By Matt Fotia
After a drought breaking premiership in 2018, Yarra Junction had their sights set on back to back in 2019 but fell well short of an unstoppable Seville side, whilst their netballers squeezed into the five off the back of some strong attacking play.
See what went right, what went wrong and where to from here in their 2019 review.
Position : 2nd (13-3) & Runners Up
For : 1826 (Ranked #2)
Against : 964 (#2)
Leading Goal Kicker : Sam Morton (60)
Best and Fairest : Ewan Wadsworth
What went well : The Eagles undisputed strength in 2019 was their leg speed and depth through the midfield. With a long list of players capable of rotating through the middle of the ground throughout the year, all with the capability of getting forward and kicking goals, the Eagles were one of the more dangerous clearance sides around.
This midfield depth of talent saw Yarra Junction put on some blistering displays, especially at home, where they could bang on four to five goals in a matter of minutes, changing the game in a blink of an eye.
What went wrong : Not too much went astray in 2019 to be fair to the Eagles, outside of the second half in the decider, where they were outgunned pretty convincingly. They only dropped two games after round one in the home and away season, against Kinglake (in the cold) and Seville, whilst their reserves won the Premiership.
What they need : Dylan Brookes is a bloody good defender, but unfortunately for him and the Eagles, Seville had more than one gun forward. Even Powelltown exploited the lack of help for Brookes in the Preliminary Final when Dean Roy and James Rohan got off the leash at different stages in the thrilling encounter.
If Yarra Junction can find another good lock down defender they’ll be looking the goods to jump back on the dais in 2020.
Grade – A
The Eagles did everything in their power to go back to back. They just didn’t account for the Blues being so damn good.
Position : 5th (6-8) & Elimination Final
For : 686 (#4)
Against : 767 (#7)
Leading Goal Kicker : Amanda Finn (378)
Best and Fairest : Unknown
What went well : The Eagles made the finals off the back of some good form in the second half of the season and the consistency of their goal circle duo, Amanda Finn (378 goals) and Amelia Rose Michelle (299) who put up impressive numbers week in, week out for Junction.
Unlike a lot of other combinations in the Division, this partnership saw an even spread of the goals as well, a sign that both players were comfortable interchanging between both roles and positions.
What went wrong : Their defensive frailties were what held them back in the end. Despite making the finals, the Eagles had the second worst defence in the competition, conceding 820 goals (including finals) at an average of 48 goals per game.
Conceding that many goals is unsustainable, especially when it comes to taking on the stronger sides in the division, who can match, if not better your own firepower up front.
What they need : The Eagles need another experienced head in either the mid court, or the defensive third, to help educate their defenders, steady the ship in some frantic periods of play and provide a controlling influence on their ball movement.
Grade – B
Finals isn’t something to frowned upon, and the Eagles look to have put the steps in place to build upon their program in years to come.