Division 3 GF Report, Team of the Year

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FF Richard Ogge (Haw) Kane Maghamez (Mann) Riley Livingstone (SU)
HF Jake Cawsey (Aqu) Aaron Downie (Haw) Martin Astbury (Cant)
C Julian Stone (GE) Stuart Carey (GE) Patrick O’Brien (WG)
HB Adrian Snowden (AP) Cam Allum (Haw) Sam Murphy (Cant)
FB Lachlan Barnes (Aqu) Chris Hudson (WG) Stuart Beswick (RC)
Foll Justin Raiti (Haw) – C Michael Culliver (WG) -VC Lachlan Pound (GE)
I/C Todd Richardson (GE) Jack Amies (AP) Matt Ogle (LTU)
Rohan Walmsley (Cant)
Coach Ash Naulty (Aquinas)

When Glen Eira achieved the ultimate success on a blustery day at Sandringham, I am sure all those involved with the Gryphons would have taken the time to reflect on the journey the club has taken over the past year. 2017 resulted in relegation from Division 2, in the cruellest of circumstances, winning 7 games and a percentage of over 90, which was still was not enough to see them face the drop down to Division 3.

Their opponents, the Hawthorn AFC, also rebounded from a disappointing 2017 where they found themselves relegated without registering a victory. The Hawks are a club on the rise and their strength was shown in reaching the final game of the Division 3 season of 2018.

In reviewing the complete season, Glen Eira were the class side of the year, only falling once and overcoming major adversity with various injuries at important times of the season. Such was the depth of the club that their Reserves & Under 19s also were present on Grand Final day participating for premiership glory. Coming into the season decider, question marks of whether their injury toll and their dominance all season could eventually bring them unstuck at the final hurdle.

The Hawks finished second on the ladder and came up short in the 2nd semi final by a solitary point. After edging closer each game to Glen Eira, some thought that this were the stepping stones needed to eventually topple the ladder leaders. Hawthorn’s form over the last quarter of the season wasn’t at the levels in which they started the year, however, their class could not be denied.

Come Grand Final day of 2018, both sides had their claims to hold up the Premiership Cup and claim bragging rights for their return to Division 2 in 2019.

As is the case with all contests with so much to play for, the opening stanza was physical, contested and both sides exerting a lot of pressure around the football. Lachlan Pound opened the account for the Gryphons, in a warning sign for the Hawthorn coaching staff given his goal kicking ability throughout the season. The Hawks steadied with goals to Thomas Bowler & Richard Ogge taking them into the quarter time break 3 points in front.

A blistering start to the 2nd term meant the lads from Rathmines shot out to a 15-point lead through goals from Coady Travaglia & James Ridley, both within the first couple of minutes. The Gryphons responded quickly through Andrew Barrett’s first major, before the arm wrestle resumed which was evident in the first 30 minutes of the contest. Thomas Bowler again bobbed up to kick a goal which took the Hawks 14 points in front at Half Time. Hawthorn were rising with confidence as the game wore on, but there was no doubt from the Glen Eira outfit that with their systems and on the wide expanses of Sandringham that they were up to their necks in the contest.

An old football cliché’ is the third quarter is the “premiership quarter”. Glen Eira will look back in years to come and adhere to this adage piling on 5 goals, with Andrew Barrett kicking three goals in the term. The Hawks held tough with goals from Nathan Raiti & Steven Wintle, but the momentum was certainly with the Gryphons heading into the final term with a lead of 3 points in a low scoring affair.

Trevor Barker Oval rewards those that run hard and Glen Eira ran out the game on top of the ground, peppering the goals in the final term, and punishing the Hawks off half-back. However they couldn’t put Hawthorn away, not capitalising on their opportunities. Andrew Barrett again fired early in the quarter to put the Gryphons 10 points up. After the Gryphons kicked the opening goal of the term, Callum Bilton-Gough gave the Hawks some lift with a goal to put them within a kick at around the half way point of the term but Glen Eira’s defensive structures were sublime, and were capped off with a Brent Connelly goal on the siren to result in a 15 point victory.

The Division 3 season was capped off in a style that warranted one of the tightest seasons in recent history, and Glen Eira walk up to Division 2 with a deserving premiership.