West juniors a shining light
Friday, 7th September, 2018
By Tyler Hannigan
While it was a brutal season for the West seniors, their juniors were fantastic in winning the under 13s, 15s and 18s.
The Robins had to do it the hard way in all the junior grades as they were forced to win their way through the prelims in all grades but did so and proved too strong in the grand finals as well.
Another bright spot for the club was their women’s side who won three games and were in the finals hunt up until late in the season before falling short. If they can keep the core of the squad together for 2019 then a finals berth won’t be too far away.
While their juniors were great and the women solid, there wasn’t much to write home about for West’s performance in the League and Reserves.
The Robins picked up only the one win in the seniors, round four against Central, but lost their other 14 games by an average of 82 points and failed to win a game in the reserves in a season that also included two forfeits.
A rare highlight for the seniors was round eight against North when AFL legend Jason Akermanis lined up for the side. West pushed North all the way that day, eventually losing by 29 points but failed to carry that momentum on in the second half of the year.
West’s season fell in a heap at round 10 as coach Phil Bell was suspended for abusing an umpire and was replaced by interim coach Nathan Pearce for the remaining five games.
West’s Young Guns - Rather than just one player, West were well-served by a number of juniors and young players.
Players like Jake Trengove, Brock Ellis, Bailey Beattie and Bryce Cieslik played a lot of senior football whilst also winning the Under 18s premiership.
Throw into that the likes of Jayden Sutton, as well as Danyon McLachlan-Menz and Jack Burke who didn’t play League football but will in coming seasons, and there is a core of young talent that can drive the team forward.
A special mention must also go to skipper Liam King who continues to play at a high standard in a struggling side and had another great year.
Nathan Greenshields - Greenshields was superb for West as an experienced, highly skilled midfielder who played 13 of a possible 15 games. He can find plenty of the football and uses it very well, offering great support to King in the middle.
Greenshields also represented the Northern Zone in the country championships alongside fellow Robin Jake Trengove and was named on the wing in the AFLBH League team of the year.
The Rising Star:
Josh Cieslik - He’s a little older than the aforementioned group of Trengove, Beattie, Ellis and co. but Cieslik is one of the players that can lead West out of the wilderness.
His late season form was fantastic with his strong marking at centre-halfback a real strength. If Cieslik can have a solid preseason and improve his disposal then he could be a star of the competition in coming years.
Judd Carpenter - Very dependable defender capable of playing on all manner of opponents.
Cowen Smith - Runs hard and battles all day whether on a wing or up forward.
Matt Nelson - The veteran ruckman played all 15 games and continues to put his body on the line.