By Matt Fotia
Enigma is one word you could use to describe the Wandin Football Netball Club in 2019.
Ferocious on their home deck. Occasionally toothless on the road.
No matter what there’s always a story coming out of the Kennel.
But before we can predict how the Dogs will go in 2020, lets take a closer look at their 2019, a year in which they knocked off three of the top four, but lost to second and third bottom on the ladder.
Here’s their 2019 review.
Position : 6th (7-9)
For : 1398 (Ranked #5)
Against : 1775 (Ranked #7)
Leading Goal Kicker : Justin Van Unen (62)
Best and Fairest : Unknown
What went well : Wandin’s home record against the top four was pretty impressive this season.
The Dogs were a completely different beast when they played at Clegg Road, knocking off Runners Up and Minor Premier Berwick in Round One, defeating Preliminary Finalist Beaconsfield by a couple of goals and Semi Finalist Cranbourne on their home patch later in the year.
They also ran Premier Narre Warren right to the edge in a thrilling encounter, losing by five points to the Magpies.
Their chaotic style, combined with the tight spaces and Justin Van Unen meant that the Dogs were always favourites at home.
What went wrong : Whilst that chaotic style was their biggest strength, it was also their biggest weakness, especially on bigger grounds.
It caught sides out at home, but it burnt them away. Their lack of defensive discipline saw them concede some big scores when on the road this year. Bigger grounds means more space to cover and to cover this space you need a finely tuned system that doesn’t leave holes in your defence, that quality sides can pick off.
Wandin definitely don’t have that.
Not only did it mean sides better then them were able to cut them open with ease, it also meant they were unable to kill games when out in front against lesser sides. Whilst it’s exciting for the neutral, but not so much for the Wandin faithful.
What they need : The Dogs need to tighten up the way they play.
Rein in the chaos and focus on setting up their defensive structures and improve their processes across the ground. At the moment its hard to find one when the Dogs have the ball and even harder to find when they don’t.
Wandin have got the talent. They’ve got the support. They’ve got the home ground advantage. They just need to straighten everything up.
Grade – C
Wandin could’ve done so much more this season when you look at their side on paper. Their best 22 is brimming with talent and they showed that they had the ability to knock the best sides off when they got it all working.
If they can make sure everyone works in same direction, both on and off field, they could be a genuine super power.
If they can’t – who knows what could happen.
Position : 7th (4-12)
For : 665 (#6)
Against : 768 (#6)
Leading Goal Shooter : Cassidy Iedema (396)
Best and Fairest : Unknown
What went well : The blossoming of Cassidy Iedema and Cleo Minney is something that the Wandin netball sector can really hang their hat on.
Iedema was the closest to Olinda Ferny Creek super star Peri Stewart on the goal shooting tables all season, in a side that was five to six places lower down the table, whilst Minney was a regular in the Wandin best, especially in the second half of the season.
What went wrong : The poor start to the season led to a missed opportunity from Wandin, as it gave them way to much to do in their push for finals in the second half of the year.
Throughout the season they showed just how good they can be, running Beaconsfield, Narre Warren, Woori Yallock and Cranbourne close.
Ruby Tidd did a good job galvanising the troops for their run home, but they shouldn’t have been so slow to start.
What they need : Wandin have a good group of netballers across all five grades, with their 2018 season (a year where they won four of five possible premierships) a testament to that.
If they can develop a strong junior program that continues to unearth the next, Iedema, Tidd or Minney, they could be a netball powerhouse for the next few years, as a number of their current stars still have plenty of petrol in the tank.
Grade – C
A good second half to the year saved their blushes, but Wandin should be disappointed they didn’t find themselves playing September netball.
2020 will be an interesting one for all involved at Wandin – so watch this space.