EAGALS Lose Out In Preliminary Final Battle Of The Birds

Finals footy is about rising to the occasion. Despite a four quarter effort and a never say die attitude, our EAGALS could not pull out the victory against an aggressive Inner Wests Magpies outfit.

After a slim loss to Manly last week in the first Grand Final Qualifier, East Coast ventured to Henson Park for their final bite of the cherry. It was do or die footy, with a spot in the big dance on the line. There was no tommorow for the loser.

Adding even more gravitas to the narrative, Inner Wests Magpies was one of only two sides to beat our EAGALS in the home and away season, back in Round 1.

The Magpies play a bruising style of footy. They really throw their weight around, and seek to use momentum to their advantage. We had to counter that if we wanted to secure a Grand Final berth.

The first quarter was a tough affair, both sides had plenty of the footy yet neither could kick a goal. The EAGALS struggled with forward 50 entries, despite their strong ability to earn clearances.

With a score of just 2-1 at Quarter-Time, we were only just behind in this stalemate.

Both sides returned to the field fired up, and after Inner Wests worked their way towards their goal, our defence faltered for only a second, as the Magpies scrambled to kick the first goal of the day.

Never fear EAGAL fans, as it wasn’t too long until we got one back through Shannon Smit. Smit was able to capitalize on a fortunate 50 metre free kick, before roosting one from 30 out straight through the sticks at the carpark end, before launching into a fired up celebration to pump up the side.

A stalemate resumed after this, and the scores were locked at 8-8 going into half-time.

The old saying in footy goes: The 3rd Quarter is the Premiership Quarter. Boy how this was proven true on Saturday.

Inner Wests came out of the blocks determined to make their move. As they won the clearance battle and made few mistakes with their skills, the Magpies began to run away with the game. The EAGALS lost key players to injuries, and it began to unravel for us. Down 40-8 at 3QT, we needed a response and quick.

Kicking with the wind in the final quarter, we had to go straight away; and we did. Skipper Sarah Ford went to her danger zone, and led her side back into the battle in an inspired effort. Ford, Georgia Garnett and Em Hurley kicked three rapid goals in a flurry to bring the game back to life.

Inner Wests were flustered but they regained footing, and played a very defensive game from here on out. They were hanging by a thread, all they could do was try and hold on.

It was a fantastic game of footy for the final 10 minutes, but time was fast running out.

We never gave up, our hearts were always in it, but alas the siren sounded and the EAGALS were still behind.

Inner Wests got the job done, and ran out 14 point winners, booking their spot in an intriguing 2020 Grand Final against Manly.

As mentioned Sarah Ford and Shannon Smit were unbelievable, with both throwing themselves into every contest with incredible desire for the footy, especially when Smit became the makeshift Ruckman late. Ally Dallaway and Georgia Garnett were additionally tremendous, showcasing a strong skill set and hunger for the footy all over the ground.

It wasn’t to be in 2020, but wow what a year it has been.

The entire East Coast Eagles family commend and applaud our EAGALS on their achievements this season, as they continue to show why they are one of the best endorsement for women’s sport in our community.

Will Cashmore

FINAL SCORE

East Coast Eagles 0.1-1 1.2-8 1.2-8 4.3-27
Inner West Magpies 0.2-2 1.2-8 6.4-40 6.5-41
East Coast Eagles
Goal Kickers: G. Garnett, E. Hurley, S. Ford, S. Smit
Best Players: G. Garnett, A. Dallaway, C. Arndt, S. Ford, S. Smit, B. Hourigan
Inner West Magpies
Goal Kickers: R. Privitelli 3, L. Lodge 2, M. Ekman
Best Players: L. Kassem, E. Heads, M. Convery, R. Privitelli, M. Montgomerie, L. Lodge