By Nick Creely
The Southern Football Netball League has officially welcomed Cranbourne into the competition in 2022, after the Eagles and Outer East parted ways earlier this month.
The Eagles – alongside Doveton – have departed the competition officially, with both clubs set to significantly bolster the Southern league.
As first reported by the Gazette on 8 October, the Eagles will be looking to join Division 1 of the Southern Football Netball League next season, where it’s expected it will be a strong side under re-signed coach Steve O’Brien.
In a statement, the Eagles said it was looking forward to the next chapter of their journey and beginning to establish new rivalries.
“We have found the management and board of the SFNL to be fantastic to work with; professional, proactive and decisive in their style and for this we are very excited to join this wonderful league, expressing our desire to a long-term commitment,” the statement read.
“The Cranbourne Netball Club will field four senior teams in the SFNL and keep their juniors affiliated with AFLOE. We will continue to work with the netball club as they learn to adapt to a different life as well; one which we hope they grasp and enjoy as much as we will.
“As a football club, our travels have been up many different paths in our 132 years; from being a founding member of the Berwick and District FA, inaugural member of the South West Gippsland FL as well as an affiliated club of the Mornington Peninsula Nepean FL, Casey-Cardinia FNL, South East FNL and AFL Outer East FNL. From these travels we have come across many different clubs, formed many different rivalries and made plenty of friends….and some enemies.
“These different rivalries are historic and while they offer us great memories of the past, it is now the memories of the future we now look forward to making; to be able to forge great rivalries with different clubs, in a different league, in a new era.”
After announcing an impressive bundle of re-signings, such as Jordan Bertrand, Michael Boland, Jake Carosella, Nick Russo, Max Gearon, and skipper Brandon Osborne, the Eagles have signed ex-Melbourne defender Mitch White.
White – after playing four AFL games – has been at the Casey Demons since 2018 after his AFL career came to a close, and has been captain of the VFL side since 2019, where he made Team of the Year that season and has remained one of the state-league’s biggest stars.
While White still remains a vital part of the Demons’ VFL side, where he is expected to remain captain in 2022, he’s expected to feature for the Eagles at stages next season.