Future looks bright for Werribee

It's season over for Werribee. (Belinda Vitacca Photography)

Tara Murray

Werribee is proud of its Victorian Football League season despite a deflating end to a season that promised so much hope.

With the latest lockdown continuing on longer than expected, Werribee’s hopes of a finals spot were dashed when the regular season was brought to an early end.

Werribee coach Michael Barlow said there was a bit of sense of what might have been if they had the chance to continue the season.

The side finished ninth, with the top eight teams playing finals,

“It is a bit deflating for the club,” he said.

“We were fairly confident in what we could put together. We are disappointed in the nature of the season that we couldn’t put it all together.”

With most of the group having not played football for 18 months heading into the season, Barlow said Werribee was given a quick reality check, with several sides having AFL-listed players.

It meant the side was behind many of the other sides before the first siren.

“That lack of continuity did show and it took two to three weeks of legitimate VFL fixtures to get that confidence up,“ Barlow said.

Barlow said the final win against the Northern Bullants was a good way to end the season.

He said the positivity Werribee would take out of that would flow into next year.

Chief executive Mark Penaluna said the club was really proud of the season.

“Overall, from where we’ve come and from the changing nature of the competition, as well as having a season off last year, and we’re playing against all the AFL clubs… to finish ninth with the fourth highest percentage is something to be really proud of,“ he said.

“We beat Richmond here by 80 points and had an average winning margin of 67 points. We lost three games by 10 points or less, we thought we were up for it.”

For Penaluna, while it was good to see the playing group back on the field, some of the highlights had come behind the scenes.

He said to be in and around the club in the hustle and bustle with each other’s company was enjoyable.

“One of the nights that really struck a chord for me was when we invited the Werribee Districts under-14s to train on the oval before us.

“Each of the kids came in and joined as [coach] Michael Barlow did a players’ review and he got those kids to be involved in the review and talked through it.

“There was just the whole sense of club and purpose.“

He said having fans and volunteers back at the club was also special.

Both Barlow and Penaluna are busy behind the scenes planning for next season.

“A lot of the stuff we’re doing is really exciting,“ Barlow said, who will do his first full pre-season as coach.

“We’ve got a good framework for next year. We have learnt along the way and we want to improve the program. We’ll have some announcements in the foreseeable future about players re-signing.

“For me half the work is getting the right people in place and I feel like we do.“