Eagles take big step forward

Eynesbury's club 18s side (supplied)

Tara Murray

Massive steps were taken for Eynesbury’s senior program with the club making it through to the Riddell District Football League Club 18s grand final.

After first fielding an open age side in COVID-19 shortened season last year, the Eagles made it through to the RDFL’s thirds competition grand final on Friday night in their first full season.

While they lost to St Albans, 13.8 (86)-4.5 (29), the Eagles were thrilled with how far they’ve come this year.

Co-coach Brad Zahra said they didn’t expect to go as well as they had this year.

“It’s amazing,” he said before the grand final.

“Last year we had an older group. This year we had a few younger ones, 18, 19 and even one 17-year-old come and join.

“They’re all from the local community and wanted to play. They made a big difference. We had a really nice mix of young and old.

“It’s a fair effort from a small community.”

Zahra said they had about 30 players in their squad and had a good number at training each week.

He said the results are a credit to the way that the team has been put together.

“When the team was put together we pretty much didn’t know if we were going to get a team together,” he said

“We said come to training and see where it ended up. To have 35 blokes from the community it’s massive for the area.”

With the club finally having proper facilities in Eynesbury to use, it was allowing the community to come down and share the enjoyment. He said they were getting 500 people at games.

While they’ve tasted some success with the thirds side, Zahra said they were still a bit off getting seniors, reserves and under-19s football sides.

The club has been growing their junior football and netball programs since the club started in 2015.

“We’ll likely have a few older blokes who will not play on next year,” he said.

“The focus is still on the junior side of things. We had our most teams in the RDFL this year.

“We’re slowly building. Hopefully next year we’ll have two under-9s, under-11s, under-13s, under-15s and most likely under-17s for the first time.

“Seniors and reserves, the plan is to do it, but it’s still a little bit off. More likely in the next three to five years.