The UNSW Bulldogs are quickly becoming one of the great modern day sides in the Sydney AFL. After winning back-to-back Premiership flags in 2018 and 2019, achieving a three-peat in 2020’s shortened season seems a very strong chance, off the back of consecutive dominant performances in the first two rounds.
On Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs arrived to an overcast Kanebridge Oval to meet a fired up East Coast, but quickly laid waste to the Eagles by 93 points.
The Eagles were well-prepared for what they anticipated to be an extremely difficult challenge, recognising that their opponents would have talent all across the park. Yet still, nothing could prepare our boys for the ambush that was to come.
A competitive first-quarter saw UNSW on-top by three goals, with the Eagles struggling to keep pace with what Coach Hayden Rickard described as a “drilled, highly talented and hungry outfit”, but still they remained in the fight. However, a jaw-dropping specky mark in front of goal from Bulldog prodigy, and current AFL draft prospect Errol Gulden, foreshadowed the onslaught that was about to come.
The second term, from a scoreboard perspective, was as ugly as it gets, with the Bulldogs stamping their authority on the contest, kicking 9 goals to nil and leaving the Eagles searching for answers.
79 points down at half-time would leave even the most hardened of footy sides wanting to throw in the towel, but that’s not what we’re about at East Coast.
Rickard had this to say about the second-half:
“With the result effectively out of reach by half-time we challenged ourselves to restore some pride after the break.
We limited the bleeding in the second half, reverting to slow shape when held up, which certainly allowed us to build pressure going inside 50.
With UNSW dropping a player behind, Emery was able to play an intercept role for us and was clearly our best.
We just chose poor options on our release too often and paid a price on turnover.
We will look to improve before our next challenge ahead.”
A stronger second-half showed signs of improvement from the Eagles, although it was far too little too late, unable to combat a lethal UNSW outfit who will take some real stopping in 2020.
As mentioned by Rickard, Kieran Emery was outstanding in a well-beaten side, playing a towering role in defence, as the elder statesmen showcased his ability to be an effective tall at either end of the ground.
A tough afternoon at Kanebridge Oval for sure, but we will use the lessons learnt to our advantage, and come back better for it, heading into next weeks must-win clash with St George.
|East Coast Eagles||1.1-7||1.2-8||3.3-21||5.6-36|
|UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||4.2-26||13.7-85||15.13-103||19.15-129|
East Coast Eagles
Best Players: K. Emery, E. Cole, S. Turner, J. Vlatko, J. Cutting, A. Lefevre
UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs
Best Players: C. Kilpatrick, E. Gulden, A. Gulden, M. Rawlinson, J. Pawle, J. Deep
|1||North Shore Bombers||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||283||30||943.33||100.00|
|2||UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||307||84||365.48||100.00|
|4||Pennant Hills Demons||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||241||121||199.17||50.00|
|5||St George Dragons||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||146||113||129.20||50.00|
|7||Inner West Magpies||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||115||196||58.67||50.00|
|8||East Coast Eagles||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||111||234||47.44||0.00|
|9||Manly Warringah Wolves||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||47||210||22.38||0.00|
|10||UTS Australian Football Club||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||60||374||16.04||0.00|
The EAGALS needed to bounce back to form in Round Two, and boy did they ever.
After a tough welcoming back to season 2020, last year’s Women’s Premier Division runners-up were hell bent on getting their first win of the season, protecting their nest in a flexing performance.
Our EAGALS would have backed themselves to get the win against their UNSW Bulldogs opponents, however, after last week’s slip-up, there was no room for complacency.
Starting fast was a key focus, and they eclipsed all expectations, leading by 21-0 at quarter-time. The message was clear at the first-break: keep the foot on the throat. Once again, East Coast ticked every box, seizing the momentum immediately in the second term and never letting it out of their clutches.
Come the second-half, and it was all one-way traffic, with the EAGALS piling on the pain to run out 71-0 victors.
Whilst it was a positive return to form in attack, it was East Coast’s backline, led by GWS Giants AFLW youngster Georgia Garnett, which deserves huge credit for their performance. The Bulldogs looked to build pressure going Inside 50, but time after time, their attempts were countered by a bruising in-sync EAGAL defensive structure, that was relentless in their successful aim to hold their opponents to nil.
You don’t win a game of footy by 71-0 without it being a full team effort, and each player was instrumental in the win. However, Brenna Tarrant deserves a highlight for her strong start to the season, along with the always reliable Maddy Ferguson, and Alex Huynh who impressed in her Premier Division debut.
Up front, the forward duo of Elizabeth Wilson and Niamh Gray, combined for 7 goals between them in a massive game, with Gray really starting to come into her role as a strong marking tall forward.
Going into a Grand Final rematch against Macquarie University next week, victory in Round Two was vital for the EAGALS, and they didn’t let anyone down. There’s a huge buzz for next week’s showdown, expect plenty of feeling in a close intense battle
|East Coast Eagles||3.3-21||5.8-38||6.9-45||10.11-71|
|UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0|
East Coast Eagles
Best Players: G. Garnett, B. Tarrant, E. Wilson, S. Ford, M. Ferguson
UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs
|1||Manly Warringah Wolves||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||78||26||300.00||100.00|
|2||Inner West Magpies||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||103||48||214.58||100.00|
|5||Pennant Hills Demons||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||79||60||131.67||50.00|
|6||East Coast Eagles||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||97||74||131.08||50.00|
|7||UTS Australian Football Club||2||1||1||0||0||0||0||55||57||96.49||50.00|
|8||North Shore Bombers||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||41||84||48.81||0.00|
|10||UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||11||113||9.73||0.00|
Premier Division Reserves – Eagles Suffer Round One Hangover As Bulldogs Go Bang
It’s no question there is exceptional depth at UNSW, and it was on full display this past Saturday, as they rolled out a formidable Reserves side. The Bulldogs, who flattened UTS by 147 points in Round One, were intent on another large victory, and they did just that. Highlighted by an unstoppable run of forward 50 entries, UNSW produced a ruthless performance, dominating the scoreboard with 42 scoring shots to the Eagles 4. East Coast worked hard on the ground, applying a typically consistent tackling pressure, led particularly well by Matty Scholz, Will Mitchell and Jordan Etto. However, UNSW did the little things right all day, far too skillful and speedy to combat in the end, with the footy in their half for the majority of the contest. Back to the drawing board for the Ressies, spirits will pick right back up and we look forward to the next fight.
Final Score: UNSW 18.24.132 to ECE 2.2.14
Under 19’s Division One – Classic Contest Goes Down To The Wire In One Point Epic
In a rematch of last year’s Preliminary Final, East Coast and UNSW met at Kanebridge Oval as the two young squads put it all on the line for early season bragging rights. What unfolded was a nail biting showdown, a two and fro battle which was always going to end in elation for one side, and heartbreak for the other. Unfortunately, our Eagles were on the losing side, absolutely exhausted in a devastating one-point defeat, decided by a Bulldog behind in the final minute. Both sides displayed unwavering ferocity at the footy for four quarters, hungry for victory, and despite the loss, East Coast won plenty of admirers Jack Monger was elite through the midfield, as Kyle Spencer and Keegan Brady also put in stock standard solid performances. Our young Eagles will come back better for the close loss, a blessing in disguise perhaps as they will be as determined as ever to cause the boilover in the next meeting between these sides.
Final Score: UNSW 8.12.60 to ECE 8.11.59
Women’s Division One – Catch Up Footy Left Too Late In Another Nail-Biting Defeat
The main event of our first home game weekend, was the Women’s Division One, who hosted Penrith in some good ol’ fashioned night footy. In what was a tantalizing back and forth contest, our EAGALS fell agonizingly short going down by 3 points to Penrith, despite a defensive masterclass in the second half. After winning in Round One, the EAGALS searched for another big game with a focus on defensive pressure, and Coach Damon Steer would have been proud of his side’s effort in the second half, keeping their opponents scoreless. Unfortunately, though East Coast couldn’t hit the scoreboard enough to get the win, unable to capatalise despite having the ball in their forward 50 for much of the final minutes. Paris Mooney and Abbey Martin continued their strong starts to the season in notable performances, and the EAGALS will look forward to a big game against Macquarie Uni next round.
Final Score: PR 4.3.27 to ECE 3.6.24
Men’s Division Two – Eagles Defy The Early Morning Fog To Claim A Famous Win
The oppourtunity was right in front of the East Coast Div 2 men on Saturday morning. In conditions which evened the playing field, a wet, slippery and foggy Kanebridge Oval saw the Eagles sink their teeth into a Sydney Uni side, who weren’t prepared for their opponents fired up determination to earn a victory. With clean footy a rarity in tough conditions, the contested scrap was crucial, with East Coast going into halftime two points up thanks to veteran Dan O’Connor launching the heavy footy from 45m on the siren. As the sun came out towards the end, it would come down to which side could win their one-on-ones and convert. East Coast were far more accurate in front of the big sticks, running away with the win, in a famous victory that was celebrated hard in the aftermath. Big shoutout to Scotty Waterhouse, usually a defender, who was a beast in the ruck and kicked 2 goals.
Final Score: ECE 6.4.40 to SYD 2.10.22
Premier Division Reserves – Hustle And Bustle Gets The Job Done In Survival Of The Fittest
A new era for the Ressies side at East Coast kicked off with a bang in Round One, as the James Ford coached side achieved victory over Inner Wests, in a win defined by a ruthless man-on-man style of footy. In what was a scrappy game for four quarters, the boys backed their teammate all day, perfectly aware that relentless pressure defence would win them the game. East Coast were more composed in front of the sticks, tougher in the contest on the ground, not willing to let a win slip through their clutches, and they lead at every change. Great start to Season 2020, and fantastic club debuts from Jalen Timms, Hayden Landels and Josh Riseborough were a real highlight.
Final Score: ECE 9.6.60 to IWM 6.5.41
Under 19s Division One – A Great Day For Footy With Goals, Goals And More Goals
You don’t get to enjoy floggings too often in footy, but this 127 point win was in another universe. Our 19s boys were up at dawn, primed and ready for battle against an Inner Wests side who were making the jump to Division One, and were unfortunately for them way down on troops. Right for the picking they were, and East Coast pulled no punches, impressing with a fast-paced run and carry brand of footy. This side is full of youth, with plenty of speed and skill throughout, and they have the potential to do damage once again this season. Ethan Grace kicked 6, Co-captain Harrison Bultitude added 4 of his own, and Jack Monger once again proved he is as tough as a stubborn mule, in a worthy BOG performance. Huge energies boys, great game.
Final Score: ECE 19.17.131 to IWM 0.4.4
Women’s Division One – Abbey Martin kicks a winning score in an early test for EAGALS
Despite technically being defending premiers, our Division One EAGALS showed their new competition that they are here to ruffle some feathers in 2020. Whilst, going up a division is always a challenge, Damon and Peter Steer have done a sensational job with the women’s playing group, crafting two strong teams eager to compete with the best sides. In what was a very competitive Round One fixture against Newtown at Henson Park, goals were hard to come by, and the sharpshooting skills of Abbey Martin were welcomed with open arms, her three goals crucial in the victory. The EAGALS displayed tremendous physicality and aggression at the footy, and whilst there are areas to improve in, immense positives should be taken out of this game. An exciting win to open the season, especially since we had a long list on new players who more then held their own.
Final Score: ECE 3.3.21 to NB 1.5.11
Men’s Division Two – Plenty Of Positive Signs Despite A Disappointing Result
With the rest of the club perched in the Inner West of Sydney, the Div 2 boys remained in the Hills area, with a war against the arch rival Pennant Hills set for a cracking main event of the day for East Coast. With plenty of new faces in the side, a total of 5 blokes playing their first game for the Eagles, the focus was on being respectfully ruthless. For three quarters, the Eagles maintained a slim lead, but ran out of gas in the final term. Although, this does not discredit their attitude and intent in defeat, as with greater cohesion, game shapes will develop and there is tons of confidence in the playing group to make an impact in 2020. Congrats to Nick Trlin who kicked his first goal, in his first game of AFL footy.
Final Score: PHD 7.10.52 to ECE 4.6.30
It’s a tale as old as time, but one that proved no truer this past Saturday afternoon – football is a game of two halves.
From the first bounce at Picken Oval, both the East Coast Eagles and Western Suburbs Magpies launched into their season opening contest with confidence, looking to assert dominance around the stoppages. It was the Eagles who got on top early winning the hard ball, allowing a strong midfield to control the footy going inside 50, and maintain positive quarter and half-time leads.
Eagles head coach Hayden Rickard, who was coaching his first game for the club, had this to say on his side’s first-half performance “We were gaining parity in the clearances throughout the first two quarters, which allowed our tall forwards to dominate space and the scoring reflected this”.
However, as Rickard also mentioned, this was a game of two halves.
Western Suburbs are clearly looking to make some noise in 2020, evident in the recruitment of some top talent from leagues across the country. It was this added class that shone through in the second half, sneaking up in the third term to trail by a goal, before pouncing late.
The fourth quarter was the money quarter, and with an 8 to 1 goal advantage, the Magpies put our boys to the sword, despite the Eagles never giving up.
On the second half display, Rickard had this to say “When we lost the parity we gained in the first half, we invited the opposition into the contest and lost our way”.
Despite the 30 point loss, there were plenty of positives for the Eagles to take out in defeat. The coaching group gave a big wrap to speedy onballer Eddie Cole, winning best on ground honours in his first game for the club. In addition, Vice-captain Aaron Drinkwater turned in a ruggedly outstanding performance, and Ruckman Alex Foxall was also impressive, proving hugely important with his efforts in the scrimmage.
Especially in a shortened season there is no time to mope. The players know that, the coaches know that, and East Coast will be quick to move forward, shifting their focus on an epic battle against defending premiers UNSW this coming weekend at our Kanebridge Oval nest.
|Inner West Magpies||1.2-8||5.4-34||8.6-54||16.9-105|
|East Coast Eagles||4.2-26||8.6-54||9.9-63||11.9-75|
Inner West Magpies
Best Players: J. Bauer, S. Guilhaus, M. Klemke, J. Zoppo, P. Wilmot, M. Belbasis
East Coast Eagles
Best Players: E. Cole, S. Turner, A. Drinkwater, C. Edwards, R. Haupt, A. Foxall
|1||North Shore Bombers||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||162||20||810.00||100.00|
|2||UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||178||48||370.83||100.00|
|3||St George Dragons||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||91||32||284.38||100.00|
|5||Inner West Magpies||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||105||75||140.00||100.00|
|6||East Coast Eagles||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||75||105||71.43||0.00|
|7||Pennant Hills Demons||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||45||109||41.28||0.00|
|9||UTS Australian Football Club||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||48||178||26.97||0.00|
|10||Manly Warringah Wolves||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||20||162||12.35||0.00|
There is always so much excitement in the air, when the EAGALS take the field.
With East Coast boasting both their women’s sides in Grand Finals last year, the EAGALS culture is becoming a thriving brand which expects success. However, our Premier Division team suffered a setback this past Saturday, falling to a resurgent Inner West Magpies side.
In what is a tremendous turnaround from the Wests Women, they really imposed themselves on a competition benchmark, carving up in the second half, which left East Coast with no answers. What makes this result even more head-turning, is not just the fact that the Magpies finished second last in 2019, but also because the combined score of their three fixtures last season was 325-13 in favour of the EAGALS.
It seems apparent that Inner West are not here to make up the numbers in 2020.
East Coast started strong early, with Melbourne Demons AFLW rookie Brenna Tarrant picking up where she left on in her beloved East Coast jumper, kicking an early goal. However, the EAGALS quickly learnt they were not going to have it all their own way on this day. After a back and forth first quarter, the second term became crucial, as the Magpies took control of the momentum.
Fatigue really set in during the third quarter for the East Coast side, as the result started to get away from them, once again being kept scoreless for an entire quarter. Wests used the width of Picken Oval with damaging effect, and with their ruthless attack on the footy, it was difficult for the EAGALS to get back in the contest.
A more composed final term followed, yet still it proved challenging for East Coast to gain too much advantage against a tough Inner West defensive structure.
Going down by a 48 point margin, the largest defeat the East Coast Premier Division women have suffered in their short history, this is a result which can definitely be used as an opportunity to highlight areas of improvement.
Not only this, but it’s a wakeup call that all good footy sides need from time to time, and now our EAGALS know that season 2020 is a completely different compared to last year.
|Inner West Magpies||2.3-15||4.6-30||8.7-55||11.8-74|
|East Coast Eagles||3.1-19||3.1-19||3.1-19||4.2-26|
Inner West Magpies
Best Players: E. Todd, G. Behan, M. Freckelton, L. Kassem, E. Sheerin, M. Convery
East Coast Eagles
Best Players: G. Garnett, T. Davies, M. Ferguson, B. Tarrant, A. Dallaway, K. Bolster
|2||UTS Australian Football Club||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||42||11||381.82||100.00|
|3||Manly Warringah Wolves||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||55||19||289.47||100.00|
|4||Inner West Magpies||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||74||26||284.62||100.00|
|6||Pennant Hills Demons||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||33||47||70.21||0.00|
|7||East Coast Eagles||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||26||74||35.14||0.00|
|8||UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||11||42||26.19||0.00|
We are an extremely happy family at East Coast today with the news our very own Brenna Tarrant will make her AFLW debut for the Melbourne Demons against the West Coast Eagles on Sunday at 3:10pm at Casey Fields in Melbourne’s South-East.
You can read more about the team changes…….https://www.melbournefc.com.au/news/572899/aflw-round-5-team-three-changes-for-sunday
After playing her junior football at the Emu Plains/Glenmore Lions and Kellyville/Rouse Hill Magpies, the key defender became a contest beast for the EAGALS and was an instrumental part of the Premier Division side in 2019 who finished runners up, and before that played in our 2018 Women’s Division One team.
The Melbourne Demons AFLW side are sitting in the the Top 3 going into Round 5, currently 2nd place in Conference B, but need to ensure they keep stringing wins together with finals beckoning and teams in the bottom 4 nipping at their heels.
Brenna was one of three EAGALS drafted into the AFLW in 2019 along with Emily Goodsir and Georgia Garnett (both at GWS), with Brenna taken at Pick #72 by the Melbourne Demons.
Brenna will start on the bench for the Demons on Sunday, wearing #20 on the back of her jersey, and we are certainly backing her to make a huge splash in her debut. The excited Melbourne Demon had this to say……….
“Well I found out a few days before the team was announced so I’ve known for a few days and at first I was really excited and crying and all. Now after another training session last night there are a few nerves, I’ve definitely been struggling to sleep because it’s been on my mind and that first night I probably only got a good 3 hours of sleep.
The EAGALS were my first senior team I played for and, I have gone through finals campaigns in both Division One and Premier Division. I was deeply upset knowing I wasn’t going to be able to play a full season with the Eagles, but the Dees vowed to look after me like the Eagles did and they haven’t put a foot wrong. I feel a bit odd playing against West Coast on Sunday considering the similar jersey to my old Eagles one so hopefully I don’t kick to the yellow and blue. I love the Eagles and I wish them all the best for the season ahead, you can bet I’ll be there to support you guys as much as I can”. – Brenna Tarrant
Brenna’s former teammates in the EAGALS are super stoked for her as well, with senior player Sarah Ford having this to say…………. “We couldn’t be prouder that our very own Brenna is making her debut this weekend. We have all watched her work so hard for this moment and the Gals are just so excited to watch her go out there and smash it”. – Sarah Ford
New Club President David Arndt has also expressed his excitement for Brenna..……”I am so proud of Brenna. She’s come through our juniors at Emu Plains/Glenmore, Kellyville/Rouse Hill and later Eagles U18, and to get to the highest level is just a phenomenal achievement for her and her family. We are all behind her at the Eagles, we know how hard she has worked and we can’t wait to watch her AFLW journey unfold”. – David Arndt.
Good Luck on Sunday Brenna, we are all so happy for you and know you’ll do us proud. GO GET EM YOU DEMON!
Late last year there were three things you could have got very long odds for over at Kanebridge Oval in Rouse Hill. Yeah I know. Bet responsibly and all that relevant advice. But if you’d ignored all those “good judges” telling you what they thought and placed your hard earned on the East Coast Eagles playing in the Grand Final of the AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division, then you would have cleaned up big time last Saturday.
And, if you also placed a bet on the Eagles’ ladies Reserve Grade team, who were put into Division Two, also playing off in their Grand Final, then your bookie would be reeling. And to top it all off, if you took the trifecta that a father and son combination would coach the two teams, then you’re probably collecting from the bookie’s estate right at this moment.
In what may well go down as one of the most remarkable stories of season 2019, all of the above came true last Saturday at Blacktown when Peter Steer coached his Premier Division team into next Saturday’s Grand Final. Whilst at the same time, 50 kilometres away, son Damon was getting his side over the line at Henson Park.
The AFL had only promoted East Coast to the Premier Division in December last year following a considered submission by the Eagles which had defeated others from rival clubs. The admission of the Eagles was controversial at the time, but throughout the season Steer progressively gathered together a group of girls who had the will to go all the way. They had come from a variety of different backgrounds to be nurtured and ‘steered’ into a set of players who Peter describes as “quite possibly the most committed group I’ve ever coached.”
In that Premier Division team which played last Saturday, seven girls are in their first ever season of AFL footy, eight came from previous homegrown teams at East Coast, two from other Division One clubs, three from AFLW club the GWS Giants and the last girl came from feeder junior club the Kellyville Magpies.
“All the girls just want to get better”, said Steer. “They actually take the feedback given to them and act on it. The improvement since Round 1 is exponential. Damon and I are overawed by their attitude and enthusiasm at training where they work as a group, not as separate teams.”
The Div Two girls have been even more miraculous. After Round 7 they were second bottom on the ladder. By the end of the home and away season they had scraped into the final five at Round 18. They have just won their last six matches to secure the Grand Final spot. “I’m so proud of Damo. And the girls love him” proclaimed his delighted Dad. “He’s done an awesome job”.
Steer says that both teams are in good shape and morale is high for their respective Grand Finals this coming weekend. Macquarie University are the opponents in both games and even in the short history of Women’s football at East Coast, a real rivalry has developed between Eagles and the Warriors and there’s no doubt it will be continued this weekend.
Saturday September 14th – Premier Division
East Coast v Macquarie Uni at 1.30pm
Sunday September 15th – Division Two
East Coast v Macquarie Uni at 3.50pm
Grand Finals are hard to get into, let alone win. Why not show your support for both teams and get to Blacktown International Sportspark Oval
Rooty Hill NSW 2766
One step short in 2018, yet one step further than 2017 for the East Coast EaGALs.
Following a heartbreaking loss on Saturday to minor premiers Wollongong: 9.7.61 to 4.4.28, a margin which hardly reflects the contest mind you, heads were down and tears flowed.
That is until the women were reminded or their emergence this season.
Sure 2018 had officially come to an end, but it came after the side defeated every foe at least once throughout the season.
And on top of that, 2018 was year which went a long way in proving a Premier Division Women’s team deserves to be running around Kanebridge Oval in 2019.
Finishing 5th in 2017 before rising to 3rd this season, the Eagals made considerable improvements in 2018, completely enhancing ball movement, attack on the footy and most importantly their all round club-commitment and dedication.
The future sure is bright.
With a battle against Western Magic in the Grand Final on the line in a Preliminary Final this past Saturday, Wollongong overcame the Eagals fortunate home ground advantage, starting strong and winning the mental battle early despite both sides aiming up psychically with a multitude of destructive tackles.
The Saints led by 2 goals at 1/4 time, challenging the Eagals to bite back.
That they did, as captain Sarah Ford stood up whilst taking charge of the midfield alongside League Best and Fairest contender Em Goodsir, both breaking the game open to lead the side to within 3 points of the Saints at half-time.
There were only inches in it throughout the 3rd quarter, a period which featured one of the best moments for the club in 2018.
Devoted player and clubwoman Dana Polverino made her long-awaited return from a nasty shoulder injury, to kick a welcomed and crucial goal in the Premiership 3rd quarter.
It lifted the crowd, and sure lifted the women’s intensity for the remainder of the quarter, trailing by only a goal at the final break.
Maddie Ferguson, Brenna Tarrant and Laura Moran continued impressive gameday displays in the 3rd term as well.
Here we go and Game on.
Down to the final quarter, both sides desperate and hungry for victory.
A Grand Final berth beckons
It became clear however in this quarter, that the Eagals couldn’t contain and ultimately fell victim to Wollongong’s powerplay.
All day inside 50, the Wollongong forwards were a headache for Eagal defenders, taking plenty of marks and solidifying dominance.
The ball may go up, but the Saints players knew they’d mark it in front of goal.
The blue and gold charges never gave up, but the Saints eventually ran away with the result, pushing the scoreline out to a 5 goal victory, that as aforementioned did not reflect East Coast’s fight across the four quarters.
But certainly in the last of these 4 quarters, in which Wollongong demanded another shot at the Premiership Cup.
The Eagals’ season was sent packing, but boy are the club proud of their efforts in 2018.
As the most successful team inside Season BM18 at East Coast, the women set the standard and wrote the blueprint for long-term success.
You turn up and train then you rip in on the weekend, together, for each other, with the drive and determination to be successful in finals.
One step short, but one step further in 2018.
One more step towards a maiden grand-final seems inevitable in 2019.
A magnificent one for the EagALS.
More than anyone in the club, they embodied BM – BENCHMARK/BESTMATES – 18.
A sensational endorsement for women’s footy at East Coast.
Wollongong Saints 2.4-16 3.4-22 5.4-34 9.7-61
East Coast Eagles 1.0-6 3.1-19 4.4-28 4.4-28
Goal Kickers: E. Morris 3, R. McGartland 2, P. Davis 2, C. Stanton, L. Donnelly
Best Players: L. Donnelly, J. Stanton, A. Anderson, K. Chan, S. O”Donoghue, P. Davis
East Coast Eagles
Goal Kickers: C. Arndt, E. Goodsir , B. Hourigan, D. Polverino
Best Players: S. Ford, E. Goodsir , M. Ferguson, B. Tarrant, A. Dallaway, L. Moran
A season which birthed a new era at the East Coast Eagles began with a wave of promise.
A new coach.
A set of new recruits.
A motto which to play and live by. BM18.
It most certainly had its ups and downs, and on the weekend, the most significant down proved to be the final nail in the coffin in season BM2018.
East Coast fought hard, but could not keep up and fell via an 11 point loss to Manly Warringah in an Elimination Final at Blacktown International Sports Park 4.16.40 to 4.5.29.
The old adage in football, especially at this time of year, that games are one in the Premiership (3rd) quarter.
Coach Lindsay Scown made it clear that it was in this period, is that the game was won and lost as the Wolves achieved critical second half momentum.
Overcast conditions met both teams from the first bounce, and clearly hampered goal kicking execution for Manly, kicking 0.4 as opposed to the Eagles two goals straight in the opening quarter.
The Eagles extended their lead in the second quarter, albeit slim, to lead by 10 after a competitive term.
After a half of finals football, all seemed on queue with script, when you consider that…..
– Manly may have finished above the Eagles on the ladder, yet it is well known that the Wolves struggle away from home ground Weldon Oval, winning only 2 games on the road throughout the home and away season.
– The Eagles played relatively consistent and often sensational football in the season’s second half.
– Manly were much better than East Coast at Weldon earlier this year, winning by 5 goals, whereas later this season, at a windy Kanebridge, the Eagles dominated proceedings to the tune of a 7 goal thrashing.
So, to take this all into account on paper, a 10 point lead at half-time seemed suffice for the Eagles, with an accelerated second half scoring pace expected.
But it didn’t follow, East Coast halted, and could not answer Manly’s forward pressure.
All was lost in the Premiership Quarter and the dying stages.
In fact, the Eagles were lucky Manly could not kick straight, AT ALL, as both sides at full time had converted 4 goals each, yet Manly tripled East Coast’s behinds on route to an 11 point win, swiftly eliminating the East Coast Eagles from season BM2018.
Within this disappointment a new superstar continued to blossom and emerge for the Eagles, as rising star Lewis Waters was best on ground for his side, displaying an outstanding improvement across half-back, becoming one of the toughest men to play against inside the East Coast CAGE.
Veteran Eugene Kruger was additionally fantastic on this day, finding plenty of the footy along with a welcomed goal.
Manly Warringah Wolves 0.4-4 2.6-18 2.10-22 4.16-40
East Coast Eagles 2.0-12 4.4-28 4.5-29 4.5-29
Manly Warringah Wolves
Goal Kickers: J. Field, A. Robertson, J. Brain, H. Ellem
Best Players: J. Weir, A. Fraser, G. Benbow, L. Behagg, A. Robertson, A. Butler
East Coast Eagles
Goal Kickers: Z. Johns 2, E. Kruger, D. Saywell
Best Players: L. Waters, E. Kruger, B. Clark, S. Turner, A. Browning, B. BourkE
Season BM2018 is officially over for the East Coast Prems, as it is for the Eagle Reserves.
In an Elimination Final, the Reserves could not match the North Shore side who they ironically faced just a week prior in Round 18 of the home and away season. Despite a standing 2-0 record against the Bombers in 2018, the Eagle Reserves alike the Prems found themselves chasing the tails of an inaccurate Bombers, who couldn’t convert the majority of opportunities on goal. Scott Pierce was dominant in the forward line for the Eagles kicking 3 and claiming BOG honours, whilst small midfielders Lucas O’Connor and Josh Large shined in the 7 point loss – 7.13.55 to 7.6.48. An improved season for the Reserves, one that coach Matt O’Connor is disappointed to see end, yet holds plenty of optimism and excitement for an even better 2019.
And that brings us to the last team standing at East Coast.
It is without any surprise that in 2018, the story at the Eagles is: Last Women Standing.
The Women’s Division One side, were again brutal, poised and courageous against their arch Pennant Hills rivals, in a 3 goal victory which sees them through to a Preliminary Final against Minor Premiers Wollongong. On a damp Sunday afternoon at Kanebridge Oval, the women were convinced and determined to prove they had the Demons number. After a slow start in yet the clubs third Elimination Final for the weekend, the EagALS proved this, and did not concede another goal after quarter time, kicking away in the third term before full time struck with scores reading: 6.3.39 to 3.3.21. The Superstars stood up for the Eagals, with captain Sarah Ford, Em Goodsir and Brenna Tarrant playing great games, whilst Chloe Arndt, Laura Moran and Courtney Torpy were also among the best.
GET DOWN TO KANEBRIDGE TO WATCH THE WOMEN VIE FOR A GRAND FINAL SPOT THIS SATURDAY 10:50 @KANEBRIDGEOVAL, vs WOLLONGONG.