Eventual premier Sunbury aside, Burnside Heights was the big winner of the 2019 Strathmore Community Bank Division 2 season, earning its maiden finals berth in senior men's ranks.
Led by powerful forward Josh Covelli, the Bears won their first five games of the year and went on to defeat every club, bar the undefeated Sunbury Kangaroos, at least once by season's end.
Burnside Heights continued its historic run into the finals series by toppling Coburg Districts by 40 points in the knockout semi, before going down to Moonee Valley in the Preliminary Final the following week.
BEST & FAIREST TOP FIVE
1st - Adam Sullivan
2nd - Jordan Hughes
3rd - Anthony Fawcus
4th - Josh Covelli
5th - Nick Morda
GOAL KICKING TOP FIVE
62 - Josh Covelli
42 - Anthony Fawcus
39 - Matthew Peterlechner
23 - Adam Sullivan
15 - Vincent Angelone
DIVISION TWO LEADING GOAL KICKER AWARD
STRATHMORE COMMUNITY BANK DIVISION TWO TEAM OF THE YEAR
Anthony Fawcus (half forward flank)
Josh Covelli (forward pocket)
Adam Sullivan (interchange)
Coach: Aidan Stott (5th season)
LIST CHANGES / LODGED TRANSFERS
In: Matthew Marshall & Robert Nikolic (both St Albans), Nathan Mosely (Lake Boga), Nathan Jenkinson (Yarraville Seddon), Adam Imber (Westbourne Grammarians), Matthew Maxfield (Craigieburn), Adam Imber & Luke Vella (both Westbourne Grammarians), Aaron Verrocchi (Melton Centrals), Darren Saad (Northern Saints), Matthew Marshall & Jake Galea (St Albans)
Out: Rhys Bucktin & Nick McArthur (both Braybrook), David Scholes (Rockbank), Perenara Akuhata (Colac Imperials), Mathew Labanie (St Albans), Patrick McDonald, Jacob Kamprod, Jake Klein, Kyall Parker, Dylan Licitra, Malcolm Henrickson, Ryan Cauchi, Jack Agius, Blake Brigham & Brendan Nunn (all Sunshine Heights)
EDFL MEDIA SAYS
With all of its core group intact, there's no reason why Burnside Heights shouldn't again be contending for a flag this year, but they will be trying to avoid an East Sunbury-like slide in Season 2020.
Last year's success will now increase our expectations for these Bears, so the onus will be on their leaders, including Josh Covelli, Anthony Fawcus, Adam Sullivan and Nick Morda, to lead the way and absorb the heat during the year.
Anything short of another finals berth would be considered below par and if they can reach the post-season, then having had the experience of playing in two finals last year will hold the Bears in good stead this time around.