Undefeated Eagles face fierce challenges

April 07, 2017

Shepparton East led the pack last season in the Picola District Football League south-east competition, but it definitely will not be an easy feat to back it up.

The Eagles did exceptionally well at the back end of 2015, signing four GVFL regulars from Shepparton United, and other clubs may have followed suit in recruiting big this off-season.

Let us start off with Rennie.

Nobody, including new Grasshoppers coach Craig Ednie, knows what to expect from the new-look side.

Rennie has recruited more than 20 senior footballers, including 12 from Ovens & Murray powerhouse Yarrawonga. We might even see former Carlton legend Brendan Fevola out there for a game or two.

Then there is last season’s runner-up, Tungamah. The wounded Bears will be looking to reign supreme in the competition once more.

Co-coaches Jeremy O’Brien and Nick Doyle have brought back eight former premiership stars who are set to feature for the club this season.

Despite finishing seventh last season, Dookie United will hope to be in the mix as it welcomes back three key players from long-term injuries.

United coach Patrick McMullan will be hoping that the return of his brother Brendan, Andy O’Connor and key forward Jacob Crowe will see the club bounce back up the ladder.

Reigning Pearce medallist Eamon Reeves will be hoping to lead on the field as Daniel Burness takes charge from the boundary out at Katunga.

Not much has changed apart from two inclusions, but Burness is relatively confident that new recruit Daniel Waterman can hold his own down the back.

The Swans have been crying out for a key defensive pillar and Waterman might be the man to fill that void.

Meanwhile down at Katamatite, the Tigers will be aiming to build on their sixth-place finish, but that must come from within because co-coaches Tyler Sprunt and Matt Dwyer have failed to sign any notable additions this summer.

The ever-present Tigers cannot be written off though as they aim for a fourth straight finals campaign, while Waaia and Katandra will be thereabouts again this year.

Not much has changed at Shepparton East, but there is no need to change a winning formula — or is there? The Eagles will be the hunted in what shapes to be the most even south-east competition in recent years.

Adem Barolli

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