A shooting star called SEFNL
By David Nagel
The miraculous climb of the South East Football Netball League (SEFNL) continued at Holm Park Reserve on Saturday with SEFNL claiming a 16.13.109 to 10.13.73 victory over AFL Yarra Ranges in the 2018 WorkSafe Community Championships.
The victory sealed a meteoric rise for SEFNL who began the restructured format of interleague football from a ranking of 17 back in 2012.
The Demons have since won six of seven outings, defeating Nepean, Wimmera, Bellarine, Sunraysia, Murray and AFL Yarra Ranges to become the number-seven ranked country league in the state.
Coach Rhys Nisbet was super proud of his charges.
“I thought the way the players committed to the whole program from the outset was just outstanding,” Nisbet said.
“We seemed to build a really strong bond very quickly and I think that showed in the way the players attacked the game. They showed a real care for each other and played like they’d been teammates for years.
“I’d like to thank the players, coaches and support staff for putting in such a great effort through the whole campaign.”
Nisbet’s pre-game speech addressed the magnificent contribution of co-captain Michael Collins, who was playing his tenth interleague game, while Cranbourne’s Troy Tharle was praised for his enthusiasm after a late call up to replace Doveton’s Gach Nyuon.
The game was tight early with Yarra Ranges hitting the post on multiple occasions before SEFNL hit its straps midway through the second quarter.
Goals to best-on-ground Tim Gunn, then Ryan Jones, and a long-bomb to Ash Smith saw the Demons open up a three-goal lead at half time. SEFNL then ran rampant early in the third, with Luke Sheppard, Gunn, Mitch Cotter and Marc Holt extending the lead to 41 points at the 11-minute mark of the third quarter.
The standard of play was exceptional, with several goals the result of some hard-running play from one end of the ground to the other.
Gunn was a thoroughly-deserving best on ground, with Berwick teammates Michael Riseley and Smith controlling things from the back half. Cotter was brilliant on debut, while Brad Scalzo, Trent Cody and Madi Andrews joined Collins and Tharle in a tenacious midfield group.
Gunn finished with four, Jones and Holt three, while Smith’s two nuggets off half back broke the game open at crucial stages.
“It was hard to single blokes out, it was a great team effort, but I thought the effort of Troy Tharle to come into the team late and compete in the ruck played a big part in the win,” Nisbet said.
The game had a touch of extra spice with SEFNL and AFL Yarra Ranges likely to merge into a divisional structure in 2019.
South East FNL 5.2 8.6 13.7 16.13.109
AFL Yarra Ranges 4.5 5.6 8.9 10.13.73
SEFNL Goals: T. Gunn 4, R. Jones 3, M. Holt 3, A. Smith 2, L. Sheppard, T. Cody, B. Scalzo, M. Cotter. Best: T. Gunn (Medal), M. Riseley, M. Collins, M. Cotter, T. Tharle, B. Scalzo.
AFL Yarra Ranges Goals: J. Charge 3, P. Bruzzese, K. Busoli, B. Monkhorst, C. Graham, E. Greenall, J. Matthews, D. Wilson. Best: P. Bruzzese (Medal), R. Allen, M. Hottes, J. Charge, E. Greenall, J. Pedder.