Men’s Senior Footy
Although the wins and losses columns don’t do Belgrave’s season much justice, they were able to improve upon last year according to the KPIs they set themselves as a group at the start of the season. “We set about improving some KPIs selected by the players… across the board we did that,” senior men’s coach Darren Hamilton.
Just like every club, there are few things to improve on, however their season was marred with injuries, including their main ruck tearing his ACL midway through the season and two of their new recruits doing their knee and ankle respectively, during the preseason. “Injuries certainly played a pretty big role, we were probably just a little bit off the mark as well”, claimed Hamilton.
It will be handy for Belgrave to have more players available in 2023, whilst they’re looking out for some new recruits, “Our focus will be recruiting some blokes under 24/25, they put in three good years of footy, then hopefully it all comes together.”
Another factor mentioned by Hamilton is that they have nine players over 30 and a handful of young players with little experience.
On multiple occasions Belgrave challenged their opponents, coming oh so close against Yarra Glen twice, after being ahead in both of those games. These narrow losses could also help inspire the players to push that bid harder for a few wins next year, given they know they are certainly capable.
Brad Raaymakers had a stellar year, making the Div 1 Team of the Year as fullback. Another positive to take out of their season is the fact that they were one of only two teams to score 100 against the Premiers in Gembrook Cockatoo.
In Round 16 (Belgrave’s 1000 Senior Match), Belgrave clocked up 15 goals and 10 behinds, with three players scoring three goals each, a respectable result against the team that one the flag.
With a handful of players returning from injury, a couple of new recruits and further improvement with respect to the teams appointed KPIs, Belgrave look to be an improved outfit for 2023.
The reserves also struggled and finished sixth with four wins.
After a 6-6 season, Belgrave made into the conference 2 Grand Final and went down by just one kick.
Belgrave finished fifth out of nine teams in a ladder which included two conferences, after there were two separate divisions in 2021. They did well to finish higher on the ladder then a conference 1 team in Yarra Junction.
They took care of Monbulk easily in the first round of finals, however unfortunately Monbulk had the last laugh, beating them in the conference 2 Grand Final by one goal.
Some main highlights for the season result wise were beating Thornton-Eildon by 64 in Round 14 and Monbulk by 41 in Round 10.
On a personal level, Danielle Weisgerber topped the goal kicking with 11, with Jess Walker and Nicole Baboucek just behind with eight each.
Weisgerber and Walker enjoyed brilliant seasons and were both selected in the Team of the Year, Weisgerber as the centre and Walker on the interchange bench.
After finishing last season fifth in Division 2, finishing fifth in a combined league is quite an impressive improvement.
If Belgrave improve further next year, they should be a team to look out for.
In A Grade, Belgrave finished the season in fifth position with a 5-14 record. Whilst they were only one ladder position away from playing finals, they were four wins behind the fourth placed Yarra Glen. Yarra Glen beat them twice during the season creating that gap between them and Belgrave, although Belgrave beat them in Round 4.
Belgrave managed just one win from their final ten games, after they were won four of their first nine.
They didn’t have too much trouble scoring, with approximately 38 points scored per game, however they conceded the most goals of any, conceding 982 which is on average 52 points a game.
If they can tighten up their defensive work and find a few more scores per game, they can push for finals.
Ashlee Murphy scored 351 for the season who combined well with Krystyna Gabell who scored 242.
Murphy’s brilliant season was acknowledged in Team of the Year for Division 1 as Goal Attack.
Some other standout players for the season were Annaliese Carroll, Amy Robinson who had a great year as Goal Keeper, and Georgia Donnelly.
As well as their five wins, another thing to draw positives from is pushing eventual premiers in Seville until the end in Round 15, in what was a tight contest for the most part, ultimately going down by seven, which is a fair effort.
Their B grade team finished third and bowed out in the Preliminary Final whilst their C and D grade teams didn’t make finals.
Written by Jordan Peeler