Pakenham’s poor starts come back to bite them

Sam Kors kicked a further three goals for Pakenham against Olinda Ferny Creek. 403698 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

Pakenham coach Paul Carbis said he’s yet to put a finger on the slow starts that are becoming an unwanted characteristic for his side a third of the way through the Outer East Football Netball Premier Division season.

Pakenham has won just two of its six opening terms this season and trailed by five goals after a bleak beginning to its contest on Saturday against Olinda Ferny Creek.

The Bloods kicked nine of the first 10 goals of the contest to lead by nine goals late in the second term, before Pakenham saved face in the final quarter with seven goals to one to close the margin.

The final score read 13.20 98 to 11.12 78 in Olinda Ferny Creek’s favour, with Olinda Ferny Creek’s poor kicking for goal sparing Pakenham from a heavier defeat.

Carbis said there’s some work to do to establish why they have struggled out of the gate.

“I’ll have a chat to the playing group tomorrow to try and sort it out, see what their thoughts are,” Carbis said.

“We spoke about how we need to start well and how it’s hard to chase.

“They came out really strongly in all facets of the game and we’re lucky that they kicked poorly.

“We didn’t execute at all in the first two quarters what we wanted to, and the boys were probably getting a little bit frustrated as well with things not going our way.

“We’ll come up with something and see if it works.”

Former Collingwood defender Matt Scharenberg kicked three and was a standout for the Bloods that kicked 12 goals to Pakenham’s four through three quarters.

Pakenham’s defence and ability to defend the ground was left wanting as the Bloods used the ball well in open space on a number of occasions.

A cavalcade of injuries has seen an unsettled 22 across the first six weeks and a difficulty in building all-important continuity across the park as they settle in to Carbis’ vision.

Forward Jai Rout added his name to the injury list after fracturing his eye-socket late in the game, joining Jake Barclay, Lachlan Sauze, Tom Gamble and Zac Stewart on the sidelines as Carbis continues to explore his depth.

Kade Perkins earned a promotion from the Under 19s and was named in the best alongside fellow youngster Ryan Martini, two of five Under 19s in the side.

The unavailability of key senior players, though, is beginning to take its toll, and losing games against teams in the same bracket on the ladder could prove consequential come the end of the year.

Pakenham has only beaten the bottom three sides to date but dropped points against Officer and Olinda Ferny Creek, two sides that will likely contend with Pakenham for a spot in the top six’s lower half.

“We had five Under 19s play on the weekend and probably that’s the limit of too much,” Carbis said.

“We brought one kid in and we brought Jackson Hillard in for a bit of experience.

“We should get some players back, we’ve got some players that are long term injuries.

“We’ve got to start winning these games against sides around us.

“Unfortunately we lost to Olinda (Ferny Creek) on the weekend who are really good but this week is another chance.

“We’ve got Mt Evelyn, who are down, and then hopefully we can start getting some players back when we play the top four.”

Midfielder Sam Kors’ rejuvenation as a forward continues with a further three goals, with Rout, Tom Hillard and Bailey Stiles each contributing two.

It was a week for contenders to flex their muscle on Saturday with a pair of premiership fancies feasting on relegation contenders.

Wandin crushed Berwick Springs by 104 points to get its premiership defence back on track, while Woori Yallock downed Mt Evelyn by 84 points at Mt Evelyn Recreation Reserve.

Narre Warren, meanwhile, was well-held by Monbulk in a 32-point win.

The Hawks kept last season’s runner up to just three goals in the first half and held a one-point lead, but kicked only one in the second half as the Magpies pulled away.

It was the Magpies’ first score under 100 points in 2024 and the first since last season’s disastrous grand final loss.

The defence, led by co-captains Joel Zietsman and Trent Papworth, remains watertight, conceding just 47 points per game, and a miserly 36 in the last three.