Round 1 Results


The Monbulk Football Netball Club began their 2024 campaign under new coach Matt Cunningham on Saturday with a trip to Upwey. These teams had met in the final round of 2023, where a draw was played out, but the Hawks on the weekend were a vastly different lineup, with 13 changes from the team of eight months ago. Matt had been at Heathmont previously and brought Rob Savory (previously with the Hawks and was Monbulk’s leading goalkicker in 2015 with 55), Jayaran Dove and Declan Browne with him from that club, along with Aaron Hoare from Bayswater. Patty Barge and Nic Wall returned from a year of travel and had been elected captain and vice-captain respectively. Adam Banks also returned after a year at Bunyip while the rest were changes from within the club.

Under ideal conditions the match was a closely fought contest. Little separated the teams as the Hawks fought back from an early deficit to take a narrow lead at half time. Monbulk drew away in the third term and by the five minute mark of the last quarter were holding a two goal lead. Upwey then kicked 6 goals in 10 minutes to completely turn the game on its head. Monbulk fought out the match but eventually went down by 22 points.

Upwey-Tecoma 11.14.80 def Monbulk 8.10.58
Best: Lochlan Beecroft, Joshua Spencer, Declan Browne, Josh Wentworth, Pat Barge, Will Henderson
Goals: Josh Wentworth 3, Josh Spencer 2, Pat Barge 1, Ziggy Hatherley 1, Lochlan Sheppard 1

The Monbulk Reserves were in a rare position compared to recent seasons, in that they had a large squad of 41 players to select from. With most of last years’ Under 19s remaining with the club, and stepping up to senior football.

The Hawks came up against a seasoned Tigers team that had contested the last few Grand Finals. Upwey dominated the early stages of the play to grab a match winning lead with 6 of the first 7 goals. From midway through the second term the Hawks began to break even in many contests but the early onslaught was a decisive factor in the result. This group will improve as they gain more experience playing together.

Upwey-Tecoma 12.8.80 def Monbulk 4.5.29
Best: Ben Grimes, Brodie Emmett, Tait Colee, Thomas Berman, Nicholas Taylor, James Whitworth
Goals: Hamish Emmett 1, Hayden Finlay 1, Brodie Emmett 1, Michael Langworthy 1

Senior Women’s
Monbulk and Emerald opened the season in Division 2 of the Senior Women’s competition on Friday night in front of a large crowd at Monbulk, where Emerald were making their debut as a senior team. The combined Emerald-Monbulk Under 18s girls team had won the premiership in their Division, playing in the Eastern League in 2023, and both sides were bolstered by players from that team. 

The two sides were evenly matched in the first quarter but two goals in three minutes at the start of the second term gave the Hawks a break and they never looked back. It was an entertaining and free flowing game as both teams were playing an attacking style of football. Monbulk used the corridor well, along with giving their outside runners plenty of opportunities to drive the ball forward. Contested marking, shepherding the ball carrier and link up play was a feature of the Hawks as they went on to record an emphatic 41 point win to open their campaign. After a tough and winless 2023, it was their first victory since claiming the 2022 premiership. It was a night of milestones as Laura Gillard played her 200th career game (including juniors and a stint at Ferntree Gully) while Claire Scully and Jennifer Pauw celebrated their 50th appearances with the Hawks.

Monbulk 8.6.54 def Emerald 2.1.13
Best: Ruby Ross, Jade McCormick, Kathryn Gow, Shania Turner, Brielle Tipping, Hannah Joy, Emma Horne
Goals: Jade McCormick 3, Laura Gillard 2, Kathryn Gow 1, Brielle Tipping 1, Claire Scully 1


A Grade
Monbulk had built a strong squad over the summer and this was to prove vital for their opening encounter. The return of Stephanie Ferguson (Puopolo) from having her second child provided the Hawks with a dominant Goal Attack. The new club captain teamed well with club debutant Elly Stewart (GS) to combine for 68 goals. At the other end Abbey Whitaker, Georgia Himmelreich and Rihanna Kelly stifled the Upwey scoring. They have taken top spot on the ladder after the first round and will face a big challenge against Wandin this week with confidence.

Monbulk 68 def Upwey-Tecoma 46
Best: Stephanie Ferguson , Georgia Himmelreich, Rihanna Kelly
Goals: Elly Stewart 41, Stephanie Ferguson 27

B Grade
The Monbulk B Grade squad was virtually unchanged from last year, with just the addition of Goal Shooter Jorja Wragg, who was recently selected in the Victorian 17 & Under squad. Monbulk controlled the play from the outset and won each quarter comfortably.

Monbulk 67 def Upwey-Tecoma 42
Best: Georgia Wilson, Jorja Wragg, Siobhan Munday
Goals: Jorja Wragg 39, Dayna Walsham 26, Chloe Schmidtke 2

C Grade
The C Grade girls set up their win in the first quarter when their attacking game was rewarded on the scoreboard as Jamie Sands was in great shooting form. This squad sees some changes this year, with Courtney, Jess and Simone not playing to start their families in upcoming months, however key additions of Grace Sands returning (125 games 2008-2017) and Kate Smith up from D Grade.

Monbulk 40 def Upwey-Tecoma 30
Best: Sammi Kelly, Grace Sands, Jamie Sands
Goals: Jamie Sands 26, Grace Sands 14

D Grade
This team battled against the odds after reforming last year and look to be a much better side this year. The skills and ball movement were a noticeable improvement against Upwey and the squad has been able to add a bit more height in the forward half. Although they came up short against Upwey, they will be a team to watch as they implement their game style in the weeks ahead.

Upwey-Tecoma 34 def Monbulk 19
Best: Hayley Donald, Eireann Lawson, Ella Flynn
Goals: Maddy Buckland 10, Hayley Donald 8, Ella Flynn 1

Under 15s
In one of the highlights of the weekend, the Monbulk FNC fielded its first ever Under 15s team. This inaugural team, coached by Nicole Macdowell and Tom Hardwick, travelled to Berwick and, in a thrilling encounter, came away with a first up win to start their journey. Apart from Woori Yallock, the other teams in the Under 15 East Division come from the South East corridor, from Narre Warren to Pakenham.

Monbulk 25 def Berwick 23
Best: Kaitlyn Summers, Lara Stenhouse, Isabelle Cross
Goals: Kaitlyn Summers 17, Lara Stenhouse 8

Photos by Anthea Heagney and Armin Richter.

Next week we host our first home game of the season for our open netballers, senior football and women’s football. Goodluck to our U15’s who are playing at Pakenham!

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