The Whittlesea seniors have left it to the last game of the season to cement their spot in Division One after going down to Heidelberg by 49 points last Saturday.
They will meet Lower Plenty at the Showgrounds this weekend, in what will ultimately be a relegation match.
Lower Plenty are one game behind the Eagles and will need to win by a decent margin to overcome the Eagles superior percentage.
Coach Pete Bugden emphasized how important next week’s game will be for the club.
“It is probably a more important game than our grand final,” he said
“It will be a hard contest and hopefully we can bring it in and be very physical.”
Bugden was also happy with the team’s performance despite going down by 49-points.
“Our effort can’t be faulted, we did the best we could do I think,” he said
With the creek running through the Showgrounds at breaking point on Saturday, the condition of the ground made it hard for any skillful football to be played.
In a game for the in-and-under players, Roy Dyson and Ben Barker established the initial hardness that was going to be needed to prevent a repeat of the last games the two teams played where Heidelberg ran out 158-point victors.
Jeremy Page was the cornerstone for the Eagles’ attempt at a massive upset. Up against two of the best ruckmen in the competition, Page was incredible in his endeavour throughout the whole game.
With little to do in the muddy conditions but to dive on the footy, the game was held in the mud for the majority of the first quarter with each team only managing one goal for the first quarter.
Heidelberg managed to break away in the second term kicking six unanswered goals, opening up a 38-point lead at halftime.
Knowing that the margin had to be kept as small as possible, Whittlesea’s intensity at the footy increased in the second half and turned the game into a genuine scrap.
Nathan Stefanile and Max Dyson seemed to be the only one’s able to gather the ball cleanly for the Eagles and both were named in the team’s best.
In an uneventful second half, Heidelberg kicked only two more goals for the game while the Eagles managed one more goal for the game.
Whittlesea turn to next weekend now where they will be fighting for that prized division one position.
Whittlesea 2.2.14 def. by Heidelberg 9.9.63
Goal Kickers: L. Deards , R. Dyson
Best Players: J. Page, M. Dyson, R. Dyson, J. Bramble, J. Daniel, N. Stefanile
It was a long time coming and it made it all the more sweeter as the Whittlesea reserves notched up their first win since the club joined Division one two years ago.
With the ground in tatters, the game was played in much the same vein as the seniors and the inclusion of Andrew Fairchild, Brian Holmes and Glenn Bransgrove provided the much needed physicality for the two’s.
In a very low-scoring affair, the Eagles jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Fairchild soccer goal.
This was the only goal scored in the first half as the Eagles took a eight point lead into half time.
Brian Holmes should find himself in the senior team next weekend after he dominated the game and proved to be a class above the reserves.
Andrew Fairchild got his second goal early on in the second half and the lead was pushed out to 14-points. Heidelberg responded with a goal of their own and at three quarter time, Whittlesea held an 11-point lead at three quarter time.
Nerves rose early in the last quarter as Heidelberg scored the first goal quickly, bringing the margin back to five points and putting the Eagles at risk of another heartbreaking loss.
But with the Eagles desperate for that first win, they won the next clearance and Andrew Fairchild was able to kick an unbelievable goal under immense pressure in the wet.
With three goals under Fairchild’s belt, the Eagles were able to hold on to an 11-point lead for the rest of the game and record a historic victory for Whittlesea.
Whittlesea 3.6.24 def Heidelberg 2.1.13
Goal Kickers: A. Fairchild 3
Best Players: B. Holmes, B. Morgan, J. Robinson, A. Fairchild, D. Chatley, B. Hobbs
It was another tough slog for the under 19’s and they came away with their second close win in consecutive weeks to cement their position in the finals this year.
They defeated by Heidelberg by five points with exceptional games coming from Josh Stroud, Jake Chatley and Luke Fowles.
The boys will hope to come away with a win this Saturday against Lower Plenty to set up their finals campaign.
Whittlesea 5.6.36 def Heidelberg 5.1.31
Goal Kickers: L. Hughes 2, B. Russell 2, J. Chatley
Best Players: J. Chatley, J. Stroud, L. Fowles, J. Barnes, M. Brennan, M. Taplin
Juniors bring home flags!
Congratulations to the Whittlesea Under 10’s Green team and the Under 14’s Red team who both won their Grand Finals on Sunday. The Whittlesea Football Club are very proud to have such talented juniors coming through the ranks!