steps down

NEVER has BEACONSFIELD had such vocal and sustained support as the Eagles battled to beat DEVON MEADOWS on the weekend. However, the extra crowd urging was not from their regular loyals, but from a group of young men from BERWICK whose usual Saturday afternoon activities revolve around playing the game rather than watching it. Of course the Wickers needed their arch rivals Beaconsfield to down the Panthers if they were to make the five and it was quite interesting to see a big group of Edwin Flack Reserve regulars led by Andrew Tuck and Adam Dalton cheering on every Eagles goal and every mistake by the Meadows. However, while we can understand their feelings, we do think Berwick legend Brad Mollineux took it a little too far with the flag, cap and “Go Beacy” banner.

NILMA DARNUM veteran Adrian Burns, a true football journeyman, drew the curtain on a stellar career on Saturday night. Recruited from DROMANA, Burns was a will-o’-the-wisp forward when drafted by ESSENDON, where he spent five seasons before a move to ST KILDA. Some of the clubs he played for include SALE, where he coached, GRIFFITH, HEYWOOD, CHELSEA, POOWONG and ELLINBANK. Burns said he did not know how many games he had played but it was a pretty safe bet it would be nudging 400 in a two-decade career.

AT LEAST two Casey Cardinia clubs are under serious financial stress, according to insiders from each and, unless a plan to pay money owed is developed very soon, topline players will be departing next year. One of the clubs has been rationing payments for the past six to eight weeks but loyalty to the coach has kept the side both on the park and competitive. However, our spy suggested this week that the future intentions of a number of players had already been quietly sought and, should they leave, next year would be a bleak one. Stay tuned for more.

HERE is a bit of trivia that puts the success of DOVETON over the years into perspective. The last time there was no Doveton team in the finals of at least one grade of football was in 1976. This is the first September for 34 years Doves supporters have had off, an unbelievable statistic.

PEARCEDALE is back in the spotlight after a group of players were banned from the Baxter Tavern for misbehaviour during their end-of-season celebrations recently, with the incident making it to the newspaper in Warrnambool last week. The Panthers were disciplined and placed on a $10,000 good behaviour bond after playing up on a footy trip to the Western Districts town last year and it appears the locals down that way have long memories along with some good sources. There has been no official word as to what action will be taken against the club by the MPNFL for the latest incident.

AND while on PEARCEDALE, the Panthers will be without solid defender Gary Carpenter next year after it was confirmed that he would join his father Dale at Peninsula League club BONBEACH. Gary’s cousin, ex-DANDENONG STINGRAY star Sam Carpenter, will also join the Sharks under the instruction of his uncle who is also a former Panthers premiership coach. Sam, who lost part of an arm in a childhood accident, has been playing senior football with APSLEY in the QAFL this year.
LANG LANG defender Corey Dowson will not forget his 100th game on Saturday. With the game against KOOWEERUP in dispute at three-quarter-time, he was left flabbergasted when informed he had been red-carded for an incident in which he allegedly brushed a boundary umpire early in the second quarter. Confusion reigned during the three-quarter–time break, when both the club and the umpires debated the rules surrounding a belated send-off. As it transpired, the Tigers played a man short for 15 minutes and folded in the last quarter to lose, after having a 10-point lead at the final change. The rules state the offending team must be advised at the “earliest convenience” but being informed close to two quarters later left the Tigers seething.

WARRAGUL INDUSTRIALS small forward Daniel Johnson went within a whisker of creating an unusual (and unwanted) record on Saturday. When he kicked the first goal of the senior game against NAR NAR GOON on Saturday, it was the Dusties’ first score for the day – with the other four grades failing to trouble the scoreboard attendant. Johnson went on to kick three of the senior sides four goals for the afternoon. If not for Danny Brewster’s third quarter major, Johnson may have gone down as the club’s only goal scorer in an entire day of football.

CLUBS across the district now turn to that special bonding institution called the “Footy Trip”. Of course some players observe these occasions far more seriously than others but it’s never too late to start, according to DOVETON veteran Matt Miller. Miller took great joy in outing his teammate of 15 years, Brad “Rowdy” Downe on last week’s 3SER Footy Show as someone who had never graced a players’ trip away in his entire decorated career. “Rowdy fell in love with the first girl he kissed and that was it – he never went on a footy trip,” snipped Miller to the chuckles of his studio hosts. “That’s all about to change this year because he’s booked in. Rowdy would be the oldest Footy Trip virgin around.”

WARRAGUL star Des Barr has likely played his final game. Barr, a league best-and-fairest winner in 2006, played only two games this season, in round one and the final home-and-away game against WONTHAGGI on Saturday. Barr had hip surgery to correct a bone growth early in the year and is expected to undergo further surgery over summer. He provided the inspiration for the Gulls to chalk up their first victory of the season on the weekend and the rooms rocked like they had won a grand final after the match.

IT WAS a big weekend for emerging WARRAGUL star Joel Morgan. On Saturday he kicked the winning point in the Gulls’ thrilling come-from-behind victory over WONTHAGGI and on Sunday he was rewarded for a wonderful season, with the Gulls’ best-and-fairest award. Morgan, who played primarily as a rebounding defender, polled 107 votes with utility Matt Gray runner-up with 94 votes.

DISAPPOINTMENT was the dominant emotion at the Glover Reserve on Saturday night after DEVON MEADOWS blew its last chance at finals and it was even more upsetting for emerging young ruckman Lucas Hoogenboom who missed the last game after breaking his arm two weeks before against KEYSBOROUGH. However, one optimistic Panther said that there was an upside to the injury on the weekend. Hoogenboom is also a champion bowler who will likely play senior Premiers League cricket this year, and our man suggested that the added weight in his arm from all the metal plates and screws holding the bones together, might add a few extra km/h to his pace. “He’s got a bionic arm now!”

WITH 311 senior games to his name, BULN BULN veteran Anthony Baker called it time after the Lyrebirds’ easy weekend win over ELLINBANK. Lady luck also shone on the popular clubman, with the opportunity to play his final game alongside his brother Mick, a veteran of 375 senior games, who was a last-minute inclusion after the withdrawal of Paul Pratt. Another admired Lyrebirds clubman, Michael White, also announced his retirement after 202 games on Saturday. White will not forget his last game, and more specifically his last kick, after he skewed it out from the 10-metre square straight to his opponent, David Scott Smith, who welcomed the gift and duly kicked it back over his head for a goal to the mirth of both teams.

TRAILING by 38 points at three-quarter-time and about to tackle the final quarter of a long season, SALE coach Nick Anderson took his players by surprise, telling his entire backline to take up position across the forward line and asking his entire forward line to take up residence in defence. The tactic rejuvenated the Magpies and, after managing only six goals to the final change, Sale rammed on six last-quarter goals to comfortably overcome MORWELL. Half-backs Craig Flint and Jordan Dissent booted two goals each, while last-line defenders Andrew Quirk and Terry Wheeler also got their names on the goalscorers’ sheet.

NOTE: LONGWARRY will host the EDFL elimination final between GARFIELD and NEERIM NEERIM SOUTH on Saturday after the original venue, BUNYIP, was deemed unfit to play on.