By Matt Fotia
A pair of third place finishes were what Kinglake found themselves with on the eve of the Division Two Finals, but between their Senior Footballers and A Grade Netballers they managed just one September victory, as their year faded out with barely a flutter.
Here’s a look at the Lakers 2019.
Position : 3rd / Semi Final (12-4)
For : 1556 (Rank #4)
Against : 1124 (#5)
Leading Goal Kicker : Andrew Fairchild (66)
Best and Fairest : Bailey Robinson
What went well : The Lakers start to the year was magnificent. Whilst it was common knowledge that Kinglake would improve on a below average 2018, thanks to a number of experienced recruits following new coach Andrew Fairchild to wear the Yellow and Green, they weren’t expected to be that good. After seven rounds Kinglake were undefeated on top of the ladder, were scoring as freely as Seville and Yarra Junction and were defending better than them.
They’d already more or less locked in finals football and were running like a well oiled machine under Fairchild, controlling the ball and isolating Chris Horman (51 Goals) and Fairchild himself up forward to great effect.
What went wrong : The last month or so saw Kinglake run out of gas. Losses to Powelltown and Seville on the eve of finals halted any momentum they had and that rolled straight into a straight sets exit, as a number of their mature stars began to run out of legs after a long year. A disappointing finish considering the incredible platform they’d built in the first half of the year.
What they need : The Lakers can match it with anyone around the coalface and in the air (at either end of the ground), but on the outside they lack some genuine run and carry. It was Seville’s undoing in 2018. They fixed it up and won the premiership in convincing fashion. If Kinglake add some run of their own, who knows what 2020 might hold.
Grade : B+
Their final grade was marred by their exit from the finals. Overall the Lakers exceeded expectations and look ready for a tilt in 2020.
Pos : 3rd / Preliminary Final (8-6)
For : 721 (#3)
Against : 528 (#3)
Leading Goal Scorer : Billie Cvijetic (490)
Best and Fairest : Abbie Barnes
What went well : The Lakers impressed in the finals despite going down to the Blues twice. They fell just short of Seville on both occasions, going down 37-32 in the Qualifying Final and 37-33 in the Preliminary. In between they dispatched Yarra Glen, winning by 49 (70-21) in the First Semi Final, showing just how good they can be.
What went wrong : Their inability to push on from 2018 will have disappointed the Kinglake faithful. Despite the fact that they rose to the occasion against Yea and Seville, Kinglake really failed to go to the next level in 2019, despite Cvijetic coming in for Nagle. The Lakers have an impressive A Grade outfit, and shouldn’t be finishing the season five games off the pace.
What they need : Some depth please. Kinglake need to prep for the future. Their B Grade side finished the Home and Away season in 3rd spot as well, but went out in straight sets, whilst their C and D Grade sides failed to make the finals.
A stronger B, C and D Grades means a stronger A Grade.
Grade : B
The Lakers finished the year well, but promised so much more after going so close in 2018. With Seville no longer in their division, the Lakers should be off the ultimate prize in 2020.