After a very near perfect season Narre Warren has taken out the Premier Division Premiership after defeating Woori Yallock 9.18 72 to 8.10 58 in the wet.
They finished first in the ladder 15 wins and one loss.
After a 1 hour delay courtesy of some heavy thunderstorms and lightning, a slippery but intriguing Grand Final played out.
Narre Warren slotted the first goal through Jarrod Smith before Woori replied and took control towards the back end of the quarter following a 10 minute arm-wrestle, conceding a 15-point lead by the QT.
In the second term Will Howe and Tom Toner made Woori Yallock pay, however Woori’s star Liam Odea had other ideas. Narre Warren were much more competitive in the second quarter than the first, however they still trailed at the main break. 30-24.
The third quarter saw Woori Yallock in control early missing some gettable chances before converting. The Tigers weren’t going to lie down and give up the lead easily.
Some Tom Toner brilliance stemmed the flow for Narre Warren, which was very much needed as Woori were threatening to skip away.
Jarrod Smith and Will Howe piled on back-to-back goals in quick succession, cutting the margin to a manageable nine points. After another behind Jake Richardson took a mark on the eve of 3QT and kicked truly, seeing Narre Warren trailing by just two points.
The last quarter was sheer dominance by Narre. They controlled the football and kicked 2.11 to 1.1
Narre Warren’s fitness came to the fore in this last term which kept Woori to just two scoring shots.
Narre Warren were by far the best side all season and were the better side on the day too.
Hayden Stagg was best on ground, whilst Josh Tonna, Will Howe and Joel Zietsman all had brilliant games.
Narre knew they were never really out of it, “Woori had a real crack and were playing really well, but we felt if we were close enough at 3QT, we had the legs to over run them in the last quarter which we did.”
“Our boys started handling and using the footy better which was huge in the last quarter. Our boys’ will to win was fantastic”, expressed coach Shane Dwyer.
The Premiership capped off an insanely good season.
A season that saw Narre Warren’s only sub-100 score be in the Grand Final, thanks to insane thunderstorms paired with hail, prior to the match.
Of their 18 games, 11 featured 130+ scores, five of which were 170+, with the Round 9 game against Officer producing a score line of 239-11.
Trent Cody and Peter Gentile bagged 7 goals each, with 5 each to Howe and Richardson, a game which produced 15 individual goal scorers for Narre.
Round 17 saw Richardson kick 7 and Howe 4.
Quite clearly it was raining goals at Narre Warren this year with Jake Richardson booting 74, Howe amassing 68. Cody, Kurt Mutimer and Riley Siwes all hit the scoreboard too, slotting 35, 32 and 30 goals respectively.
On 10 occasions Richardson bagged five or more goals, whilst Howe kicked four or more on 10 occasions. They both kicked as many as eight in a game and were second and third on the goal kicking leaderboard respectively.
Other standout players for the year were Tom Miller, Lachlan Benson, Kurt Mutimer, Hayden Stagg, Joshua Tonna and Joel Zietsman and Tom Toner.
To no surprise, Narre Warren recorded an impressive eight players featuring in the Team of the Year.
Tom Toner (Back Pocket) and Joel Zietsman (Full Back) were selected in defence. Lachlan Benson was picked as the Ruck and Kurt Mutimer was picked as a rover.
In the forward line we saw Trent Cody (HFF), Jake Richardson (FF) and Hayden Stagg (Forward Pocket).
Will Howe was picked on the interchange as a key forward also.
Narre Warren’s one loss for the season came in Round 15 and it was only by nine points, to Woori Yallock (15.10 100 to 15.9 109).
“It was probably the best thing that happened to us. It gave us a total mind reset and put fire into the belly. The following week against Olinda was the best we played all year,” said Dwyer.
On the injury front, there was a couple, like most clubs had, although unfortunately Brad Scalzo missed the season with a knee.
In terms of 2023 and ensuring that they are in the business end of the season again, Dwyer is focusing on continual improvement, “We need to keep improving, keep bringing the kids through and keep enjoying what we’re doing.”
Narre’s Reserves also won the flag 10.7 67 to 8.6 54 against Upwey Tecoma after finishing 2nd (14-2).
This came a few weeks after their most recent encounter, which was the second Semi Final, where Narre Warren defeated the Tigers by 80pts.
Hamish West booted 4 goals, with 2 each to Harrison Brain and Bailey Howarth.
Narre Warren were all over Upwey Tecoma early and held a 25 point lead at quarter time. They didn’t keep this up for long though with the Tigers biting back kicking 4.2 to Narre’s 0.2
They consolidated in the third quarter, finding themselves two goals up at 3QT.
The final quarter was an arm wrestle with both teams scoring two goals, but Narre Warren had done enough.
Hamish West, Travis Callahan, Ethan French, Bailey Howarth, James Milivojevic and Hayden Johnson all had great games and were named among the best.
Bailey Mayworm, Hayden Dwyer, Bailey Howarth, Thomas Russell, and Nathan Mutimer all had standout years.
Dwyer and Mayworm were the top goal scorers with 36 goals (first in the league) and 25 respectively. Whilst Bailey Howarth and Jett Kearney contributed 22 and 19 goals respectively.
Both the Seniors and the Reserves won the Premiership which is an outstanding achievement.
Narre Warren had an extremely strong year, being the benchmark team for the H&A season. So much so that they only lost the one game, which happened to be in the final round, going down 47-48 against ROC.
They secured their spot in the Grand Final by defeating Olinda Ferny Creek 50-45 in the Semi Final, the team that would face in the Grand Final.
In a game that was very wet, thanks to extreme storms (especially the second half).
It was a game full of momentum swings and unfortunately for Narre Warren, they were on the wrong end of it. The game was pushed into extra time where they went down by just one goal.
“We were obviously disappointed to not win. We knew we could, we knew we were capable of it, but we also knew there was some tough competition in the league.”
“Especially with the top four, you had to be playing your best on any given day and unfortunately we didn’t in the Grand Final.”
Narre averaged a tick under 53 goals a game (ranked first) and were very stubborn defensively, conceding only 32 goals per game.
They conceded 101 goals less than Olinda Ferny Creek who conceded the second least goals for the season.
Erin Bell scored an impressive total of 552 goals for the season (ranking second), having played three less games than first ranked Hayley Howard. Bell averaged a tick under one less goal per game.
Bell’s shooting was quite efficient and was a large reason as to why they scored 50+ on 14 occasions during the H&A season.
In Round 6 against Woori Yallock, she amassed a whopping 55 goals.
Jemma Osborne and Chelsea Tonna who took turns in Goal Attack scored 283 and 229 goals respectively.
Narre Warren’s depth was impressive with most players having solid years.
Gabrielle Dwyer (GK) was emphatic all year with Corrina Emery having a great season too, stepping up in the absence of Caitlin Stephens who missed the first half of the season due to injury.
Brittany Mashado had a stellar year with her clean passing and quick decision making, whilst Abbey Barrientos was also more than handy in Wing Defence.
Bell as Goal Shooter was impressive and was supported well by Tonna and Osborne in Goal Attack.
For their outstanding seasons, Dwyer was acknowledged in Goal Defence in Team of the Year, Brittany Mashado in Wing Attack and Erin Bell in Goal Attack.
It was unfortunate after being the benchmark throughout the season that they didn’t get the job done, coming agonisingly close and they look to improve further next year.
“Britt and Gabrielle deserved their place in the Team of the Year, but at the end of the day I think all of us would have preferred the Grand Final win.”
The conditions certainly weren’t favourable in the Grand Final, but Bell didn’t use that as an excuse, “I’m not going to blame the conditions, it’s something we have to learn to be better in and it’s something we’ll be focusing on for next season,” Bell said.
Bell added, “I feel like by the end of the year we were a bit predictable.”
Having a 17 game win streak might sound fantastic, however it could have been more ideal to dust off the cobwebs and re-assess a bit earlier, not just one round prior to finals.
“I think we learnt a lot this season from nearly being undefeated, we lost just our last game (in the H&A season). You learn a lot more from a loss than you do a win.
“So, I was a bit nervous going through the season undefeated. I don’t mind losing a few games and having to fight for finals because that’s what makes you better,” reflected Bell.
“At the end of the day if you’re undefeated in the rounds but lose the Grand Final, it doesn’t mean anything.”
Heading into 2023 we can expect a Narre Warren side that is hungry to win the Premiership after coming oh-so-close this season.
They have plenty of star power and were heavily represented in Team of the Year as well as being the top team scoring and defence-wise.
Their B grade team won the Premiership, defeating ROC 35-31, Kacey Maund, Kate Dowling, Tamika De Nardis (15 goals) were standouts, as well as Summah Hinchcliffe, who scored 13 goals.
They also won the Premiership in C Grade, defeating Mt Evelyn 25-22 , Olivia Catrucco, Alyssa Hunter (17 goals) and Ashleigh Hammond were the standouts.
Another Premiership awaited in D grade for Narre Warren, defeating ROC 25-22.
Ruby Mosbey, Mackenzie Morrison, and Asia Tuiloma were the standout players.
One runners up and three Premierships is a magnificent return in the Open Netball grades.
Combined with the two football Premierships, the club has won five of a possible six, showing what a strong and consistent club, they are.
Written by Jordan Peeler