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.

EFL: Croydon ready to dish out the blues in 2015

Croydon players go in for the ball against North Ringwood (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Croydon players go in for the ball against North Ringwood (photo: Davis Harrigan)

(first seen HERE on the EFL website)

In season 2014, coach Paul Newlands wanted his Croydon men to go all the way to the Grand Final.  They started off in fine style, with seven straight wins, each one of them bigger and better.

Having had time to build up a platform to go big was key to the approach last year for the club, says Newlands. 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.
Continue reading

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: 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

EFL: Rowville Hawks fly high at Panther Pit

Rowville and Blackburn go head to head at Morton Park (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Rowville and Blackburn go head to head at Morton Park (photo: Davis Harrigan)

In what turned out to be an exciting contest between two high quality teams, Rowville penetrated Blackburn’s defence when it mattered to secure a 9.14 (68) to 10.20 (80) win over the Panthers at Morton Park.

Sunny skies greeted both sides after early overcast clouds.  Matthew Robinson kicked four goals in a forward line performance that gave Rowville the edge in the second half, but the tale of the first half was the polar opposite. Continue reading

EFL: Norwood taking flight

Leigh Williams pulls in the contested Mark from Blackburn's Michael Locco (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Leigh Williams pulls in the contested Mark from Blackburn‘s Michael Locco (photo: Davis Harrigan)

The purple army at Mullum Reserve could not be flying any higher over Division One right now.

Norwood Football Club are doing everything right, and not much wrong in season 2014.  They started their campaign off with a bang, defeating East Ringwood away by 42 points, before returning home and hurting Vermont to the tune of 56 points.
Continue reading

EFL: Croydon with all the momentum in Division 2

Brendan Weinert dodges three Doncaster players (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Brendan Weinert dodges three Doncaster players (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Having had the bye this week, Croydon are not only playing hard, they’re playing to win.

The benchmark has undoubtedly been set by Croydon.  Sitting 6-0 with the bye this weekend, every other side in Division Two is simply playing catch-up. Continue reading

EFL: Mulgrave fight for victory till the bitter end

 

Clash of bodies between Doncaster East (L) and Mulgrave (R) at Zerbes Reserve (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Clash of bodies between Doncaster East (L) and Mulgrave (R) at Zerbes Reserve (photo: Davis Harrigan)

Eastern Football League, Division 2

In slippery and testing conditions at Zerbes Reserve on Saturday, the Mulgrave Lions pulled off a gritty and last-gasp win against Doncaster East, 9.15.69 to 10.8.68. Continue reading