IT WILL be a young and different DOVETON side that sets about rebuilding pride at the Robinson Reserve this year after the departure of veteran defender Daryl Thomas brought to 12 the number of confirmed 2009 senior grand final side departures recently. Thomas originally indicated that he would stay with the club but has been lured to NYORA under former teammate Corrie Wilson. On the plus side for the Doves, long-serving fullback Brad Downe is almost certain to play on and provide some experience for the new-look side to be coached by Mark Ladgrove.
THE fallout from the sudden resignation of PEARCEDALE coach Jason Chapple in the wake of the club’s public post-season blow-up at Warrnambool continues. One long-time Panther player and official was scathing in his assessment of both the timing of Chapple’s move and the motivation behind it. While Chapple has stated that his departure, just before Christmas, was because of personal reasons other than the incident involving more than 20 players on a footy trip, the subsequent desertion of players was the real problem according to our man. Pearcedale officials are still trying to stop the bleeding and are at a loss after Chapple told them he would continue in his role only two weeks before he walked out.
AND just a little further to the PEARCEDALE situation, there is an open secret around the traps that arguably the best performed Panther from last year’s side in Chris O’Dell, is set to join his good mate and former FRANKSTON DOLPHINS teammate Justin Berry at CRANBOURNE this year. Should that happen the Eagles will start the season as the hot favourites to challenge reigning premiers PAKENHAM as flag favourites in 2010.
BEACONSFIELD is serious about its 2010 campaign to again become a power in the Casey Cardinia League under new coach Austinn Jones. That focus will become very obvious very quickly soon after the release of new bumper stickers featuring a picture of Jones along with a train branded as the Beacy Express and the slogan “2010 It’s time again”. As for recruits, the Eagles are keeping things fairly close to their chests but two names have been leaked with ex-ROC pair Michael Barker and Mark Corrigan both high on the club’s wish list.
NARRE WARREN is another club that will be around the mark this year but the need for big men at Fox Road is desperate. Along with several other clubs in the area, the Magpies are still searching for a marking option or two, after losing the chase for ex-STINGRAY and FRANKSTON DOLPHIN Brett Dore. Dore was said to be close to signing with the Magpies but the heart ended up winning the day, and he decided to return to his junior club NAR NAR GOON this season.
ONE to finish off this week’s offering on a lighter note. DOVETON has already had a victory over HAMPTON PARK in 2010 after a serious pre-season contest in the sun at the lazy holiday spot of San Remo last Friday. Former Doves coach Stewy Batten sat down for a beer to celebrate the new year with good mate and ex-Redback midfielder Shane O’Brien, with the session turning into a long and enjoyable one. The boys went beer for beer until the early hours but it was big Stewy who finished the fresher of the duo. So much so that Shane was unable to function the next day and instead of joining Stewy for the traditional Saturday afternoon “pot and quaddie” get-together at the local pub, he was assisted to his car and ferried home to Pakenham for an early night by his long-suffering better half Audra. Must have been something he ate …