Season Preview: Eastlake
The Demons will be hoping to improve on 2012, but will their bunch of young recruits do the job is the real questions?
2012 Ladder position: 4th
Eastlake had a strong season last year, their eleven wins granting them a finals berth. Consistent without being outstanding, losing big man Chad Gibson through injury for a number of weeks hurt the side, so did the inconsistent performance of forward Aaron Bruce.
Late season losses to Queanbeyan and Belconnen hurt the Demons in the run up to the finals. They struggled against top sides, but at the same time were a step above the likes of the Hills Eagles and Belconnen. A great mark in the Semi Final against Ainslie when the game was all locked upped saw Aaron Bruce kick a point and win the game but that was where their season would end as they faced a rampant Queanbeyan.
Competition for the 4th and 5th spots on the ladder is heating up this year. Belconnen will enjoy a number of quality ins while the Giants will be far more competitive and the Hills Eagles will be looking to back up a strong debut season in the NEAFL.
This means that the Demons will need to be more competitive against the Swans and Ainslie if they want to remain where they were on the ladder.
The loss of Tom Ayton and Jason Ainsworth will really hurt Eastlake. A positive is that they have recruited well from the under-18s competition, and will look for rising stars Carney, Catlin and Drummond to make an impact as soon as they can.
Former Sydney Swans player Matt O’Dwyer will bring plenty of experience and should add some depth to the side. If injury rears its ugly head a lack of depth in talls could be exposed, which would push Eastlake down the ladder.
With many other teams adding lots of strength to their list, the Demons could potentially miss the finals this year if they can not get everything right for round 1, but don’t expect them to go down without a fight.
2013 Ladder prediction: 7th