Berwick’s best yet to come

Charlie Muley (right) will be one to watch at Berwick this season. 279901 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

Club: Berwick

2022: 4-13-1 (11th). Did not qualify for finals in Eastern Football Netball League Premier Division.

Head coach: Clint Evans.

Co-captains: Tom Brennan, Will Arthurson.

Coaching panel: Rob Monk, Riley Heddles, Andrew Morrow, Shannon Bergman.

Ins: Jackson Drake (The Basin), Jordan Roberts (The Basin), Kyle O’Sullivan (Nar Nar Goon), Brad Homfray (Nar Nar Goon).

Outs: Bryce Rutherford (Goulburn Valley Football League), Jahvon Bergman (West Gippsland Football Netball League), Mason Binns (Officer), Angus Clavarino (Officer).

10 to watch: Ashton Williamson, Travis Tuck, Will Arthurson, Jordan Roberts, Caleb Van Oostveen, Benzhamen Todd, Jesse Cirulis, Charlie Muley, Ryan Bromley, Nick Hillard.

Home Ground: Edwin Flack Reserve.

2022 tested all of Clint Evans’ coaching powers, having been dealt a catastrophic hand in the medical room with critical injuries to key players during the year.

ACL tears and broken bones early in the season immediately put them on the back foot, and made putting any sort of consistent form together incredibly difficult, with new players blooded every week in order to continually plug holes at Edwin Flack.

But there’s a renewed sense of optimism and positivity around what a relatively healthy Berwick list can bring to the Eastern Football Netball League Premier Division table in 2023.

While not all the big names will be ready for an immediate return in round one, such as Harrison Money and Tim Gunn…Jesse Cirulis and Jayden Graham are firming for a spot in the team to face Vermont.

It’s something they can use utilise as a weapon – how can their opposition scout for a squad they’ve hardly seen?

Not only will it be a new-look side that runs-out compared to last year, but the Wicks are still new faces to the EFNL to begin with, having moved from the Outer East Football Netball League in September 2020, and having 2021 curtailed by Covid-19.

Finishing second-last in 2022 meant they avoided relegation to Division One, but should they finish there again this year, they won’t be as lucky, as two clubs are on the relegation chopping block in Eastern this season.

A win and a draw against a finalist in Blackburn showed what their best could produce last year, but with such a new playing group at his disposal, Evans and his coaching staff will find it hard to use last year as an indication of where they’re at, or what it will mean going forward.

However, positive hit-outs against Frankston YCW, Leongatha and Greensborough, in which they managed to hold their own while still awaiting a handful of key players, have the Wicks ready to bounce the ball for round one.

“From last year, with so many guys that we had out and then so many guys coming in, we’ve changed everything 180 and the way that they’ve been training and playing has been unbelievable to be honest,” Evans said.

“We’re going to make mistakes and everything, but with guys that we’ve still got out, and the kids that have come in, we’ve played three really good sides, I think we’re quite happy with how we’re at.”

Berwick Fixture 2023

Round 1: Saturday 15 April v Vermont (Away)

Round 2: Saturday 22 April v Noble Park (Home)

Round 3: Saturday 29 April v Doncaster (Home)

Round 4: Saturday 6 May v Blackburn (Away)

Round 5: Saturday 13 May v Doncaster East (Away)

Round 6: Saturday 20 May v Rowville (Home)

Round 7: Saturday 27 May v South Croydon (Home)

Round 8: Saturday 3 June v Balwyn (Away)

Round 9: Saturday 17 June v East Ringwood (Home)

Round 10: Saturday 24 June v Vermont (Home)

Round 11: Saturday 1 July v Norwood (Away)

Round 12: Saturday 8 July v Park Orchards (Home)

Round 13: Saturday 15 July v Doncaster (Away)

Round 14: Saturday 22 July v Noble Park (Away)

Round 15: Saturday 29 July v Balwyn (Home)

Round 16: Saturday 5 August v East Ringwood (Away)

Round 17: Saturday 12 August v Doncaster East (Home)

Round 18: Saturday 19 August v Park Orchards (Away)