When Weston Creek football club left the AFL Canberra competition at the end of the 2007 season, its players were seen heading either to Ainslie or Eastlake to continue playing footy. Matthew Dean was amongst those players who had to choose a new club, and nearly two years on he would have to be happy with his choice. Eastlake.
Dean, 23, says in the end the decision was made easy for a number of reasons. “About 10 guys went to Ainslie” he recalls, “but I had a couple of good mates at Eastlake and their culture drew me to them.”
Dean isn’t the only one happy with his choice of club either. Keith Miller, Eastlake Football Operations Manager say’s Matthew has been a fantastic acquisition to the club and has been a significant reason for the clubs stellar season thus far. Playing as a small forward in a dominant side, Dean sees a lot of the footy but he is adamant that his role within the team involves much more than chipping in with one or two goals a week.
“The coach doesn’t always expect me to score” he explains, “He’s more concerned that I chase, tackle, harass and create lots of forward pressure” It seems Dean has relished this role, kicking 15 goals in the opening ten rounds of the season including a handy four goals against Ainslie earlier in the year.
Dean spoke to the AFL Canberra Record prior to the top of the table clash between Eastlake and Belconnen (played last weekend) and said the magpies were going to be a lot harder to beat the second time around. “Belconnen have been in great form lately, and I’d imagine they would be really keen to knock us off” Dean said. “Everybody gets up to play us because we’re the top side.”
As it turned out Belconnen had their revenge on Eastlake despite a five goal to nil first quarter, sending Eastlake to second on the ladder on percentage. Eastlake and Belconnen will face each other again this season in round 15 and one can only feel they will play yet again in the finals, providing a perfect stage for a young opportunist like Matthew Dean to create something special.