Saints in local paper

Heath Decker chases after the ball. Picture: Richard Serong

North Ringwood falls to three-point loss against Eastern Football League powerhouse Vermont

IT WASN’T the result North Ringwood desired, but it could have been the performance that confirmed the Saints as a finals contender.

North Ringwood ran perennial premiership contender Vermont to three points on Saturday, falling to its first loss of the season.

Guy Phelps had a shot in the dying stages from a tight angle in the pocket at Terrara Rd but the ball was touched on the line, leaving Vermont as the only undefeated team in Division 1.

Despite the 14.8 (92) to 14.5 (89) defeat, North Ringwood captain Jack Whelan was encouraged by his side’s efforts against the competition powerhouse.

“We spoke after the game that we didn’t really want to pat ourselves on the back for an honourable loss because at the end of the day they mean nothing,” Whelan said.

“In saying that, there were some positives we took out of the game so I think the fact that we know when we bring that level of intensity and attack on the footy and we can match it with the best.”

Vermont led by 17 points at the final change before North Ringwood almost pulled off a come-from-behind victory.

The Saints kicked five goals to three in the final quarter but just fell short of its first 3-0 start to a season since 2013.

Curtis Dunne was the star up forward with five goals, while key defender Harry Nolan was among the best players in just his third game for the club.

Nolan was one of host of new faces to join the Saints over the summer, with Petracca brothers Julian and Rob, Jayden Hoegel, Mitch Keedle and Matt Cullinan also on the list of additions.

Whelan said belief was building at Quambee Reserve that North Ringwood could challenge for its first finals appearance since 2014, when the Saints won promotion from Division 2.

“I think it is going to be a very even competition but there is a real bit of belief that the group can hopefully snatch a spot in that top five and play some finals footy in first division for the first time in a long time,” Whelan said.

“Moyley (coach Brett Moyle) has said to us a couple of times that he wouldn’t have come back and wouldn’t have given his time to come back if he didn’t think we weren’t going to play finals.

“He’s not coming back to finish seventh or eighth, he’s got a real genuine belief and I think the group is starting to go with him.”

The Vermont clash was the start of a challenging month for North Ringwood, with games against Noble Park, Blackburn and Norwood to come before the interleague bye.