Eagles Fight Hard But Fall Short Against Dragons

There was renewed hope and excitement in the Kanebridge Oval air going into Round 1, with the East Coast Eagles ushering into a new era. Damien Truslove is the new man at the helm for the Men’s Premier Division side, and he faced a tough test first up, meeting 2020 semi-finalists St George Dragons.

With a bunch of new players, and some returning veterans, team chemistry would perhaps be the biggest challenge. However, with Truslove’s positive mantra of development and competitive hunger, anything is possible in 2021.

The Dragons brought a side with plenty of youth to the Nest, looking to ambush us with speed and skill. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we were ready for the battle.

Injuries are a large part of every footy clubs season, but you never want to see too many this early. Unfortunately, we lost some key players towards the beginning of the contest, making our job even tougher. A 4 quarter effort would still be key, despite being down on troops.

St George could only manage one major in the first quarter, whilst we grinded hard in defence to rebound out of our D50, with former and current captains Ben Bourke and Zach Johns leading the way for East Coast.

Returning youngster Brendan Coxall kicked our first goal of 2021 in the second quarter, as again St George only slotted one major in the second term. Clearly, our manic pressure at the stoppages was having an impact, as the Dragons could not seize momentum.

In was a tight contest in the Premiership quarter, as we looked to get on top and build some scoreboard pressure. We were strong through the centre of the ground, going forward with plenty of Inside 50s, but St George took a 13 point lead into 3QT.

Round 1 is always tough no matter the place, time or opponent. Bodies aren’t quite match fit yet, and legs are sore to cramp up the longer the game goes. We seemed to suffer from this late, as St George ran away with the game, kicking 5 goals to 2 in the final term. Although, the 35 point margin did not reflect the competitiveness of the match, with the game being far closer for the majority.

Coach Damien Truslove had this to say:

“It was a pleasing first hit out, and the boys fought hard for 4 quarters. Losing a couple to injury early, meant we had few rotations available. We were very good at stoppage and looked good going Inside 50. We will work hard at training on our ball movement and contest method. Can’t wait to crack into Manly next week. Our best were Andrew Browning in the Ruck, new Co-Captains Brandon Clark and Zach Johns, as well as Ben Bourke and Aaron Drinkwater”.

After a tough 2020, we needed to come into this season and show some fight, and boy did we. The Eagles did the Nest proud, and showed a lot of renewed promise.

Will Cashmore

East Coast Eagles 0.1-1 2.3-15 4.3-27 6.6-42
St George Dragons 1.4-10 2.7-19 5.10-40 10.17-77
East Coast Eagles
Goal Kickers: K. Merson 2, B. Stewart, B. Coxall, B. Jones, N. Adams
Best Players: A. Browning, B. Clark, A. Drinkwater, B. Bourke, Z. Johns, B. Stewart
St George Dragons
Goal Kickers: E. Maher 2, N. Casalini 2, J. Dol 2, L. Maze, N. Kenny, D. Soffe, T. Coenen
Best Players: N. Kenny, B. Hodgson, K. Pfrengle, D. Soffe, J. Dol, T. Coenen
2021 Sydney AFL Men’s Premier Division Ladder After Round 1
1 UTS Australian Football Club 1 1 0 0 142 25 568.00 4
2 UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs 1 1 0 0 87 33 263.64 4
3 North Shore Bombers 1 1 0 0 86 35 245.71 4
4 St George Dragons 1 1 0 0 77 42 183.33 4
5 Inner West Magpies 1 1 0 0 59 54 109.26 4
6 Manly Warringah Wolves 1 0 1 0 54 59 91.53 0
7 East Coast Eagles 1 0 1 0 42 77 54.55 0
8 Sydney University 1 0 1 0 35 86 40.70 0
9 Pennant Hills Demons 1 0 1 0 33 87 37.93 0
10 Camden Cats 1 0 1 0 25 142 17.61 0