Eagles doing it the hard way

The Whittlesea Eagles must be a keen advocate for dramatics as, for the second time in two weeks, they finished the game with a draw and left many an Eagles supporter with high blood pressure.

Playing against Macleod on possibly the worst surface in the competition, putting the ball cleanly onto the boot was a difficult task and the final score-line of (3.9.27) apiece at the final siren was a clear indicator of just how shocking the ground was.

With the ball at ground level for 95 per cent of the game, the Eagles welcomed back renowned in-an-under midfielder Roy Dyson to the team, who added much needed strength on the bottom of the pack and showed little sign of the hamstring that has kept him out for the last two weeks.

His inclusion was made more important when Nick Snowdon went down with a back injury that could see him sit out the season.

Pete Bugden briefs the Seniors before the game.

With little forward highlights to mention, it is a good week to comment on the exceptional efforts by the Eagles defenders.

Ben Barker and 18-year old Nathan Stefanile were outstanding in the back-line and constantly repelled forward entries from the opposition.

Solid efforts from skipper Garrett Heenan, Max Dyson and Todd Behan in the midfield gave the defenders the run that was needed through the middle to ensure there were enough entries into the forward fifty.

The two teams were separated by less than a goal for the entire game and it was always going to be a close finish.

Leading by five-points at the beginning of the final quarter, the Eagles were confident of holding off Macleod.

The first 15 minutes of the last was played in the middle of the ground, both teams failing to score.

With nine minutes to play, a long kick into Macleod’s forward line was knocked down and a Macleod player was able to get a kick away under extreme pressure and slide it through the unmanned goal square to put them up by one-point.

Within a minute, the Eagles responded with a solid forward tap from Jeremy Page providing space for the Whittlesea midfielders to go into attacking fifty.

A free kick in the pocket turned into a certain goal after the Eagles were awarded a fifty-metre penalty for a Macleod indiscretion. Brenton Briffa put the Eagles five points up with around seven minutes to play.

The Eagles then missed two opportunities to put the game out of reach for Macleod.

Leading by seven points with five minutes to go, Macleod were able to get a clean break and a highball slipped out the back of the pack and a swooping Patrick Martin for Macleod was able to kick off the ground for a goal.

With a only a point in it and minutes to play, the ball found itself in Macleod’s forward fifty and a quick snap with two minutes on the clock tied the two teams.

A juggled mark over the boundary line from Raygan Tate forced a throw in deep in the opposition fifty and for the next two minutes, the Eagles intensity made up of tackles and smothers saw the final siren sound with both teams locked.

The Whittlesea Eagles have managed two draws in two weeks to further pull away from relegation, but still not managing to shut the door completely.

Sitting now eights point plus percentage ahead of last-placed Lower Plenty, the Eagles sit in prime position to hold their spot in division one for 2013.

Lower Plenty have to beat fifth-placed West Preston, who need to win to ensure a finals chance, this Saturday and then beat Whittlesea in the final round by a decent amount to overcome the Eagles on the ladder.

A good win against Heidelberg this week will see us stay in Division one for 2013, so get down and support the Mighty Eagles.

Whittlesea 3.9.27 drew Macleod 3.9.27

Goal Kickers: B. Briffa , R. Dyson , B. Toll

Best Players: M. Dyson, B. Barker, R. Collins, R. Dyson, T. Behan, J. Page

Reserves

Improving our football was the target for 2012 and none could doubt that the reserves have taken enormous steps in improving their footballing ability since round one, but still have been unable to find that elusive victory.

They gave themselves a massive opportunity on the weekend by kicking the first three goals of the game and by leading at half time.

A lapse in the third quarter saw Macleod capitalize and lead by 12 points at three quarter time.

The hard work of James Robinson, Dylan Chatley and skipper Ben Morgan were the highlights for the Eagles and Whittlesea were able to kick the first two goals of the quarter to even up the scores.

Again, a ten minute lapse brought about a Macleod onslaught as they kicked the last five goals of the game to run out 33-point victors.

A massive game next week against Heidelberg will see Eagles senior full-forward Andrew Fairchild make his return through the reserves and hopefully help get that first win that everyone at Whittlesea wants.

Whittlesea 6.1.37 def by Macleod 10.10.70

Goal Kickers: T. Mathews 2, J. Robinson , A. White , H. Cardwell , J. Dyson

Best Players: B. Morgan, J. Robinson, D. Chatley, H. Cardwell, M. Camaniti, A. White

Under 19’s

The Under 19’s travelled to De Winton Park to face a much improved Macleod outfit since their previous meeting earlier in the season.

A must win game for the young squad, a win would see them regain their position in the top five and keep their finals hopes alive.

A good start to the first quarter, where both teams had a dry football and unchopped surface provided solid passages of play between both Clubs.

Whittlesea gained the upper hand with early goals to Fowles and Brennan. A slender 8 point lead was the margin at quarter time.

The second quarter proved to be an armwrestle, neither side able to gain any ascendancy in the trying conditions.

Brett McDonald and Jackson Lewis patrolled half back for the Eagles, nullifying the Macleod forwards and midfield when they came forward, whilst Michael Brennan provided the Whittlesea midfield with an arm chair ride around the ground, but scoring proved difficult.

Whittlesea kicked 1.3 for the quarter, Jake Chatley kicking off the ground from the goal square to mark his return after a month long absence, whilst Macleod kicked 1.1 from their 3 entries into their 50 metre arc.

The Eagles took a 10-point lead into the long break.

The second half was once again a tight affair, for every effort Whittlesea made to kick away, Macleod fought tooth and nail to maintain their position in the top five.

The Eagles dominated the stoppages throughout the quarter but the hard work of Josh Stroud and Ben Russell was of little effect up forward, with the now swamp like conditions proving difficult for all involved.

Macleod wrestled lead back towards the end of the term before Jacson Cecil snuck forward, marked and was rewarded with a 50 metre penalty for late contact to put the Eagles back in front at the final change by five-points.

Entering the last with all to play for, heavy legs from both teams became evident and the game became all the more difficult with 36 players on the field completely caked in mud and reliant upon their voice rather than vision to distinguish one another.

Chris Menzies and Luke Fowles ran hard to support team mates and win possession and the boys rallied behind one another, laying a season high 29 tackles in the quarter to hold out a determined Macleod outfit by a solitary point.

Next Saturday the Eagles return to United Stadium at the Showgrounds to play a Heidelberg team that embarrassed them last time around and the young men are all too aware of what is needed to be done come 9:40am. A win will see them consolidate their position and pending other results, confirm a spot in the finals action.

Whittlesea 7.10.52 def Macleod 8.3.51

;

Goal Kickers: Ben Russell 2, Luke Fowles, Michael Brennan, Jake Chatley, Jacson Cecil, Mitch Taplin

Best Players: Josh Stroud, Luke Fowles, Michael Brennan, Chris Menzies, Jack Carlyon, Jacson Cecil

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