EAGLES BABY BOOM
WEST Coast supporters desperate for a good omen ahead of Saturday’s preliminary final needn’t look any further than WA’s country leagues.
Three “bush” teams sharing the Eagles name lifted their respective premiership cups aloft last weekend, while a few other familiar names also tasted September glory.
Boddington provided the most inspirational story of the lot, causing an epic grand final boilover in the Upper Great Southern to finish an emotional year on a high.
The Rod Williams-coached side knocked off a star-studded Katanning by eight points in front of a big home crowd, ending their 21-game winning streak in the process. The Wanderers cruised through the home-and-away season with a 14-0 record and a whopping percentage of 601, smashing
Boddington by 45 points just a fortnight before the stunning upset.
A proud Williams described his team’s “great character and resilience” even to reach the final after a couple of tragic incidents.
Boddington player Jesse Crossman, 23, died in April when he fell from the back of a ute being driven by a close mate, and recruit Adam Waight was lucky to survive after wrapping his car around a
tree on Albany Highway.
The former East Fremantle forward suffered serious internal injuries before a remarkable recovery saw him return to the football field mid-season.
“We’ve had some huge distractions and turmoil this year,” Williams said. “It was just a remarkable effort for us to be there and our guys showed great character and resilience.”
More than 2300km away in Broome, Hayden Smith’s after-the-siren heroics gave Looma Eagles their first West Kimberley flag since 2013. With scores level against minor premiers Cable Beach and just 10 seconds left, Smith took a mark directly in front before coolly slotting his set shot.
The Eagles of Gingin made sure their victory was far more straight-forward in the Mortlock decider. The green-and-golds powered home in the second half, booting 16 goals to four to account for defending champions Dalwallinu by 76 points at Wongan Hills.
Sam Butler, the final player from West Coast’s 2006 flag to hang up the boots before transitioning into an off-field role, added another medal.
The 32-year-old featured in Kulin-Kondinin’s upset Eastern District win over premiers Bruce Rock, alongside ex-Eagles rookie Simon Duckworth. He was convinced to play by fellow West Coast employee James Grabski, one of the competition’s best.
The older brother of Eagles’ Mark LeCras led Cervantes to their 17th Central Midlands Coastal Football League flag in 21 years with a seven-goal performance against Lancelin.
Brent LeCras, the league’s leading goal-kicker for the seventh time, was awarded the Roger Tonkin Medal for best-afield.
BODDINGTON EAGLES LOOMA EAGLES