Eagles to look east

Beaconsfield wants to move competitions in 2022. 243408 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Nick Creely

The Eastern Football Netball League has called a Special General Meeting (SGM) for its member clubs on Wednesday 29 September, with two clubs including a south east powerhouse looking to join the competition in 2022 and beyond.

Eastern CEO Troy Swainston sent the memo to clubs, informing them that both Beaconsfield Football Club and Oakleigh Districts Football Club are both aiming to join the competition next season, with the league fully supporting their transfer applications following meetings with “key stakeholders and a review of the presentations prepared by both clubs.”

Clubs will vote on these applications at the meeting, which will begin at 7pm, with senior affiliated clubs entitled to have two member votes, while junior affiliated clubs will have one and board members will also have one.

They will be asked to vote on recommendations of the EFNL board, which endorses Beaconsfield to join Division 1 in 2022, and for Oakleigh Districts to join Division 2.

The move from Beaconsfield – which clinched the 2021 minor premiership in the AFL Outer East Premier Division after an undefeated 8-0 season under an Eastern league coaching great in Mick Fogarty – has been touted for some time like Berwick’s move last season, with several clubs from the Outer East, such as Cranbourne and Doveton also weighing up their future in the competition.

Speculation has been rife that the Eagles would look to make the same move that their great rival across the creek Berwick made last season, with the Eagles’ location, facilities and growth, particular within their junior ranks, a huge catalyst.

It’s proving to be an interesting time for the club out of Holm Park from an on-field perspective no matter where the club lands from a league point of view, with two of the biggest stars departing for Devon Meadows.

Ryan Hendy – who was a senior assistant under Fogarty this season – has departed for the Panthers as senior coach in the MPNFL, and brought along with him two of the most prized recruits this off-season.

Stars Nick Battle and ex-Saint Brandon White are both joining the Panthers as playing assistant coaches for the next two seasons in a huge coup for the club

Battle had a sublime 2021 in the Outer East and took out the Pakenham Gazette Coaches Award for his dominant campaign through the midfield and will add significant class to the Panthers both on and off field, and also was named ruck rover in the Premier Division Team of the Year.

He spent one season at the Eagles after initially signing with Narre Warren in 2020.

White – who returned to Beaconsfield after spending several seasons in the AFL system with St Kilda for 11 games – was also prominent for the Eagles in 2021 through the midfield and half back with his elite kicking skills and composure under pressure, and was also named in the Outer East Team of the Year in the centre.