AFL OUTER EAST PREMIER DIVISION
REVIEW – ROUND 1
The sight and sounds of Marc Holt in a Cranbourne jumper is every reason to go out and get a glimpse of local football.
His passion is unbridled, his love for the jumper unmatched, and his power and skill something to behold.
And the legendary full-forward has dominated in his first game back at the club, slotting six goals as the Eagles overcame Woori Yallock in the driving rain, 8.10 (58) to 16.16 (112).
His new partner-in-crime, young star Corey Ellison, also slotted six majors in ominous signs of what the pair may be capable of this season.
It’s a pairing that excites Eagles coach Steve O’Brien – it’s the young and the old combining to showcase its wares.
“It was a big result for the big fellas,” he said.
“It’s exciting – you’ve got the old war horse and the up and coming kid with a heap of potential.
“They feed off each other a lot – it’s the first time in a long time they’ve played together, and the longer the game went the better they went.”
O’Brien said that the legendary sharpshooter, who is also nearing 1,100 career goals in total after his stint with Karingal in 2019, is relishing the challenge of a new competition, with new conditions and opponents.
Holt, in his typically exciting fashion, had eyes locked on him as he once again stamped his authority on a match of football.
“It excites him, it is new, it’s not the same old, its new teams, and new challenges, and we all know the big fella loves a challenge,” he said.
“It presents him a chance to prove himself all over again to a whole new audience really.”
The Tigers certainly pushed the Eagles in a contested game of footy, with the home side shooting out to an early lead before the rain began to sway the game in the visitors’ corner.
Eventually, through the efforts of Holt, Ellison, and some strong, disciplined football across all lines, including standout performances from Glenn Osborne, skipper Brandon Osborne and Jarryd Barker, the visitors broke the game open to register an almost 10 goal win.
“It was tough conditions, it was a really tough contest in the first half, and late in the second quarter we started to open it up a little,” O’Brien said.
“We then managed to space them in the third quarter, but it was a tough game.
“It was a great team effort, everyone played their role and executed the plan that we put into place.
“We know Woori is a tough side at their ground and they like the contest, and I thought we matched them and were able to get on top of them, which was crucial to the result.”
The Tigers will have taken plenty out of the game, with O’Brien believing they’ll “be right up there” this season, with Brad Clark, Zach Monkhorst and Jason Lindgren named in the best.
Olinda Ferny Creek, meanwhile, has bounced back from its standalone defeat against Narre Warren last week, surging away with a dominant final term against Upwey Tecoma, 12.15 (87) to 6.7 (43).
The Bloods are tipped to be one of the competition’s big improvers, and showcased that it will be a difficult proposition in 2021 with a solid victory.
Despite leading at every change, the Bloods couldn’t quite shake the Tigers, with an eight-point quarter time lead shaved to four at half time, with a tough and contested style game taking hold.
Both sides kicked one goal apiece in the third term, with the Bloods holding onto a five-point advantage, before flexing its muscle with an eight-goal final term to bank the win.
Bloods coach Brendan Donovan was pleased with his side’s bounce back from last week.
“We were disappointed with our efforts at Narre – it was good preparation for Upwey, and we knew we had to improve,” he said.
“We made a few changes at selection, and it seemed to have worked – it was a tough slog, lots of stoppages, and once it moved away from the stoppages we were able to play our own game.”
Donovan said that the group coped with the pace of the game better this week.
“We struggled with the pressure of Narre, we didn’t touch the ball a lot, and when we did we turned it over a lot,” he said.
“That was much better this week – there was things we took out of the loss, but we’ve got a hell of a long way to go.
“We’re happy to bank the win, we had a good night Saturday, and now we quickly move on.”
Nick Keegan clinched the medal for best on ground with a four-goal display for the Bloods, while Peter Gough, Matt Scharenberg (two goals) and Pat Seymour were also standouts.
In a promising display from the Tigers, Ben Hinton was named best after a three-goal effort.
Doveton started life in the top-flight with a gritty win, overcoming a wasteful Wandin at AJ Robinson Reserve, 9.6 (60) to 7.15 (67).
But it could have very nearly been a perfect start to the season for the Dogs if not for some errant kicking in front of goal, not taking their chances particularly in the first half with a disappointing 3.11.
Despite being unable to capitalise, the Dogs held a four-point lead at the final change, before a burst from the Doves saw three goals to two in the final term.
Jake Mullen was absolutely superb for the Doves, with the forward snagging four in his return match; fellow recruit Mark Seedsman was impressive, while Sam Muirhead was all class.
But there was plenty to like from a Wandin perspective – Pat Bruzzese in particular looks to have taken his game to another level with an eye-catching display.