Controversy won’t distract Towners

Lui Zacher
September 9, 2022 / 12:03 am

NEWTOWN & Chilwell coach Damien McMahon says the club’s reserve grade team being stripped of its second semi-final win for fielding an ineligible player hasn’t been a distraction as the Eagles prepare for Saturday’s preliminary final meeting with Leopold.

McMahon says he and president Shaun McWilliam addressed the issue at recovery on Monday night before the focus turned to booking a first GFNL grand final berth since 2015 – and just the club’s second at senior level since winning its last premiership in 1986.

“Myself and Shaun discussed it at length and answered some questioat everyone had,” McMahon said. “We were transparent with the group, and to our players’ credit, they’ve moved on really quickly.

“We had a great session on Tuesday nigut at Deakin, and there was a really good vibe amongst the group.

“They understand that no one deliberately did this – it was something that was certainly not planned.

“Let’s get on with business, do what they’ve done over the last couple of weeks, and that’s beat the opposition in front of them.”

Newtown & Chilwell won both meetings with the Lions in 2022.

In Round 2, the Eagles kept Leopold at arms’ length for the afternoon to record a 20-point win at Elderslie Reserve.

While in Round 13, McMahon’s men came out in front by five points in an arm-wrestle at Memorial Park.

Both teams will have a different look about them to the last clash on July 9.

“Probably the key change from last time we played them is (Logan) Wagener and Ollie Tate are playing,” McMahon said.

“We know they are both accomplished VFL players and mature bodies and heads. That adds a little bit more potency to their team.

“On the flip side, we had some players that didn’t play in that last game that will be playing against Leopold.

“I’d like to think they’ll be playing their best team, and we’ll be doing the same.”

For the third consecutive week, Newtown & Chilwell has selected the same 22, with Harrison Orr, Connor Fopiani and Liam Fiore again the emergencies.

Despite last week’s 30-point second semi-final loss to St Mary’s, McMahon is comfortable that lineup can earn another shot at the Saints in the decider.

“Trying to keep it settled as best we can,” he said. It wasn’t like we played badly last week; it wasn’t why we lost.

“We didn’t capitalise in the first quarter.

“When you look at the statistics of the game, they were all very even other than the scoreboard.

“I don’t think there’s any need for us to make any major changes based on last week’s game.”

Leopold is set to retain the team that defeated Colac by 70 points in the first semi-final.

James Edmonds, who was a late inclusion at the expense of Rob Maibaum, has retained his spot.

Maibaum is an emergency, along with Luke Justin and Dylan O’Brien.


Image: Newtown & Chilwell coach Damien McMahon. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)