By Matt Fotia
This weekends victory over Doveton is just the beginning for Emerald in the opinion of Football Manager John Rich, after the Bombers upset third placed Doveton by 11 points at Chandler Reserve on Saturday, 12.11(83) to 10.11(71)
It ended up being the cherry on top of a massive weekend for the entire club with its (A Grade) netballers grabbing their first win of the year, the junior club starting off its finals campaign and St Kilda legend Stephen Milne pulling on the Red and Black jumper in front of a big crowd.
Rich praised the 275 game small forward for his approach to the one off game.
“It was a huge day with the Puffing Billy boys and the Milney luncheon,”
“Thursday night he was down here, I was quite surprised because you never know what you’ll get with those blokes,”
“There can be some arrogance about them (one off players) and you go in with pre-conceived ideas of what you’re going to get, but he was fantastic on and off the ground,”
“He really planted himself within the club right from the word go.”
Emerald sit sixth on the table, two games behind Officer, after a season where they’ve been around the mark, but haven’t been able to finish off games. The Bombers set themselves a goal of finishing the season off the on a high, with nothing left to lose.
Refocused, the Bombers took a four point lead into the first change against the fancied Doves, before pulling away in the second quarter, which instilled some true belief into Emerald’s young group.
“They got a bit of belief in the first quarter, which they carried into the second and then going into half time four goals up really instilled that (belief) in a young group,”
“Sometimes young groups can drop their heads if they get a few kicked against them, but we didn’t lose that concentration,”
“It was fantastic the way they went about it, we didn’t have a passenger on the weekend.”
The Bombers have had their hand forced this season to blood a number of individuals due to injuries, giving a number of players unexpected time in the senior side, which has seen a sharp increase in the development of a number of players, most notably ruckman Steven Kapahnke and half forward Rogan Goonan.
Combine this with a promising Under 18 side, strong junior program, which includes two girls sides. Add in the prospect of a senior womens side in 2020 and the Hangar looks to be an attractive destination.
“Having the juniors at Chandler (reserve) this year has been fantastic – the Under 11’s warmed up with the senior guys on Thursday night – our Under 18’s are 90 percent bottom age which gives them another year together to get a senior pre-season as well,”
“We’re advertising for a senior womens team next year and we’ve got girls footy in the 14’s and 16’s,”
“It’s all heading in the right direction.”