Fiji, favourites and famers

The boys discuss who they would like to nominate for a local sport Hall of Fame. 320081

DAVE: Hi boys, it’s good to be back after a couple of weeks lazing away in Fiji. I did rush back when I saw that you blokes removed my photo from the top of the Let’s Talk Sport page…it was time to restore some order.

MARCUS: They were very specific instructions for the design crew; get Dave’s photo off the page because he’s not here.

DAVE: Fair enough too. This time last week I was sitting on a bamboo raft heading towards a waterfall for a swim, but it’s good to be back discussing sport with you two young guns.

MARCUS: You’d rather be here wouldn’t you?

DAVE: 100-percent. Marcus, Best Action for the Week was your invention, so kick us off with your best action from the weekend.

MARCUS: Best action from me goes to Cam Miller, in his first game for Berwick Springs, for an incredible run-down tackle against Gembrook-Cockatoo. It was in the last quarter, Berwick Springs was still ahead – but the Brookers had kicked the first two after three-quarter time and looked set to kick a third. But Miller stuck the tackle, just getting hold of the jumper and bringing his opponent down, stopping the shot at goal. Miller has come from Narre Warren to be a leader in the back half for Berwick Springs, and that tackle showed his experience and credentials in one moment.

DAVE: Jonty, what have you got for us mate?

JONTY: Malik Colvin-Seldon, playing for Pakenham Warriors at Cardinia Life on Saturday night. The Warriors had a thrilling win, winning in overtime after coming from behind in the last quarter. The real turning point was with 4.44 to go, with Camberwell up by three points and with possession. Malik produced a decisive steal then ran the length of the court for a simple lay-up to cut the margin to one. It brought the house down and was a real momentum-shifter. Camberwell kicked out to a small lead a few times after that, but it just felt like Pakenham was going to win. From that point forward, after his steal, Malik scored 17 of his 39 points and really came up clutch. He showed why Pakenham was so keen to get him as an import.

DAVE: Great stuff Jonty. Boys, Nar Nar Goon made a statement on the weekend, trouncing Phillip Island by 49 points. I said about a month ago on this page that the Goon look primed to win a premiership this year; the build-up looks perfect. One of the reasons for that is the return of Ryan Bromley from Berwick, a dashing half-back flanker with a lethal left-foot. There was a stoppage on the wing in the first quarter, Bromley just sat off the pack and hit the contest at full pace, took three bounces, and just missed an early contender for goal of the year. Even though he missed, it just encapsulated the way the Goon will play its footy this year; exciting and dashing…so Ryan Bromley gets my best action for the week.


DAVE: Boys, Cardinia Cricket Club has just appointed Mark Cooper as captain-coach for the 2024/25 season. Coops came from the MPCA to fill the same role at Cardinia almost two decades ago; he went to Kooweerup, to Carrum, to Langwarrin and has spent the last couple of seasons at Beaconsfield…but now returns to Gunton Oval to lead the Bulls. My question is; who else out there would like to see return to their former club?

JONTY: (Silence….umm…umm…umm).

DAVE: Are you okay mate?

JONTY: I didn’t prepare for this topic, I prepared for something else.

DAVE: Okay, let rip, what have you got?

JONTY: I thought you wanted like a fairytale story in sport, rather than a favourite son returning and my fairytale would be Devon Meadows winning the premiership this year. They’ve been battlers in the MPFNL for a long time; have never really thrown a punch, but built nicely last year and gained a bit of respect by winning their first final since the turn of the century. They’re the real deal this year, they’ve got a real killer-instinct, and I’d love to see them deliver because their list is probably the best in what is a very competitive MPFNL Division Two competititon.

DAVE: Completely off track, but nice work. Marcus, please tell me you’ve studied the right topic?

MARCUS: I’ll let you be the judge, Dave. Gembrook-Cockatoo is already living it, with the senior coaching tenure of a former junior in Michael Firrito. He’s pulled the boots on again this season, but his first game as senior coach on Saturday resulted in his first win, which was great to see. Another one is Brett Forsyth; if he decides to return to Springvale South when he eventually retires from Premier Cricket, which would see three brothers in the same team – that would be pretty spectacular. The other one, still on the cricket front, is Ruwantha Kellapotha. The 2020/21 Wookey Medal winner at Berwick, now in his early thirties, is playing good cricket for Casey South-Melbourne – but if he decided to come back to Berwick he would be a massive handful with his leggies and big-hitting.

DAVE: Great stuff. The two best full-forwards in West Gippsland at the moment, Nathan Gardiner and Dermott Yawney, have both been recruited from other clubs and would have a huge impact if they decided to return home. Yawney would transform Pakenham into a real danger in Outer East with high-marking and athleticism, while ‘Gards’ would be the perfect fit for Cranbourne now that Marc Holt has moved on. I’m sure I’ve annoyed people at Cora Lynn and Nar Nar Goon by saying this, but those two would be great fits for their former clubs. Chris Smith, who won his third Terry Stephenson Medal on the weekend, started his career at Pakenham Upper Toomuc, and wouldn’t the Yabbies love to have him back after a 1000-run season. Russell Lehman, he was at Catani at the same time that Smith was at the Yabbies – and it would be nice to see him finish off his career in navy blue colours. But welcome back to the CCCA ‘Coops’ – I’m sure you’ll have a massive impact on the landscape at Cardinia.


DAVE: Boys, as I just mentioned, Chris Smith won his third ‘Stevo’ on the weekend, which I think would qualify him as a great nomination for local sport Hall of Fame. Marcus, who would like to nominate for a local sport Hall of Fame?

MARCUS: I touched on him in the previous segment, but Brett Forsyth has as good a claim as anyone. When he finishes his Premier Cricket career, he’ll be one of the best to have ever played. Multiple Team of the Year selections, two Jack Ryder Medals, an all-time great at the highest level of cricket in Victoria. In a similar vein, also at Dandenong, is Warren Ayres. No one has made more runs in Victorian Premier Cricket and his record is phenomenal. Debuted at 16, four Team of the Year selections, two Ryder Medals – seven seasons apart – and 2000 runs more than the next highest scorer in the competition. He’s made the most hundreds, with 41, and the second most fifties with 73.

DAVE: I used to love watching him bat, he made it look so easy and I often think about why he didn’t make it through to the Australian team. He was an absolute gun…great call Marcus.

MARCUS: And one more; Jackson Sketcher, he’s primarily known for what he’s done in the footy space, but he’s a very underrated cricketer and I’d love to see how far he could go if put one of those sports to one side and dedicated himself totally to the other.

JONTY: Kyle Martin, Sketcher’s Noble Park teammate could be another.

MARCUS: Certainly, he’s a bit ‘out of sight, out of mind’ at the moment, but those would sit comfortably in a Hall of Fame.

JONTY: The first one that came to mind was Matt Peake, from Endeavour Hills. He was there when the club first started, they’re a young club the Falcons, and was there through the teething issues that all young clubs have. He’s very organised, a great leader, and coached Endeavour Hills to its first-ever premiership last year. He’ll be held in very high regard for a very long time at that club. And Brandon and Glenn Osborne, they speak for themselves at Cranbourne. Coach Steve O’Brien always talks about how Brandon is the best defender he has ever coached, an absolute warrior, and his brother is also a highly-regarded member of that footy club.

DAVE: One of the biggest adversaries of Cranbourne and the Osborne boys was Michael Collins from Narre Warren, who is my first nomination. In his prime, he was ruthless; 105 kgs, six foot three, a strong and courageous midfielder who used his body as a battering ram. Another one is Ryan Hammond from Drouin Golf Club. He’s won 11 club championships, something ridiculous like that, and plays off a handicap of plus-three or four…he’s a superstar golfer on a local level. Renee Pilkington, a netballer from Inverloch-Kongwak (IK), she’s won three league best and fairests since the WGFNC started in 2017, and Andy Soumilas, a four-time league best and fairest winner at Garfield, Drouin and IK, is another that would sit very comfortably in a local sport Hall of Fame. There’s certainly no shortage of sports stars from around this region.

JONTY: And across a wide array of sports.


DAVE: Boys, has anything happened over the first couple of weeks to sway your thinking about your early predictions for this year?

JONTY: I touched on Endeavour Hills and Matt Peake before, but the Falcons have chalked up early wins over Highett and Skye and look competitive in the higher division. I thought they would struggle with the step up, especially because they never recruited that well, but they’re gelling really well and have built a chemistry that might take them a lot further than first thought. They’re all accustomed to each other and they rate that as a three-to-four goal advantage each week. They don’t play pretty, they grind and they’re gritty, but Endeavour Hills is going to be a good watch this year.

MARCUS: Not too much has changed in the opening round of Outer East footy to sway my thoughts. I had Narre Warren on a slight skid, but from what they showed in round one that they’re not going away. Berwick Springs might struggle a little more than first thought with news that Hayden Stagg has done his ACL and will miss the entire season. Coming into the season he was rated as their best player and a prime mover through the midfield. The step up to premier Division was going to be a challenge for the Titans to begin with, but his absence is going to make it even tougher.

DAVE: We never like to hear news of our local stars going down with serious injuries – that sucks. As I said earlier boys, I think Nar Nar Goon is going to be the big challenger to Inverloch-Kongwak this year, and their performance on Saturday confirmed that. Probably the biggest early-season mover is Cora Lynn. The Cobras pushed IK in the season opener a fortnight back and then had a gutsy win over Tooradin on Saturday night. The big question heading in was how much impact was Jimmy Munro going to have on Cora Lynn; and the answer to that is HUGE. He was best on ground on the weekend, and appears to have transformed the Cobras from the fifth best side in the competition into a genuine top-three contender. Will Stephenson is a handy pick-up, and the return of Jaxon Briggs is enormous, but Munro just brings some real grunt to the contest and is going to be huge for Shaun Sparks this season. Alright boys, that’s it…it’s time to give the design department a call and get my ugly head back on that banner.