2017 Season in Review – Division 3

December 20, 2017

ASHWOOD

Ladder after Round 18: 2nd (14 wins, 4 losses, 176.64%)

Best & Fairest: Ryan Forsyth

The only undefeated side after nine rounds, Ashwood were one of the early front runners for the Division 3 title, however, losses to Hallam, Doveton Eagles and Black Rock over the course of the next month had its quest for a second straight Grand Final berth on shaky ground. The Magpies recovered to secure the double chance, but it mattered little as it slumped to a disappointing straight-sets finals exit. With slick midfielder Mitch Saunders missing for much of the season through a knee injury, Ashwood found themselves at times lacking leg speed through the engine room, particularly in the Qualifying Final against Endeavour Hills, but the dynamic Jake Chapman stood up in his absence, finishing second in the club B&F.

Grade: B+

 

BLACK ROCK

Ladder after Round 18: 5th (13 wins, 5 losses, 149.10%)

Best & Fairest: Daniel Kick

It was a far from ideal start to the season for the Jets, who were relegated from Division 2 the previous season. A first-up victory over Moorabbin was then followed by a five-match losing streak, and compounding the tumult was the sudden resignation of coach Brent Ward. Midfield ace Jay Williams, who ruptured his ACL in the preseason, stepped up to assume senior coaching responsibilities and helped save the side’s season with a remarkable revival. The Jets went on to win the last 10 games of the home and away season to sneak into the finals, and although they suffered an Elimination Final loss to eventual premiers Doveton, it took none of the shine off their stunning run home.

Grade: B

 

CARRUM PATTERSON LAKES

Ladder after Round 18: 10th (4 wins, 14 losses, 74.48%)

Best & Fairest: Paul Mauracher

After a few impressive performances in the preseason Seymour Law Cup, CPL were expected to be one of the improvers in 2017. They did improve, winning one more match than 2016, however, given all four victories came against the bottom two sides in Dandenong and Sandown, it wasn’t exactly cause for celebration. Coach Terry Philippe also tendered his resignation midway through the year, with Cain Padman stepping up to the plate in the second half of the season. The real highlight for the Lions came in the form of Paul Mauracher, who remarkably finished equal second in Flack Medal voting alongside 2016 winner Corrie Wilson, which was a just reward for a tremendous individual season.

Grade: C-

 

DANDENONG

Ladder after Round 18: 12th (0 wins, 18 losses, 26.10%)

Best & Fairest: Stephen Young

Unfortunately, 2017 was another difficult year for the Redlegs. Three consecutive defeats of 100+ points to start the season ultimately set the tone for the remainder of the year, and Dandenong ended with a blob in the W column, which consigned them to the wooden spoon. To their credit, they were competitive in some games, including a 30-point loss to Endeavour Hills in Round 4, and finished with a better percentage than Sandown.

Grade: D

 

DOVETON EAGLES

Ladder after Round 18: 4th (13 wins, 5 losses, 190.66%)

Best & Fairest: Corrie Wilson

An up and down home and away season that included a 270-point win over Sandown and losses to both Black Rock and South Yarra was overshadowed by a remarkable finals campaign that delivered the Eagles the 2017 Division 3 premiership. Premiers rarely come from fourth on the ladder, but that is precisely what Doveton did, defeating Black Rock, Ashwood and Hallam in consecutive weeks to reach the big dance. And the Grand Final is one that will not be forgotten in a hurry, as it proved to be not only the most exciting premiership decider in years, but the standard of football on the day would not have been out of place in either of the higher divisions. After squandering a 22-point half time lead, the Eagles found themselves 26 points down five minutes into the last quarter. What followed was one of the most incredible Grand Final fightbacks, with Doveton slamming on the last five goals of the game, including the clutch match winner from former AFL star Russell Robertson in time on, to steal the most unlikely of victories. Robertson proved the Division 3 recruit of the season, booting 51 goals in just 10 matches to help deliver the cup to Power Road.

Grade: A

 

ENDEAVOUR HILLS

Ladder after Round 18: 3rd (14 wins, 4 losses, 168.98%)

Best & Fairest: Daniel Batson

Heartbreaking Grand Final loss aside, 2017 was a quantum leap forward for the Falcons. After several years of disappointment and near misses, Endeavour Hills finally broke through for its maiden senior finals appearance, seven years after its establishment. Its depth was tested throughout the season as injuries hit, with the club losing several winnable games, but it showcased its talents when it inflicted Hallam’s only two losses for the home and away season, before knocking off the Hawks a third time in the Second Semi. And although it capitulated in the final term of the Grand Final, it’s worth remembering that its seven consecutive goals in the third quarter was one of the most exhilarating 20 minutes of football you’ll see. With jets such as Daniel Batson, Nathan Strom and Byron Hoe running through the midfield, Daniel Strom and Shaun Richards rebounding out of defence and big Daniel Morrison (52 goals in 2017) up forward, this was a team that was severely underrated this year, and will no doubt become the hunted in 2018.

Grade: A

 

HALLAM

Ladder after Round 18: 1st (16 wins, 2 losses, 293.90%)

Best & Fairest: Phil Ward & Manny Peresso

A near flawless season ended in despair for Hallam as they fell in a heap in September. It began brilliantly for the Hawks, as they surprised 2016 Division 1 grand finalist Bentleigh in the inaugural Seymour Law Cup Grand Final. From that moment, they emerged as the clear favourite for the Division 3 premiership, a tag they carried through the year. There were only two hiccups throughout the home and away season, with Endeavour Hills inflicting both of its defeats, and it romped to the minor premiership with a phenomenal percentage of just under 300%. Unfortunately, a third defeat to the Falcons in the Semi Final and another to Doveton Eagles in the Prelim saw the hot premiership favourites unceremoniously eliminated from the race, with nothing to show for their home and away dominance. However, the Hawks toasted the individual success of powerful midfielder Phil Ward, who was a runaway winner of the Flack Medal. Ward also tied the club B&F with retiring superstar Manny Peresso.

Grade: A

 

LYNDALE

Ladder after Round 18: 7th (9 wins, 9 losses, 120.67%)

Best & Fairest: Jordan Toole

A third straight season finishing with the also-rans was another year of disappointment for the Pumas. Three massive wins over the bottom three sides in the first four rounds had Lyndale off to a flyer, but by season’s end they had failed to register a single victory over a side that finished above it. They hovered around mid-table for much of 2017, and at season’s end a 7th place finish was just. Won one fewer match than in 2016, and never really threatened or stood out.

Grade: C

 

LYNDHURST

Ladder after Round 18: 8th (7 wins, 11 losses, 89.78%)

Best & Fairest: Jason Twite

After six wins in its inaugural senior season, the expectation was for improvement from Lyndhurst. The improvement was there, but perhaps not at drastic as many expected, with just one extra win and a considerable percentage boost in 2017. But there were several on-field highlights of which the club can be satisfied, including winning three games in a row, registering its first victory by more than 100 points and upsetting finalist Black Rock at Black Rock. The Lightning avoided the ‘second-year blues’ and consolidated its foundation season, which should provide a strong launching pad for success in the coming years.

Grade: C

 

MOORABBIN KANGAROOS

Ladder after Round 18: 9th (5 wins, 13 losses, 65.26%)

Best & Fairest: Justin Isaac

A bevy of high-profile recruits, including former Frankston VFL star Justin Berry and Hampton guns Aaron Shedlock, Justin Isaac and Damien Armansin landed at Widdop Crescent during the off-season, and led many to expect big things from Moorabbin in 2017. But unfortunately Berry and Shedlock never got a clear run at it, playing just five and seven games respectively, and the Kangas slumped to five wins for the season. Isaac and former St Pauls Under 19 star Dylan Bone were the major contributors in a season in which Moorabbin over-promised and under-delivered.

Grade: C-

 

SANDOWN COBRAS

Ladder after Round 18: 11th (1 win, 17 losses, 16.83%)

Best & Fairest: Matt Dickson

The Cobras have been doing it tough recently, and 2017 was another lean year for the club. Their on-field struggles continued as demoralising defeats became increasingly regular. Put simply, they didn’t have the talent to compete for long enough in games. The low point came in Round 7, as they were kept goalless in a 270-point loss to Doveton, a margin that would have been greater if the Eagles had converted better than 38 goals from its scarcely believable 81 scoring shots. However, there was some joy, with Sandown’s six-point victory over Dandenong in Round 9 their only win for the season, which helped them avoid a second straight wooden spoon.

Grade: D

 

SOUTH YARRA

Ladder after Round 18: 6th (12 wins, 6 losses, 170.77%)

Best & Fairest: Scott Stegehuis

The hard luck story of 2017. The Yarras spent 13 rounds inside the top five, including 10 consecutive weeks between Round 6 and Round 15, and was at no stage lower than sixth position. Unfortunately, sixth is where they would finish. They were replaced in the five by the rampaging Black Rock after losing to the Jets in Round 14 and then Ashwood a fortnight later, ensuring they would be September spectators. Their loss to lowly Moorabbin in Round 4 proved costly, as one more win would have seen them finish fifth. In 2016, 12 wins and a percentage of over 170% would have seen them finish in the top four, but it wasn’t to be in a highly competition season such as this year. Although the cards didn’t fall their way in the end, the Yarras again proved a difficult team to best, particularly on its diminutive home deck.

Grade: B