The theme of the week at East Coast was to enjoy our footy. Whether it was at training or on gameday, enjoying the game we love and being around our mates was the prime focus heading into a matchup against the table topping, undefeated North Shore Bombers.
For our Prems boys, its been a difficult start to the season, with a tall injury list really hurting our ability to gain consistent cohesion through the ranks. Nonetheless, there is no side that we don’t give ourselves a chance against.
North Shore are flying high right now, and no one would have given us a chance outside our quarters to win this game, but that didn’t faze us. We could not wait to face the competition benchmark. It was another important game for us with an 11th debutant Bailey Beattie getting a crack, and he did not look out of place at this level.
Our first quarter was impressive, kicking off the game in fine fashion with strong tackling intent. We all know how North Shore play, they love to get the ball out the back of the contest and penetrate defences through the corridor, but such was the strength of our pressure that they were limited in these opportunities early. We were able to hit up forwards Inside 50 in the first term as well, building a very good start to trail by 10 points at Quarter-Time.
Unfortunately, as has been the case for much of this season, injuries caught us out once again in the 2nd term. We had plenty of sore bodies, which reduced our rotations in the second half, and with fatigue setting in many would have expected North Shore to roll over us. However, we stayed in the fight, winning the stoppage count and keeping the pressure up as the Bombers extended their lead to 19 points at Half-Time.
In the second half, we kicked into many turnovers, and with the speed of North Shore these were extra difficult to defend, leading to a 4 goal to 1 quarter in their favour. No one said this game would be easy, and it was during this period where North Shore proved why they truly our competition heavyweights. We were down by 42 at 3QT.
Once again, against tough odds we showcased our hardened spirit, and were not willing to die easy. We made North Shore earn every inch, and took a ton of positives out of the game. 52 points was the final margin, but the signs are there to prove that this side has a bright future ahead of them. It’s just about putting the pieces together, and with a bit of luck on the injury front I have no doubt we can get there.
Bailey Stewart was again strong as was Karl Merson up forward and through the midfield, but it was young Corey Dowle who had a breakout performance, shutting down Bombers key forward Jamie Vlatko, a man much taller than Dowle, and turning in an all-round back-flank masterclass.
We turn our attentions now to a huge grudge match against arch rivals Pennant Hills Demons this coming weekend.
This one won’t be for the faint hearted.
East Coast Eagles
Best Players: C. Dowle, B. Stewart, K. Merson, A. Edwards, B. Coxall, J. Cutting
North Shore Bombers
Best Players: J. Veale, R. Kilpatrick, J. Rayner, S. Barkley, J. Woodman, M. Crisafulli
|1||North Shore Bombers||7||7||0||0||666||267||249.44||28|
|2||UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||7||6||1||0||794||302||262.91||24|
|4||Pennant Hills Demons||7||4||3||0||530||471||112.53||16|
|5||UTS Australian Football Club||7||4||3||0||551||569||96.84||16|
|6||Inner West Magpies||7||3||3||1||498||540||92.22||14|
|7||St George Dragons||7||3||4||0||601||544||110.48||12|
|8||Manly Warringah Wolves||7||2||5||0||396||549||72.13||8|
|9||East Coast Eagles||7||1||6||0||373||537||69.46||4|