By Mikayla van Loon
When it gets to the end of a football season, relegation is just a part of playing the game.
But for Lilydale Football Club’s seniors, who finished the shortened season off second from the bottom, potentially being relegated seems like an unfair way to end the year.
Head coach Luke McCormick said initially the Eastern Football Netball League (EFNL) were planning on relegating two teams but it could end up being only one or none at all.
“As far as we understand we won’t be relegated and given the year that it has been, it would be pretty harsh if they did but at the same time, it’s out of our control and we’re still not 100 per cent sure what the league is going to do,” he said.
Understanding that relegation is a possibility for the Falcons, McCormick said the team is looking to 2022 with an ‘it is what it is’ attitude but he is hopeful the team will be able to prove themselves in division one next season.
“Ultimately, in the second half of this year, we were still competitive at times. Yes there were some big losses to the top sides because there is a big gap between the top half and the bottom half of division one but we still beat Montrose and we were still being competitive,” McCormick said.
“What we’ve been able to do and one big positive of lockdown or the season having its breaks was that we were able to do some sessions and focus on game sense and simulation and teaching the boys how to play at that level.”
McCormick coached a number of the younger team members at Eastern Ranges, including young gun Beau Mitchener, who has just signed on as playing assistant.
“He’s got a great footy brain and he always looked like he wanted to get involved in the coaching side of things down the track and I just thought ‘why not’.
“I started my coaching journey as a playing assistant as many have and the earlier you can do that, you can have a stronger connection with the players on the ground or from coach to player when you do have players that are part of the coaching group when they’re out on the ground.”
The Falcons are also hoping to bring on another integral player as a playing assistant for the 2022 season but nothing has been confirmed as yet.
Many senior players have already resigned for next year, with McCormick saying there is the possibility of a few more experienced guys also coming onboard.
“But even if that doesn’t all happen, because it doesn’t always happen that way, I think these young guys, with the experience they got this year and then with another preseason under their belt, are going to step up to division one.”
While the club is keeping sign ons close to the chest, McCormick is confident that this young side will be ready to play division one football should the league keep the fixture as is.
“There’s nothing for me to tell in terms of sign ons from outside the club because obviously the season was still going until now.
“What I’ve experienced in the second half of the year being around the footy club is they are, yes young but all very excited, they are keen to learn, they’re looking forward to next year and from that point of view, I think we’ve got a good chance of doing well in division one.”