By Matt Fotia
Two new coaches. Two new outlooks. But will it bring two new results in 2020 for Beaconsfield?
Leigh McQuillen’s decision to step away from the Beaconsfield senior coaching role at the end of their 2019 campaign caught many by surprise, with the detail oriented coach showing no signs that his time was out throughout the season.
It didn’t take the Eagles long to find his replacement though, with legendary community football coach Mick Fogarty taking over the hot seat mere weeks after leaving his longtime role at Eastern Football Netball League powerhouse Noble Park.
However, despite the arrival of Fogarty, a number of Eagles have flown the coop looking homes elsewhere across the EFNL and West Gippsland FNL.
The new coach remains confident that his group are ready and able.
“We know internally what we’ve got in regards to personnel and we’re quite happy with it,”
“Having said that our depth will be tested and we understand that as well, but what that does do is it exposes our younger guys to senior football which they might not have been able to do in the past,”
“There are always positives to everything that we do.”
Having mentioned the outs, it would be criminal not to mention the ins.
The Eagles have signed a number of talented footballers with Jack Hutchins joining from Mansfield, Marcus and Harrison Coe from St Francis Xavier, ex junior Tom McKenna from Mazenod Old Collegians as well as former St Kilda player Brandon White.
“What we’ve introduced are people with good character, good people to have around your football club,”
“Brandon is enormous, I’m not going to beat around the bush, for him to come back to his local club and play is massive – he’s had amazing offers from all over Australia to go and play his football, but he’s come back to play with mates which is great,”
“Getting him, and if people don’t understand what I mean by this now they will as the season goes on, it’s like picking up three players, his leadership, his standards at training are enormous and that lifts the guys around him and he drives the intensity at training.”
Having White on board has helped Fogarty as he looks to transition the Eagles from McQuillen’s style of football to his. However the experienced coach isn’t too worried about any sort of teething problems, given the skill and understanding of all coaches across local football these days.
“Early days its going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds, but to Macca’s (Leigh McQuillen) credit had a really good systemic approach to the game and I’m a little bit different in the way I coach, but the basics are still the same and the way he saw the game was similar to how I see it.”
“It’s exciting, because some of the clubs are complete unknowns to me and are only one year in the memory of my club and there’s relationships that are building within those clubs off and on field,”
“I know Adam Parker (having coached against him at Vermont) he’ll be terrific up at Upwey Tecoma and I know what standards he’ll bring to the competition and I’m really looking forward to all of it.”
This time of year is the time for predictions and targets (usually). But Fogarty doesn’t like setting too many goals, preferring to roll with the punches and see where the season takes his exciting set of charges.
“I always say that some players set some unrealistic goals and when they’d not reach them they get really disappointed and I think goal setting is great, but small steps are the key,”
“I’m really excited to find out what this group can do and see whether they can take that next step and really challenge the top sides in the competition.”
John Ione was the man behind Beaconsfield’s B Grade premiership in 2019. In 2020 he plans to be the man behind their A Grade one as he makes the step up to the main role.
“I’ve been with the club for six years now and after having coached the B Grade team for a couple of years I just saw it as an opportunity to step up and take over the A Grade side and was lucky enough to be selected,” said Ione of his appointment.
The Eagles performed well in 2019, finishing home and away season in second on the table before going out to a resurgent Cranbourne side in the preliminary final.
Ione says that the level of excitement heading into the 2019 campaign was a key driver behind their build up last year.
“I think we approached last season with a sense of excitement, you know it was going to be something very different for the players who had been at the club for the past few years and for the club overall having to play against teams we’ve never heard of and visiting new grounds,”
“But there was also a bit of sense of unknown with that lack of familiarity.”
This year the focus has been on allowing the players to refresh and recharge their batteries before they look to tackle on their old foes and a couple of newly created rivals.
“We’ve had a change up around our build up in pre-season this year, we’re one of the last clubs to run our trials which was because of a real focus on player welfare and giving all players some time away from netball,”
“Our other focuses have been continuing that level of unity amongst our players, because even though we represent different Grades and so on within the competition, at Beaconsfield we are very proud of our one club mentality,”
“Of course there has also been a real focus on fitness, I think the standard has risen across the whole competition so we are keen to make sure that we are doing all the hard work early on in the year to make sure it pays dividends for us as we go through 2020.”
Speaking of 2020, Ione is confident that Beaconsfield will be around the mark again, as they look to make an assault on the A Grade premiership, whilst simultaneously developing an attractive Beaconsfield style.
“I have a lot of confidence in the A Grade squad and my feeling is that we’ll finish quite high on the ladder, but for us it’s about understanding our opposition a lot better and implementing the right strategies to combat the strengths of other clubs,”
“As well as developing a special brand of netball for Beaconsfield.”