Not much stopping Narre Warren

Hayden Dwyer is reaching new heights at Narre Warren. 410442 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

With no Outer East Football Netball in the region over the weekend, it’s time to look back at what has transpired so far in Premier Division, team-by-team.


Ladder position: 1st

Win-loss record: 8-0

Leading goalkicker: Will Howe (35)

Individuals impressing: Sam Toner, Tom Toner, Kurt Mutimer, Hayden Dwyer, Joel Zietsman.

Points per game: 118.6 (1st)

Points against per game: 45.3 (1st)

Big games to come: R10 v Woori Yallock (H), R12 v Pakenham (A), R15 v Wandin (A).

Predicted finish: 1st

Hand the doubters a towel, because there’s plenty of egg that needs washing off faces.

And I’ll admit, I was one of them.

An off-season in which shaped as concerning given the significant outs – ruck, Lachlan Benson a pair of Shane Smith medallists in Jake Richardson and Tom Miller, Cameron Miller, Ryan Patterson – has been anything but a concern for Narre Warren, which has rebounded from adversity in the only way it knows how; by winning.

A percentage head and shoulders above the field, the best offence and the best defence in the competition, one of only two sides to get the better of the defending premiers through the first eight rounds, and the unearthing of a new star in Sam Toner, sees Steven Kidd passing with flying colours in his first mid-season report card at the helm.

Fresh off winning the league best and fairest in the Under 19s competition last year, Toner has kicked multiple goals in all games bar one, with four against Wandin in the grand final replay in round three.

It’s hard to think of what more could be asked of Kidd’s side, brushing aside any lingering doubts from 2023 to put the competition back on notice.

Peter Gentile has filled the breach left Tom Miller in the middle, Hayden Dwyer is playing more significant key position roles while the back six remains a force, as new leaders Joel Zietsman and Trent Papworth steer the ship.

The lightning speed with which they move the ball is a contrast to previous seasons and has defences scrambling for cover in open play – often when it’s too late.

The warning signs were there when they picked their way through Pakenham’s defences with ease under lights at home in round one, alleviating concerns in front of a bumper crowd on past players day at Kalora Park.

When Riley Siwes, Tom Toner, Daniel Toner, Hamish West and Sam Toner find the ball in open space forward of centre, their ability to chop teams to pieces has been wicked and precise, like hot knives through butter on the way to monstrous scores.

Only once have they failed to put 100 points on the board, and they were the only side to break the 100-point barrier against Wandin in the opening eight weeks.

They took a slim lead into the half time break with the game in the balance, but pulled away with 12 goals to seven in the second half, including six goals in each quarter, to exact a modicum of revenge.

While if you take the low scoring affair against Monbulk out of the equation – a bizarre 67 – 35 outlier – the average points per game returns to 126.

There doesn’t appear to be many boxes left to tick on their way to righting the wrong that was the 2023 grand final.

An accumulating injury list is a concern, with Papworth, Gentile and Brad Scalzo all spending time on the sidelines already, to go with players in the reserves, as Kidd has been forced to test his depth, no better displayed in round seven when three Under 19s played their firsts senior contest in black and white stripes.

They only face Woori Yallock once in the second half of the season, in round 10, but do have a trip into the Hills to face Wandin.

Narre Warren supporters who may have booked holidays in September this season are strongly urged to explore refunds and rain-checks in the terms and conditions, because they’re going to be there once again when the whips are cracking.