By Matt Fotia
A winless 2018 is well and truly behind the Doveton Football Netball Club after they smashed Officer by 82 points in a one sided Good Friday clash at AJ Robinson Oval, winning 20.20(140) to 8.10(58).
The Doves controlled the match from beginning to end, keeping the Roos at arms length before blitzing their opposition with a 14 to four goal second half. Not only was the result one to start the Easter party for the Doves, it sent minor shockwaves throughout Division One as one of the early premiership favourites took a body blow.
Senior Coach Daniel Charles says a focus on what the Doves were doing, not what their opposition were doing was the key in the build up to yesterdays clash.
“We just focused on ourselves, we had a really good pre-season, we’ve recruited well,”
“We were competitive against them (Officer) last year with a very young side and they just blew us out of the water in the second half both times so it was nice to see the shoe on the other foot this time.”
Charles was chuffed with his sides pressure from the first bounce to the last, particular from his forwards with Jake Nicholson laying eight forward fifty tackles himself. Live-wire small Mitch Pierce finished with three goals, but it could’ve easily been five or six as the number 31 kicked six behinds.
The rise from winless to yesterday’s dominant performance was not expected to be this quick for the Doves, but Charles was confident they had put the building blocks in place in 2018 for some form of rejuvenation.
Throughout 2018 they had been able to give precious experience to a number of young players who are now set to reap the benefits. Players such as Bradley O’Brien, William Smith, Tyson Bellinger and Sam Muirhead are all ‘ten times better players’ thanks to the experience handed to them in 2018.
For Trevor O’Donnell a patron and volunteer of the club since 1984, yesterdays win was one of the most important that he can remember.
“Last year was the toughest year we’ve ever had both on and off the field,” said O’Donnell midst match day pack up duties.
Doveton had regularly had crowds of around 3000 people on match days, but in 2018 that number was halved as the ladder began to look worse and worse. 2019 seems to be a different story as the AJ Robinson car park was full before the first bounce of the reserves.
“Today spoke volumes of the work that’s gone into the club from the President (Aaron Henwood), Daniel (Charles) and the rest of the committee.”
The Doves have also fielded an under 18 side this season after being unable to compete in the SEFNL’s Under 19 competition in 2018.
O’Donnell credits the families of those boys for throwing their support behind the club.
“The Under 18 boys, they’re all bottom age but they were really impressive today and all of their parents have just been fantastic, they’ve really got stuck in for the cause.”
It might only be round one of the new season, but yesterday’s win was more than just four points for some of the more loyal Doves.
“It was an emotional day for myself – I was trying to keep myself busy and not watch the game too much but in the last 10 minutes it hit me that we’ve really turned the corner as a club,”
“When I heard the song being sung in the rooms – I got a tear in my eye.”
O’Donnell is galvanised by what 2019 could bring for his beloved Doves.
‘We won’t be getting too carried away with ourselves, but it’s bloody exciting.”
— AFL OUTER EAST (@AFL_OE) April 19, 2019