The first ever AFL Outer East season is creeping ever closer and as anticipation builds we’ll be taking a closer look at each and every club in our newly formed home.
2019 is the start of a long journey back to the top for the Thornton Eildon Shinboners according to club president Dave Stirling after its well documented struggles in 2018.
Across the whole club the Shinboners only managed one win in 2018, in round four when the reserves knocked off Powelltown by 11 points. Limited victories have unfortunately been a trend for the club since 2016.
The club re-joined the league in 2014 after the Black Saturday Fires left the club with no choice but to fold after the 2010 season. Initially upon its re-entering the Shinboners were successful, finishing 4th in 2014 and 2nd in the 2015 season.
However, since then the senior side has just one win to its name across 2016,2017 and 2018, with 2018 seemingly the worst season of the bunch.
But the president is confident that the tide is about to turn.
“We’re looking pretty good at the moment – numbers wise with our recruiting, but you never really know what you’ve got until that first or second game,”
“But overall we’re pretty happy with how recruiting went.”
The club had a tough message to sell when recruiting given its recent performances in the competition, but Stirling said the focus was selling the lifestyle and the future of the club rather than making excuses for the past.
“We approached the recruiting process with honesty around our recent performances, but it was more about showing them the strategic plan and vision we have moving forward,”
“We’ve been looking to recruit some committed fellas and so far everyone has been 100% on the task.”
Stirling is also confident that the Shinboners have the right man at the helm, with Darren Leaumont taking the reigns as head coach. The pair have been transparent in their communication and have a clear understanding of what they want to achieve this season.
“He knows there is still a bit of a road to travel to get to our destination but we’re both clear on what we want in 2019 – consistent competitiveness.”
So far the Shinboners have had just one hit out, defeating Bonnie Doon in the Lake Eildon Cup. Whilst it’s nothing to write home about, it’s definitely a step in the right direction .
“The game plan seems to be coming along as everyone gels together as a group, we’ve got a lot of blokes travelling up from Melbourne so it hasn’t been the easiest process.”
The Shinboners netball has also struggled in recent times with the club fielding just two sides in 2018, both failing to win a game. Stirling insists that the club will soldier on and is hoping to field three teams in 2019.
“At the moment we’re still a very old netball brigade and the main struggle is trying to find some youth to help the club moving forward on the netball court.”
“But I’m really pleased with what’s taken place this off-season and the attitude of the whole club – it’s taken a while but I’m upbeat about where we can get to in 2019 as a club,”
“Now I just want to enjoy the footy and netball without any more hurdles.”
Thornton-Eildon host Yarra Glen to start their 2019 ATC Traffic Division Two season.