Senior Men’s Football
An extremely strong year for Seville saw them make the Grand Final, where they went down to Gembrook Cockatoo, after finishing the H&A season 2nd with 14 wins and 4 losses.
Their excellent season was set up with an undefeated run until Round 11 where they lost to Gembrook Cockatoo (eventual Premiers) in Round 11 by just one point.
Two of their four losses were against Gembrook Cockatoo, a team that they beat by 75 points in Round 4. The other two losses came against finalists Berwick Springs and fifth placed Healesville.
Finishing second meant they would take on Gembrook Cockatoo again, this time in the Semi Final, where they won by 21 points after trailing at both Half time and three-Quarter time.
They impressively held the Brookers to a solitary point in the final term, whilst they piled on 27 points (3 goals and 9 behinds) in an extremely dominant final quarter, booking their spot in the Grand Final. Dylan Broadway booted four goals, whilst Rob Petracca kicked three and two to Jake Strachan.
Seville were blessed for goal scorers with four players kicking over 30 goals, including Nathan O’Keefe who managed just seven games before he suffered a season ending knee injury.
Domenic Aloi topped the goal kickers with 38, Rob Petracca kicked 34 from 17 games, Dylan Broadway slotted 32 from just 13 games. Mark Cecere also operated at over a goal per game, kicking 19 from his 16 matches.
Despite having players who can find the goals, being without their most damaging forward O’Keefe certainly hurt, as did the unavailability of Rob Petracca through suspension.
“It definitely hurt our forward structure, not having Nathan and Rob,” admitted new coach Shaun Wilson.
Wilson’s main focus for this preseason is fitness, hoping the team can run out games even better in 2023.
“My big emphasis for next year is fitness, my biggest thing through the preseason will to be fitter, a lot fitter, so it doesn’t matter where we play or what we do, we can run out games.”
The Blues were #1 in a few areas this season including marks inside 50, clearances, hitouts & hitouts to advantage and equal first in inside 50s.
As a result of this, they also averaged a whopping 15.5 goals per game (1st), 1.7 per game more than Gembrook Cockatoo and 3.6 more than the next best, Berwick Springs.
With a strong forward line, it seemed that Seville’s backline might be the main area to strengthen, an area that Wilson said, has been strengthened in the off season.
This includes 2019 Premiership player Gareth Fraser, whilst Jesse Fraser (Best on Ground in 2019 Premiership) will slot into the forward line.
“We’re recruiting really well at the minute, which will put a lot of pressure on the senior boys.”
The standout players for the year apart from the plethora of goal kickers were Jake Strachan (Division One League B&F Winner), Jye Sciortino, Deng Nai, Joshua Weightman and Jack Nolan. All of whom made the Team of the Year.
Bayley Sciortino was terrific and three Condello’s, Michael, Alex and Andy all had solid seasons.
With strengthened fitness levels, the Fraser’s back and recruitment in the defence, Seville look to be a force to be reckoned with again 2023.
Seville finished 8th on the ladder after winning three of their 13 games. This of course is a combined ladder of conference 1 and conference 2 teams.
They defeated Thornton Eildon in the Conference 2 Semi Final and lost to Monbulk (Conference 2 Premiers) by 29 in the Preliminary final, dominating the last quarter. Unfortunately, the damage was done, going down 4.9 33 to 10.2 62
One of the three wins was a forfeit by Yarra Glen and one was a disqualification against Belgrave.
It took until Round 8 for the Blues to bag their own outright win, which came against Thornton Eildon. They lost to Thornton Eildon in Round 6 by 39 points, which wasn’t helped by a few outs due to Covid-19.
This win was a complete reversal of the Round 6 match, seeing Seville win 64-26, with Madi Ward booting four goals; one more than Thornton Eildon could manage as a team. It was a tight first half with the scores 17-11 Seville’s way at half time, however the Blues dominated the second half booting seven goals to two.
Seville were more competitive in the second half of the season, losing to Yarra Junction, a conference 1 team, by 5 goals, in Round 12. This was a gallant effort, especially seeing Yarra Junction had just knocked off a strong team in Olinda Ferny Creek (3rd overall) the previous round.
Their first stretch of games didn’t do Seville much justice, with the first seven rounds, seeing them play against the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th best teams plus Monbulk who won the conference 2 premiership.
New coach Daniel Ismail put the side’s second half improvement also down to the improvement of skills across the season, as they had a lot of first year players.
“That’s why we started coming good, because we had a strong core through the middle of the ground.”
“The girls just started training last week, but they’re keen and eager to go.”
Ismail was impressed with the skills and ball winning ability of the group towards the end of the season and in their one week of training so far.
Madi Ward topped the goal kicking with seven goals from just 10 games with Lilian Pagels right behind her with six.
Kylie Ockwell’s outstanding year in defence earned her a spot on a back pocket in Team of the Year, “She was a first-year player, she took the game by the scruff of the neck and was solid as a rock at full back,” commented Ismail.
Lilian Pagels was named amongst the best in two thirds of her matches, as was Madi Ward, Orla Murray and Jess Beraud. Alexandra McInnes and Nicole Kimpton also enjoyed strong seasons.
Looking to 2023, Ismail wants the team to keep enjoying playing together. The playing group get on quite well together and this is a representation of the strong culture and positive environment both in the playing group and at the club.
The Seville team mainly has players 17-28 years old, with quite a few young players, many of whom look to be sharply improving.
With another pre-season under their belt, and the continued improvement of skills and ball-winning ability, 2023 looks to be an improved year for Seville and perhaps they could go one step further.
Seville were Premiers after a cliff-hanger finish in the Grand Final against Berwick. Seville won 44-43, thanks to a goal in the dying seconds from Ella Morse.
All year Berwick and Seville were the teams to beat. The only loss Seville had was to Berwick and Berwick’s only two losses were to Seville.
Such was the tightness in competition between the two teams that form line between the two were as follows: Round 6 Seville by 2, Round 13 Berwick by 5, Round 20 Seville by 6, Semi Final Berwick by 11 and finally Grand Final Seville by 1.
Having gone tit for tat throughout the season with Berwick, Seville certainly knew they were a good chance to get the job done, despite losing the Semi Final by 11.
“I think I definitely had the confidence in the playing group to get the job done, it just depended on the turnout on the day,” expressed coach Alex Bergamin.
The Blues had just the seven players on Grand Final day, whereas Berwick had 10 and made multiple substitutions.
Seville averaged 52 goals a game and only conceded 34 points per game.
Star Olivia Ray unfortunately was struck down with an ACL injury, ending her season prematurely, after scoring a whopping 164 goals from five games, with 22 her lowest return.
Hayley Ray (GS) topped the goal scoring with 336, followed by Ella Morse (GA) 293.
Seville were strapped for talent with strong players in each position throughout the season with some of the standout players being Cleo Minney (C), Ella Bayliss (WA), Luiza Sulemani (GK), Ella Morse (GA), Emily Wicks (WD) and Hayley Ray (GS).
Ella Bayliss and Cleo Minney were both acknowledged for their outstanding seasons, in Team of the Year, as WA and interchange respectively.
Bergamin was pleased for Bayliss and her stellar season, “She well and truly solidified herself in that position this year. She’s a fantastic leader and it’s good to see her continued to push in that Team of the Year. It’s good for the young ones to have her around the club.”
Seville’s B Grade and C Grade teams also won the Premiership, whilst D Grade and the 17&U Blue teams both made Grand Finals.
The standout players in the A Grade Grand final were: Ella Bayliss, who was phenomenal with her passing and setting up goals; Luiza Sulemani was very stubborn in defence, stopping plenty of goals; Cleo Minney, who was incredibly clean with the ball like Bayliss, and Ella Morse who’s shooting was on fire throughout, especially early and in the final seconds of the match, shooting the matchwinner.
Morse scored 23 goals and Hayley Ray slotted 21.
Seville’s B Grade beat Berwick by 19, Alanna Lennie scoring 32 goals with Lauren Fletcher 24, with other standouts being Alexis Tucker and Corinne Bogle.
The C Grade team beat Gembrook Cockatoo by seven goals, where they were cleaner with the ball in hand in the first half and had built a strong enough lead by 3QT; albeit Gembrook Cockatoo were strong late.
Rebecca Groen scored 19 goals, Tarsha Collette scored 17 and was Best on Court. Georgie Brisbane was excellent also, as was Alice Nicholas.
Having all five teams in Grand Finals, three with Premierships is an amazing achievement and it also shows plenty of depth and that there’s a potential for players to move up the Grades.
Which is healthy for the competition for spots, made even tighter by the fact that Seville have strong player retention.
Seville look the team to beat in Div 1 again next year with a very strong list and Olivia Ray to return from injury.
Written by Jordan Peeler