continue reading

EFL: New look, new Lions

Doncaster East lines up for ANZAC DAY (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Doncaster East lines up for ANZAC DAY (photo: Davis Harrigan)

“We’re a work in progress,” says Doncaster East Lions coach Steve Buckle, into his second year at the helm of the club.

After four rounds, and heading into a match against Scoresby this week, the Lions sit in a chase pack behind ladder leaders Croydon.  A spate of new recruits have brought youth into the side, and Buckle says the re-appointment as head coach is allowing him to understand the players and club strategies to a deeper degree. Continue reading

Sharp Sharks put Pioneers to the test

The chase is on from Whitehorse as Park Orchards close in (photo: Davis Harrigan)

The chase is on from Whitehorse as Park Orchards close in (photo: Davis Harrigan)

The forecast morning rain never showed, allowing Springfield Park to play host to a dry but soft surface, as the Whitehorse Pioneers fell at a hurdle from the ruthless Park Orchards Sharks, and going down 12.10 (82) to 17.19 (121).

The scoreboard, however, belied the seven goal blitz slammed on by the Pioneers into the wind in the opening term.
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EFL: North Ringwood go two from two at the Panther Pit

Max Otten (Blackburn) is pressured by his North Ringwood opponent (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Max Otten (Blackburn) is pressured by his North Ringwood opponent (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Determined to prove to the 11 unfamiliar Division One teams that they were no slouches, North Ringwood pulled out a memorable victory to send Blackburn home winless after the first two rounds of season 2015.

Yet the final scoreline of 9.13.67 to 6.13.49 belied what went on for 95 percent of the game.  The seesawing first quarter, which saw just four goals, was a scrap of a game, with ball handling errors and relentless pressure from the Panthers and Saints.  Sam Banfield opened the Blackburn account, and it only took an additional two minutes before Nick Murphy’s booming left foot slotted one through for North Ringwood. Continue reading

EFL: Hungry Norwood sends Tigers running

Norwood players fend off a Balwyn attack at Bayswater (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Norwood players fend off a Balwyn attack at Bayswater (photo: Davis Harrigan)

In the biggest game of Eastern Football League action for the year, Norwood came out looking confident from the first bounce.

On a day where thousands from around the community, along with club supporters, media and players flocked to Bayswater Oval, the Wooders put on a spectacle, winning 14.16.100 to Balwyn’s 7.7.49.

After the traditional grand final pleasantries, including the presentation of the match ball, flown in by the Channel Nine News helicopter, Norwood took charge and never let up.
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My year with the EFL

Park Orchards and Silvan battle it out in the Div 4 Grand Final (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Park Orchards and Silvan battle it out in the Div 4 Grand Final (photo: Davis Harrigan)

You might have seen quite the inundation of local footy posts on my blog this year; that’s because of my volunteer work with the Eastern Football League this season.

Having spent 2012 & 2013 building up something of a profile with AFL Victoria and covering state football, in many ways, a move to different pastures felt right. Continue reading

EFL: Tigers roar into semis after gallant fightback

Blackburn is chased down by Balwyn in their 22 point loss at Ringwood (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Blackburn is chased down by Balwyn in their 22 point loss at Ringwood (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Finals footy brings out the physicality, and at the spacious Jubilee Park on Sunday, Balwyn and Blackburn brought just that; tough, possession footy interspersed with plenty of fire.

Balwyn’s eventual 11.8.74 to 7.10.52 victory was one of true fight, having been completely stunned by the Burners early aggression and bone-crunching tackles.  Heath O’Farrell and Jake Hammond hammered home three goals before the Tigers even had a look in, but with it came same heated exchanges and push-and-shove tactics from both sides. Continue reading

EFL: Vermont’s winning charge extends to finals

Vermont's Justin Van Unen grabs for the ball as his Montrose opponent slips (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Vermont’s Justin Van Unen grabs for the ball as his Montrose opponent slips (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Finals footy does not get any better than warm sun, no wind and a huge crowd.

Vermont took on Montrose at Bayswater Oval on Saturday in the Division One qualifying final, and came away victorious, 16.7.103 to 13.9.87.  It was a dominant second and third quarter display that allowed the Eagles to seal the game by three quarter time, despite an extremely spirited effort from Montrose late in the fourth quarter. Continue reading

EFL: Division One Finals Teams preview

Justin Van Unen of Vermont soccers one through against Balwyn (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Justin Van Unen of Vermont soccers one through against Balwyn (photo: Davis Harrigan)

The Eastern Football League Division One and Two Choose Tap finals series kick off this coming weekend, and the top grade is packed with quality teams.

Norwood, Vermont, Montrose, Blackburn and Balwyn have all made it through.  The Wooders get the first week off and go straight through to a semi-final berth, while Vermont and Montrose have the double chance in the qualifying final on Saturday, August 30. Continue reading