MERIMBULA DIGGERS 2017 REVIEW
MERIMBULA DIGGERS FC
It was a mixed season for Merimbula Diggers. With the club still extremely strong at the junior level, the clubs senior sides struggled due to a number of player departures prior to the season. The club made it back to back premierships in the under 16’s grade whilst also claiming the minor premiership in the under 11’s. The Diggers added a women’s side in 2017 which saw dramatic improvements over the course of the season. Look for the Diggers to bounce back at senior level in 2018 whilst also challenging in the junior and women’s grades.
2017 Prediction: 5th
2017 Finish: 5th
Review: 2017 was a down year for the Diggers after making the past three grand finals at senior level. It was always going to be tough for the Diggers in 2017 with a number of outs prior to the season with the likes of Danny Adams, Justin and Tom Burch, Luke Higgins and Brayden McDonald moving on from the club. The Diggers claimed just the three wins in 2017 against the Whalers although the effort provided by players with limited senior experience would have pleased coach Daniel Murphy at times throughout the season challenging the likes of Bermagui, Pambula and Tathra in close contests. With a strong junior program in place look for the Diggers to blood some of these skilled players in future years and if Merimbula can get some A grade recruits into the side, the club could rebound well in 2018.
Key Player: Will Regan, it’s hard to go past Regan who was Merimbula’s outstanding player for 2017. Regan won the club best and fairest in a landslide whilst also being one of the Sapphire’s best at both the senior and junior representative fixtures. Is only going to get better in future seasons.
2017 Prediction: 7th
2017 Finish: 7th
Review: In their first season in the women’s grade, Merimbula can be proud of their growth and achievements in season number one. Throughout pre-season and early into the season the Diggers built on their playing numbers each week which saw Merimbula play with strong numbers throughout 2017. The Diggers managed two wins for the season and will be disappointed that they weren’t able to get a result against the 6th placed Giants in either of their two match-ups. Although they couldn’t crack a win against teams above them on the ladder, the Diggers improvement throughout 2017 was evident with the side reducing the gap between themselves and their opposition in their second match-up with teams during the season. Kiarna Woolley-Blain managed 12 goals for the season which also saw Kate Storck, Skye Holmes, Ashlee Miller and Lilly Butler-Woollard have solid seasons for the Diggers. Look for the Diggers to be one of the big improvers in 2018.
Key Player: Ebony Millott, was the only one for the Diggers women’s side to play every game for the 2017 season and was leaps and bound the Diggers best and most important player for the season. Has plenty of upside in future seasons with Millott able to find the ball and her skill level will only improve.
2017 Prediction: 3rd
2017 Finish: 5th
Review: It was a tough year for the Diggers development side winning just one game for the 2017 season. The losses at senior level carried into the development grade for Merimbula with several development players in 2016 asked to step into the senior side in 2017. With players asked to step up the Diggers side struggled for consistency with their performances and player numbers resulting in their one win coming to the Giants.
Key Player: Charles Aggenbach, played all games in 2017 with Aggenbach leading the team with 6 goals for the season. Asked to play more in the midfield in 2017 which impacted on his ability to stay forward and kick goals.
2017 Prediction: Premiers
2017 Finish: Premiers
Review: It was back to back premierships for the Merimbula Diggers under 16’s with the side being the most dominant side throughout the season and deserving premiers. The only blemish for the Diggers 16’s was in round 1 against the Pambula Panthers before 13 straight wins saw the side claim 2 for 2 in the under 16’s. Doug Stubbs had a break out year kicking 39 goals for the year including finals and was well supported across the half forward line with Max Geaghan kicking 25 goals. The Diggers backline was stingy all season with Tavita Wood leading the way whilst a midfield of Jedd Martyn, Caleb Higgins, Lawrence Davis, Jonty Dwyer and Ethan White dominated opposition from week to week. Martyn and Higgins has remarkable individual seasons in 2017 with Martyn league best and fairest and both players selected in the under 15 NSW school boys team who participated in Perth. The Diggers 2018 prospect look just as good as 2017 with a number of players to remain with the team with the like of Charlie Buckingham, Matthew Leonard and Jacob Overend to take big strides in 2018.
Key Player: Max Geaghan, Geaghan claimed his clubs best and fairest award in 2017 after a solid season that saw the youngster dominate across the half forward line. Not only has the attacking ability but also tracks back and puts pressure on the opposition.
2017 Prediction: Runners Up
2017 Finish: 3rd
Review: It was a disappointing finish for the Diggers in 2017 with their under 13’s side going out of the finals in straight sets against Bermagui and Pambula. Without any star player’s the well-balanced Diggers squad put together a solid regular season with the club only dropping games to Bermagui and Pambula whilst the Diggers blemished Bermagui’s perfect regular season with a draw. Merimbula were slow to get going in the finals getting blown out against Bermagui in the major semi-final before leaving their run too late in the fourth quarter in the preliminary final against cross town rivals Pambula. Billy Spackman, Daniel Piccione, Jack Faulkner, Noah Overend and Sebastian Purcell all had good seasons for the Diggers providing plenty of run and carry across the ground although Merimbula were unable to find a consistent avenue to goal with midfielder Damon Kerr leading the team with 14 goals.
Key Player: Damon Kerr, Kerr was the Diggers most consistent performer for the Diggers in the 2017 season with Kerr claiming plenty of individual accolades this season. Kerr is a silky mover through the middle and will continue to develop and being an important player for the Diggers.
2017 Prediction: 3rd
2017 Finish: 3rd
Review: Like in the under 13’s, the Diggers under 11’s side went out of the 2017 finals in straight sets dropping games to Narooma and Bermagui. The Diggers will be disappointed with the way their year finished with the side kept to one goal in the finals after finishing minor premiers. With a 12-win season, the Diggers finished 1 game clear of both the Lions and Diggers with both losses coming against the Lions by a point on both occasions. One of the finds of the season was Digger Walter Blewitt who was electric in 2017. Although one of the shortest players on the team, Blewitt had a knack of finding the ball and utilising his speed to get away from his opposition. Other notable players for the Diggers in 2017 were Blake Jansen, Tom Miller, Angus Kew and Sam Hsiao who all had outstanding seasons for the Diggers in gaining the minor premiership. With a great auskick program and junior set up look for the Diggers to once again compete in the under 11’s in 2018 although their task will be much harder with a handful of players going up into the 13’s.
Key Player: Beau Bennett, Bennett led the league at under 11 level in 2017 claiming best and fairest at league and club level whilst also claiming the Diggers goal kicking award. Was superb as school football level, representing the South Coast in Parkes and is one of a number of quality juniors coming through the league.