On Sunday, the Tumut Eagles were scheduled to play their first game of the new decade, a new beginning that was meant to introduce a young crop of players and an exciting period for a youthfully exuberant Tumut Eagles.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to this and has the current Football Wagga Wagga season also sitting in the balance, with clubs not able to train until May and the competition looking to commence in June at the absolute earliest.
As a result of this shortage of football, the Tumut and Adelong Times took stock of the decade that had just gone, highlighting some of the club’s best performances in the Pascoe Cup competition and earmarking their most influential players.
In 2014, the Tumut Eagles first grade team won their first piece of Football Wagga Wagga silverware for the decade, with a determined one-nil win over archrivals Cootamundra Strikers in the inaugural Pascoe Plate final.
It was a 73rd minute strike by Eagles stalwart Reece Mastlellotto that sunk the Strikers and helped the Eagles to Plate glory.
In 2017, the Eagles again found themselves in the Pascoe Plate decider, again taking on the Strikers.
The Eagles, who finished sixth, took the long road to the grand final, after losing to Cootamundra in the qualifying final.
Still, a superb display by Tim Dixon, who netted a goal and man of the match honours, allowed Tumut to win their second piece of silverware for the decade.
During this period, the Eagles called on some very influential players, who made their names in the competition.
Matt Casey, who was a regular face between the poles for the Eagles, was widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the competition, so it was no wonder his name is consistently mentioned when team of the decade conversations arise.
Defender Ethan Kass and all-rounder Reece Mastellotto, who both still play for the Eagles, are other players respected throughout the Football Wagga competition.
Kass is a ferocious defender, and is often left with the job of marking up on the competition’s best finishers.
Mastlellotto is a different animal to Kass and currently plays in the midfield for the Eagles.
The big-bodied and aggressive player leaves everything on the pitch and is arguably the heart and soul of the Eagles.
Most recently though, the outgoing James Goode has been the club’s most prominent player, debuting in first grade at 14 years of age, Goode has been the club’s most prolific finisher and he will be missed when football does eventually return this year.
Current Eagles president and first grade coach Matthew Lopez named Goode as his player of the decade, highlighting his consistency.
“In terms of consistency and threat to the opposition when we were going through many lean seasons, James Goode would be my selection,” Lopez said.
Goode, who won’t be wearing the black and gold for the first time in 2020, also named his favourite player during the last 10 years.
“Reece Mastlellotto would probably be my pick,” Goode said.
“He always put in 100% and was the best motivator I’ve seen on a football pitch.”
Mastlellotto also reminisced on the last decade of football and when asked who was the club’s most influential player, he responded immediately and without second thought, while also naming a close second behind his top pick.
“Jim Verginadis, hands down,” Mastlellotto said.
“He had a wealth of experience and advice, he was unselfish and a team player and optimistic when games were tough.
“Matt Casey was a close second.”
Darren Jaynoy, who was the long-time figurehead of the Tumut Eagles, struggled to pinpoint just one player who stood out but named Frenchman, Adrian Jolly.
“I can’t single out one favourite player,” Jaynoy said.
“I would have included Adrian Jolly, but he only played a few games due to Wagga Wanderers commitments.”
Jaynoy did name a few other players who were imperative to the club’s success both on and off the pitch though.
“Most important (players) would be a tie between Matt Casey, Mick Parker and Matt Lopez, for all of them keeping the club going with executive positions, coaching, fundraising etc.,” Jaynoy said.
Jaynoy’s favourite moment of the decade came in 2014, after the Eagles accounted for the Strikers to win their first plate.
“Favourite moment was beating Cootamundra in the Pascoe Plate grand final in 2014,” Jaynoy said.
Jaynoy, along with Lopez, Mastlellotto and Goode, have named their owned team of the decades, with many familiar faces earning recognition for their commitment to the Tumut Eagles over the previous 10 years.
Eagles teams of the decade
Matthew Lopez’s team: Matt Casey (GK), Tim Dixon, Ethan Kass\Mitch FergusonDaniel CroftReece Mastellotto, Adrian Jolly, Caleb Wilks, Jarrod Casey, Mitchell Dixon, James Goode.
Darren Jaynoy’s team: Matt Casey (GK), Angus Mason-ElliottDaniel Croft, Ethan Kass, Mitch Ferguson, Caleb Wilks, Dylan Piper-Bye, Matt Lopez, Chris Driscoll, Reece Mastlellotto, James Goode.
Reece Mastellotto’s team: Matt Casey (GK)Daniel CroftCaleb Wilks, Mitchell Ferguson, Mitchell Henman, Steve Drury, Chris Driscoll, Blake Smith, Jim Verginadis, Jarrod Casey. James Goode.
James Goode’s team: Matt Casey (GK), Flynn Piper-Bye, Mitch Ferguson, Ethan Kass, Bailey O’Neill, Daniel Croft, Jarrod Casey, Adrian Jolly, Murray Barrett, Rick Creati, Reece Mastlellotto.