Pre-season prediction: Fifth
Position: Fifth (8 wins, 2 draws, 6 losses, -1 goal difference)
In short: It’s easy to forget this was Yenda’s first year back in the GDFA first grade for a while. That’s testament to just how quickly the Tigers were able to get everything together. But after spending most of the season camped in the top three, missing out on finals will have left a sour taste.
What went right: The fact that Yenda was competitive at all is a credit to the club’s committee and coaching staff. After a poor display at the Real Juice Cup, there were worries the Tigers would be toothless. They weren’t, and they added plenty to the competition.
What went wrong: When it came to taking on the big sides, Yenda was simply woeful, falling 6-0 and 5-0 to Yoogali SC and 8-0 and 5-0 to Hanwood FC. In the penultimate round, with finals on the line, they dropped another big one, losing 3-0 to Yoogali FC. The Tigers’ lofty ambition simply didn’t match their ability this season.
Best win: The Tigers sent shockwaves through the competition in round 2 with a 5-0 rout of defending champions Hanwood Juniors, who at that stage were still tipped to be finals contenders, not the wooden spoon candidates they ended up as.
Worst loss: Take your pick. For sheer numbers it has to be the 8-0 defeat to Hanwood – that was at Wade Park, too. But that doesn’t even compare to the 5-0 YSC result, which came after KitKat-gate, the story that sent Griffith’s footballing community into a collective fit of laughter for a solid week.
Best player: Kevin O’Driscoll and skipper James Trevers were huge for Yenda this year, but there was a strong core of players – Matthew Arnold, Ethan Murphy, Eoghan Doody and Rhys Jones, among others – who shared the load in this department.
Leading goalscorer: Eoghan Doody and Luke Foscarini tied for the honour with 10 goals apiece. The highly-rated Matthew Arnold was one behind –together, the trio accounted for two thirds of Yenda’s goals in 2013.
Moving forward: Difficult to say, given many of the Tigers players this season were backpackers who could be here today, gone tomorrow. In an ideal world, the entire squad stays on and steps up next year as a collective, but time will tell.
Grade: B-. Can’t really ask for much more from a debut season in the top flight, even if internal expectations were of a finals berth. It could have easily happened and probably should have, but there’s plenty to work with at Wade Park.