East Sunbury’s flag hopes still alive

Kamen Ogilvie in action for East Sunbury. (Shawn Smits)

East Sunbury has finished a shortened division 2 Essendon District Football League season in fourth place and will have to beat top side Moonee Valley if it wants a chance at this year’s premiership.

On August 18, the EDFL announced that the rest of the regular season would be cancelled in the face of ongoing lockdown restrictions.

In the event that the lockdown is lifted, the finals for seniors will move from a three-week to a two-week structure, with the grand final to be played Saturday, September 18.

East Sunbury coach Glen Hopkins said he hopes everyone in the league can get some closure on what has been a challenging year.

“We’re just trying to keep our players motivated as much as possible, giving them exercises and asking them to share with the group on socials,” he said.

“It’s going to be a fine line as to whether it does or it doesn’t go ahead.

Hopkins said there was some concern the players would be underdone if the league restarted, as many have been unable to complete match simulation for over a month.

“We just have to adapt to the conditions around us and be ready if we get our chance,” he said.

Despite the delay to the season, East Sunbury will carry confidence from a four-game winning streak that saw it confirm a finals berth, finishing the season with six wins and five losses.

East Sunbury defeated Burnside Heights in its last match on July 31, when Cooper Mcpharlane booted three goals to take his tally to 44 for the season.

But Hopkins’ side has had less success against the top three sides, Coburg Districts (third), Oak Park (second) and Moonee Valley (first), losing to each team in the regular season.

They last faced Moonee Valley in round five, going down 68 to 127 to the eventual minor premiers.

But Hopkins said in a season defined by change, even an unlikely finals win is possible.

“[Before lockdown] we were going well and our players were on a high,” Hopkins said.

“All of our players will certainly be healthy for finals which we haven’t had all season, so the other teams haven’t seen us at full strength.”

Oliver Lees