We’re all about protecting the nest at East Coast in 2021, but unfortunately our Premier Division Men’s side were unable to gain their first win of the season in Round 2, falling short against Manly. With plenty of changes to the side, including young debutant Lachlan Mason, the clubs 4th debutant in just two weeks after Corey Dowle, Nipper Adams and Nathan Fox debuted in Round 1, cohesion was going to be the biggest challenge.
An overcast day at Kanebridge Oval played host to a physical affair between the two sides, with both determined to get the early jump and assert dominance. The Eagles got on top, starting the game really well with strong attack on both the footy and the opposition. In addition, East Coast’s ball movement was strong, our offensive work singing with some sensational passages of play. Coach Damien Truslove went as far as to say the ball movement against Manly was better compared to Round 1 vs. St George.
Ultimately, the first quarter was a shootout, both teams kicking 2 goals a piece to draw 12-12 at the first break.
East Coast looked to gain that team chemistry it was looking for. However, it was then when things started to go pear shaped. Injuries befell the Eagles once again, with Ruckman Andrew Browning and Centre Half-Back (and co-captain) Zach Johns, going down with painful injuries. Two key injuries will throw any footy side out of whack, and this left the remaining players with a big job to continue on. Manly took a 9 point lead into half-time, kicking 1.5 in the 2nd term, to our 0.2.
Manly looked to put their foot down in the 3rd term, however the Eagles remained competitive, despite putting little scoreboard pressure on. Also, it was in this quarter that the debuting Mason kicked a wonderful goal from the forward pocket, which raised the sides energy. 16 points down at 3QT, and the ball was in Manly’s court. We needed to respond.
The Wolves were howling too loudly but, dominating the last quarter. East Coast’s contest method and team defence fell away, as the scoreline blew out. With greater accuracy in front of goal, perhaps Manly may have won by more, but nonetheless they happily claimed a 42 point win over the Eagles.
Leadership Team Member Karl Merson had a strong game, as did other key players in Brandon Clark and Aaron Drinkwater, as well as youngster Kyle Spencer.
0-2 to start the season is not where we wanted to be, but this is the situation we are in and it is up to us to get ourselves out of the hole. A do or die clash against Camden next week is the next task, and we must lift.
East Coast Eagles
Best Players: K. Merson, B. Clark, A. Drinkwater, C. Dowle, K. Spencer, B. Coxall
Manly Warringah Wolves
Goal Kickers: J. De Angelis 2, L. Behagg 2, N. Marsh 2, J. Bennett, K. LeJeune, J. Field
Best Players: J. Field, L. Channell, N. Marsh, T. Wright, A. Butler, J. De Angelis
2021 Sydney AFL Men’s Premier Division Ladder After Round 2
|1||UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||2||2||0||0||300||52||576.92||8|
|2||North Shore Bombers||2||2||0||0||195||87||224.14||8|
|3||Inner West Magpies||2||1||0||1||120||115||104.35||6|
|4||UTS Australian Football Club||2||1||1||0||194||134||144.78||4|
|5||Manly Warringah Wolves||2||1||1||0||124||87||142.53||4|
|6||St George Dragons||2||1||1||0||126||116||108.62||4|
|7||Pennant Hills Demons||2||1||1||0||107||136||78.68||4|
|9||East Coast Eagles||2||0||2||0||70||147||47.62||0|