2024 Senior Men’s Good Friday Preview

Published on Thursday, March 28, 2024

We’re just one day away from the opening matches of the 2024 NFNL senior men’s season, and we’ll be treated to two highly anticipated Good Friday clashes to kick off the campaign.

Greensborough vs Eltham

The ‘traditional’ Good Friday clash returns for the first time since 2017 as the Boro and Panthers do battle at Greensborough War Memorial Park.

These two sides produced a nail-biting contest in their last meeting at this ground seven years ago, as Eltham held off a seven goal to two Greensborough run in the second half to prevail by just four points.

That defeat to Eltham on Good Friday in 2017 is the only time the Boro has tasted defeat in their opening game of the season for 14 years, a record they will be hopeful of keeping intact tomorrow.

Greensborough will undoubtably boast an impressive defensive unit again, headlined by captain Jack Johnston and young star Angus Seivers, while the return of 2022 leading goalkicker Zak McCubbin will be a welcome inclusion to a forward line that ranked eighth in total points for last season.

After missing finals for the first time since 2013 last year, the Boro look to be entering a new era, with 2014 club premiership co-captain Matthew Hyde set to lead his side out for the first time as senior men’s coach on Good Friday.

Greensborough’s other co-captain in that premiership triumph will return to the club for the first time since that campaign but will be watching from the opposing coach’s box.

Tim Bongetti was determined to get the Panthers back to playing top flight football when he joined the club as player-coach 12 months ago, and Friday will see him achieve that goal following Eltham’s Division 2 premiership success.

While there’s expected to be quite a few changes from that flag winning squad in this game, Eltham will plan to boast some new faces, including Jaden Collins (Montmorency), James Marchbank (Diamond Creek) and Ben Quaynor (Doncaster East).

They will also still have plenty of their premiership stars at their disposal, with 2023 Team of the Year members Declan Ayres, Jesse Donaldson and Jason McCormick eager to help the Panthers produce their fifth consecutive Good Friday victory.

With sunny conditions forecasted, you can bank on a massive crowd at Greensborough War Memorial Park to witness these two sides resume hostilities to open the 2024 season.

Lalor vs Epping

Next door neighbours Lalor and Epping have the task of commencing the 2024 Heidelberg Golf Club Division 3 campaign, with plenty of intrigue surrounding the year’s both these sides will produce.

There’s no hiding from the fact that the Bloods have struggled on field in recent years, still yet to register a win since 2021, however there seems to be plenty of promise that improvement is on the horizon for the club in 2024.

That hype started after Lalor announced the appointment of Lance Whitnall as senior men’s coach, with the former Carlton star wasting no time in building his list for the upcoming campaign.

New names to keep an eye out include Hayden Hunt, who won North Heidelberg’s reserves best & fairest last year and comes to the club with almost 200 matches of senior/reserves/Under-19.5’s experience with the Bulldogs and Eltham.

Others such as the Bloods’ last Team of the Year representative Sam Rexhepi, and Preston Bullants defender Nathan Parkes will also be key pillars in the Lalor rebuild.

Epping return to Division 3 after a one-win campaign last season, however a strong recruiting spree puts the Blues in good stead to make their stay in this competition a short one.

Adrian Alfonsi (Watsonia) will aim to lead the way up forward after a terrific stint with the Saints while Sebastian Latina (Macleod) returns to his junior club to play a key role in the middle.

Speaking of returns, Epping have welcomed back multiple former players in 2024, including Adrian Cirianni (Northcote Park), Jaedyn Kearney (Old Eltham Collegians), Corey Middleton (Eltham), James Tadd (Northcote Park) and Dallace Taylor (Northcote Park), each able to have an impact on the senior side this year.

The inclusions of the above talent alongside experienced duo Leigh Judd and Luke Lirosi, will aid the Blues in contending for this year’s premiership.

Tomorrow will make it 3514 days since these two sides last met, which was back in Round 17, 2014, and while there have been vast changes to the landscape of both sides since then, expect the cross-town rivalry to still be on show in front of a healthy Lalor Reserve crowd.

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