Yarra Glen won four games and lost 14, going on to finish the season in 6th place. It was a slow start this season, with their first win coming in Round 4 against Belgrave, who finished last, with their second win coming in Round 11.
They found it very tough against the top four sides for most of the season but managed to have hard-fought contests against eventual Premiers Gembrook Cockatoo (Round 20), where they lead by 4 goals at the 3QT and couldn’t hold on, and an arm-wrestle against Berwick Springs, going down by just 14 points in Round 19.
They narrowly lost to Healesville in Round 2 by just five points but were able to beat them in Round 16 (70-65).
Being more than competitive against a team that won half their games (Healesville) and very nearly defeating Gembrook Cockatoo late in the season, as well as a close game with Berwick Springs, Yarra Glen easily could have won several more games and they should take great confidence into next year, following their much improved second half of the season.
Callum Morison booted 26 goals for the season, operating at 2 per game. Jayden Schille and Marcus Kikidopoulos kicked 14 and 13 respectively at just under a goal a game.
Jayden Schille’s dominant season earned him a spot in the Team of the Year in the back pocket.
Billy Gardner and Sam Horsley were two other standouts, closely followed by Richard Wyles and Jim Marks, all enjoying stellar seasons.
Yarra Glen’s reserves struggled, finishing last with two wins.
It was a very promising season for Yarra Glen as they made a Preliminary Final after finishing fourth with 9 wins, 1 draw and 9 losses.
Their start to the season wasn’t ideal, losing three of their first four games and found themselves 3-6 after 10 rounds.
They found better form in the second half of the season, winning six of their last 10, including three of their last four games, plus a draw against the eventual Premiers Seville.
They convincingly defeated Emerald in the first Semi-Final after losing to them three times during the season, albeit two of these encounters were tight.
After a tight first half in the Preliminary Final, Seville blew them out of the water, with Yarra Glen going on to lose by 17.
Hanging in there for a half against the Premiers was a noble effort by Yarra Glen, in a season that they should be happy with.
A major strength of Yarra Glen this season was that they had plenty of contributors, week in, week out.
Jacqueline Hibberd (WA) was phenomenal and was amongst the best almost every time she played, as was Katelyn Vanderkolk who was excellent in Goal Defence. Peta Fay had a very strong second half of the season as Goal Keeper, regularly amongst the best (including in both finals). Chelsea Birchall was fantastic as Centre and the duo of Stephanie Gibbs (GS) and Lara Wandin-Collins (GA) was excellent, both giving opposition players headaches.
Peta Fay was acknowledged as the GK in Team of the Year, with Chelsea Birchall’s brilliant season also acknowledged in Team of the Year (interchange).
If this group of players stick together and become more consistent, they should be right up in the top 4 again in 2023.
Their B grade team finished fourth on 10 wins and narrowly lost to Belgrave by 2, after extra time in the Semi Final.
Their C and D grade teams struggled, winning just 5 games and 4 games respectively, finishing second last in both grades.
Written by Jordan Peeler