By Matt Fotia
It may have felt like a long year for the Shin-boners come the seasons end, but there were moments to savour for a club that hasn’t had many reasons to celebrate for a few years.
It’s Thornton-Eildon’s 2019 review.
Position : 9th (1-15)
For : 639 (Ranked #9)
Against : 2148 (Ranked #9)
Leading Goal Kicker : Caleb Kalogirou (10)
Best and Fairest : Unknown
What went well : It’s a pretty simple one for Thornton Eildon. Just the one win for the year, but what a win it was.
Playing fellow 2019 strugglers Yea, Thornton Eildon jumped out of the blocks before the Tigers pegged them back to lead by four points at three quarter time. With mere moments remaining it seemed as if Yea had the game sewn up, as a chance fell their way deep inside forward fifty to see the Yellow and Black army go eight points in front.
Alas, it missed and Thornton Eildon put together arguably their best piece of football in the last 24 months, going from end to end to provide Shane Barrand an opportunity to win the game after the siren.
It wasn’t a textbook drop punt, but it went through and chaos ensued. Whilst they would go on to lose their remaining games, I’m sure that night was one to remember.
What went wrong : Expectations were never that high for Thornton Eildon, but their competitiveness really fell away in the second half of the year, with Seville, Powelltown, Yarra Glen and Yea – who got their own back in the last round of the year – making hay whilst the sun shone against the Blue and White’s.
It was probably inevitable, with the effort required to put in week in, week out whilst constantly on the end of comfortable losses, but it still would’ve been disappointing for those who had worked hard to get some momentum going earlier on in the year.
What they need : Whilst there is a long list of on field issues that need addressing for Thornton Eildon, the Shin-boners number one priority needs to be off field sustainability.
They have a promising womens program that is creating some good vibes and they need to be harnessed. But in regard to the mens football and the netball program there will be no quick fix.
Grade – C
A strange grade on paper considering they finished last on the ladder, but they did make strides on 2018. Plus, who can forget that Shane Barrand winner.
Netball (B Grade) :
Position : 8th (3-13)
For : 561 (#8)
Against : 893 (#8)
Leading Goal Scorer : Rose Kealy (259)
Best and Fairest : Unknown
What went well : Thornton Eildon got their season off the mark in round five with a five goal win over Kinglake. They led at every change and put the exclamation mark on the victory with a 12 goal to nine last quarter.
What made this more special – outside of the win itself for a struggling club – was the measure of the opposition. Kinglake finished the season in third place on the ladder and ended up in the second week of finals going down to Powelltown (eventual Runners-Up).
Like the football operation, its the small wins that count for the Shin-boners, although this win was bigger than even they would have anticipated.
What went wrong : This is going to sound strange, but not much really went horribly wrong for Thornton Eildon. They grabbed three extra wins in 2019 (compared to last season), shot 305 more goals and conceded 224 less.
So despite finishing second last, this season was a massive improvement on court, not only in the wins column, but in general.
What they need : Read the same paragraph for the football side. Thornton Eildon need off field sustainability before they can think about on field/court recruiting and exponential growth.
Grade – A
Again, a strange grade if you look at the 2019 season alone. But in context this was a good year for the netballers at Thornton Eildon. Hopefully it’s the start of something more.