Scoring woes continue for Berwick in winless opening to 2024

Tom Brennan continues to shoulder a major workload for Berwick. 243409 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Marcus Uhe

A promising start was not coupled with an equally impressive finish for Berwick in round four of the Eastern Football Netball League’s Premier Division on Saturday as its winless opening to 2024 continued for another week.

The Wickers won the first term against Doncaster East but kicked just two goals beyond that in the remainder of the afternoon to lose by 54 points, 5.2 32 to 13.8 86 at Zerbes Reserve.

Bewick conceded the opening two majors but were back level by the halfway mark thanks to a pair of neat finishes.

Elijah Roewer withstood a rundown tackle to snap truly on his right will being taken to ground to put the Wickers ahead after 20 minutes and give them momentum heading into the first break, but a poor second term outdid their hard work.

Doncaster East kicked two majors in the opening two minutes of the quarter to retake the lead, and a third in the sixth minute had Berwick on the back foot in the blink of an eye.

Hollis kicked his second to offer some respite and stop the Lions’ run at three, but a further two for the home side later in the term was enough to secure a 22-point lead at the long break.

Berwick was then held goelless in the third term, with Sam Hilton-Joyce’s major early in the fourth term breaking a 50 minute goal drought run for the Wickers.

It come son the back of a goal-free second half against Noble Park in round three, and presents arguably the biggest challenge for Clint Evans to address.

Without two of its most prolific goalscorers from 2023 in Charlie Muley (24 goals) and Harrison Money (17), it loomed as an Achilles heel, and four weeks into the season is proving just that.

Doncaster East finished with six players kicking multiple goals, including former Carlton and Brisbane midfielder Tom Bell, who managed two goals.

Tom Brennan and Hilton-Joyce continue to be shining lights for the Wickers, while Cooper Clarke made an impact on senior debut.

Berwick hosts Balwyn next week at Edwin Flack Reserve.

Elsewhere in Premier Division, the undefeated Balwyn inflicted reigning premiers Rowville with its first defeat of its premiership defence, downing the Hawks by 46 points at their nest of Seebeck Oval.

Bad kicking for goal ruined the Hawks afternoon, kicking 8.14 to the Tigers’ supremely accurate 17.6.

Vermont and East Ringwood prevailed in thrillers over Noble Park and Blackburn, respectively, while South Croydon downed Norwood by 40 points to join Berwick as the only other winless side to begin the season.

With two sides relegated from the division at the end of the season, indications suggest it will be Norwood and Berwick fighting for their survival.