Wandin Football Netball Club got its season off to a great start on Sunday with wins in senior football and all grades of senior netball against archrivals Mount Evelyn, showing a good reflection of a strong pre-season campaign where the Bulldogs have worked hard to compete with the best in premier division.
A strong, solid performance on the football field saw the Bulldogs beat the Rovers by 26 points while the women of the netball courts led at every break to take a 30-point win in the A grade match.
The local rivals squared off for the Methven Professionals Cup, as part of an association with the Bulldogs, thanks to the support of directors Greg Earney and Liam Jackson who run the Mount Evelyn and Mooroolbark branches, where the Bulldogs were successful in grabbing the wins.
The senior football match started off slow for both clubs with a strong wind favouring Mount Evelyn before the Rovers were able to shift the momentum from the second quarter and get themselves out to a sizeable lead which they maintained until the end of the game.
The even spread of goalkickers is a representation of how well the forward line is structured with at least four great avenues to goal that can be relied upon, with multiple goals shared between Daniel Hirst, Patrick Hodgett, Clinton Johnson and Harrison Van Duuren a great example of this.
Reflecting on the first win of the season, senior coach Nick Adam is pleased in his sides ability to get a first up win of the year to put them in second on the ladder but is mindful of the fact there is more work to do as the year progresses.
“Although it was Round One, we feel like we played two quarters of good footy which we were disappointed with,” he said.
“However, the pleasing thing was we were able to shift the momentum back in our favour in the second quarter and then again later in the game to put the match out of reach, but we definitely need to play more consistently over four quarters if we want to test the top sides.”
The first up victory is a reflection of a strong pre-season training program where the football department had good representation on track and worked hard.
The program was designed to put the Bulldogs in a position where they could be the best version of themselves where this is currently being achieved but are mindful that it’s still a work in progress.
The win against Mount Evelyn ensures the Bulldogs snare bragging rights against its archrivals early after four years of not facing off against one another since the formation of Outer East FN, which is also a reflection of the importance of community sport to the region.
“We love playing against our Yarra Valley rivals because it has this different feeling to it you can’t ignore because there’s history there,” Adam explained.
“Wandin is a pretty cool place to be when you have a local rivalry with another club and it’s particularly good when you’re kicking the way of our redeveloped pavilion in the final quarter, and everyone is up and about.
“It’s really good to be back and the community spirit is so good at Wandin and knowing we will get a full crack at it this year is pretty cool.”
The performance of the footballers was also well reflected on the netball courts as all senior sides took the win against the Rovers.
Despite the warm conditions and having to go through a long day, the A Grade side were solid and consistent all day as Brittany Tait was named best on court as part of the Professionals Methvens Cup celebrations.
“To have the cup in our trophy cabinet this year is really good after a solid day of work for our sides,” said netball coordinator Penelope Harris.
“We were probably a bit shaky with a new squad getting used to each other, new combinations and new players getting used to each other on the court, but it was great to see the girls pull together and execute what they were asked to by the coaches.
“We are yet to see the best part of ourselves come through as we will come up against some good opposition this year, but the fact we ended the day with a ‘W’ on the board across all sides is a great way to start our year.”
The Bulldogs will now use this two-week period to continue its training program across football and netball and work hard in its quest for success in season 2022, as they look forward to its next challenge against fellow local rival Woori Yallock on ANZAC Day.