It had the potential to be one of the greatest games ever seen at Kanebridge Oval. Although difficult conditions, namely frustrating winds, prevented the contest from reaching its apex, this Grand Final Qualifier was still an outstanding battle between two sides desperate for a win.
The EAGALS had the ball in their court. A home semi-final against Minor Premiers Manly, and a returning EAGAL in Em Goodsir, where the winner would launch into a Grand Final.
“We Never Lose At Home” was the message of motivation for the EAGALS in the sheds prior to the game, a true fact, since our Premier Division Women had yet to be beaten at home in 2020. There was a job to do, and it was up to our EAGALS to complete their mission.
As mentioned, frustrating winds kept both teams at bay early, making it increasingly challenging to hit targets with the boot and put together too many strong passages of play. Straight out of the gate, it became clear that this contest would be a grind for four quarters, with goals coming at a premium.
Despite the conditions, Manly were able to win the first clearance and quickly enter Inside 50, before kicking the first goal of the game. The EAGALS looked for a response all quarter, with midfielder Ally Dallaway impressing with her run and speed through the middle part of the ground to provide her forwards with scoring opportunities. Shannon Smit was also playing a massive role, throwing herself at every contest and becoming a real strong marking presence up front. Unfortunately, still we couldn’t find a goal and went into Quarter-Time down by 5 points.
We went into the next term determined to get back on top. Em Hurley was awarded a free kick and slotted our first goal of the day, before Manly countered with a major of their own. It was tough going for our EAGALS, with unfortunate injuries beginning to affect structures, making it a challenge to keep focused and switched on at times. Nevertheless, we were right in the game at half-time as Manly kept their 5 point lead.
The 3rd quarter had to be our best, as this is the time where the big games are won and lost. We gained first momentum, and were on song defensively, becoming a fortress with Renee Tomkins running the show and destroying anyone who came near. Manly defended well themselves, but after a build-up of untidy errors from the opposition, Georgina Fowler took advantage and kicked our second goal. Still, Manly kept the lead at 3QT, 6 points up.
The final term took an age, with multiple Manly injuries causing a halt in play, and even the boundary umpire unfortunately going down injured. Therefore, it was hard to get any real rhythm going, but the ball started moving faster than it had all game. The game saw plenty of stoppages late, with both teams looking for a crucial goal. However, it never came and after a scoreless final quarter, Manly did enough to win by 6 points and book themselves a Grand Final spot.
We stayed in the fight for four quarters, but could just never cling to a lead long enough to get us over the line. It was a heartbreaker, but we have no time for moping because we thankfully get a second bite of the cherry next week.
Henson Park will be the scene, 1:10 the time.
It will the EAGALS vs Inner Wests Magpies in a Preliminary Final Showdown. Winner goes to the big dance, loser goes home empty handed.
It’ll be an intriguing battle considering Inner Wests won the previous matchup in Round 1 earlier this season.
If you bleed Blue and Gold like our EAGALS, then make sure you’re there in support.
|Manly Warringah Wolves||1.0-6||2.1-13||3.2-20||3.2-20|
|East Coast Eagles||0.1-1||1.2-8||2.2-14||2.2-14|
Manly Warringah Wolves
Best Players: C. Johnson, A. Roditis, J. Layton, H. Graham, E. Goodsir , E. Graham
East Coast Eagles
Best Players: A. Dallaway, S. Ford, B. Tarrant, B. Parker, R. Tomkins, B. Hourigan