EDFL: Eagles crash, coach departs

CRAIGIEBURN’S winless season moved a step closer to mathematical relegation at the weekend as Paul Barnard stepped away from the club as senior coach.

The Eagles remain three games and more than 26 per cent adrift on the bottom of Essendon District Football League premier division after a 45-point loss to Essendon Doutta Stars at the weekend.

Barnard and Craigieburn agreed on the terms of his departure during the week, including coaching at the weekend before giving the club the split-round weekend to sort out a succession plan.

Craigieburn club president Shane Wilmott told the EDFL Show on North West FM that an interim coach had yet to be appointed.

The Eagles have a core of senior AFL experience including Angelo Lekkas, Steven Baker and reigning Reynolds medallist Barry Brooks.

The Eagles have been significantly off the pace through their 13 consecutive losses, with the closest margin of defeat 38 points against Aberfeldie in round six.

Relegation appears almost certain for Craigieburn given three of its last five matches are against top four opposition – Aberfeldie, Greenvale and undefeated Strathmore.

In division 1, luckless Hadfield managed to lose ground in the top four race in spite of holding West Coburg to a draw.

The Hawks are the only team to have defeated ladder leader Airport West this season and led all afternoon against the Burgers, only to draw 12.8 (80) to 11.14 (80).

The draw means Hadfield (7-5-1) is now a game and a half off the top four pace of Glenroy (9-4).

Glenroy beat Westmeadows and Tullamarine (9-4) defeated Roxburgh Park to be separated from fourth to fifth by less than two percentage points.

The Demons’ 142-point win against the Magpies was the last chance for division 1 teams to pad the percentage before the league split.

Roxburgh Park is now officially a top four team in division 2 in spite of its two-and-11 record.

The Magpies start life in the newly formed division 2 this weekend against ladder leader East Keilor.