FINALS ARRIVE FOR SEA EAGLES
Sea Eagles all set for September
AUSTRALIAN RULES: Whitsunday illustrated why they remain the team to beat in the AFL Mackay Allied Pickford’s Cup last Saturday.
The Sea Eagles overcame a sluggish start to outgun fellow premiership contender North Mackay by 57 points at Whitsunday Sportspark.
Four goals from the mercurial Matt Galonski proved vital in the 13.19 (97) to 5.10 (40) success.
The match doubled as a dress rehearsal for the two sides heading into Saturday night’s major semi-final at Harrup Park.
Sea Eagles coach Luke Sommerville said while the win, his side’s 14th from 16 matches, was impressive, it would count for little come finals time.
“They had a few out, we had a few out, in a game like that you don’t show all your cards,” Sommerville said.
“But it was a good win for us considering we had only 20 available and meant a lack of rotations on a hot day.
“I thought our midfield got on top and we repelled them quite well, especially in defence.”
The visiting Saints started brightly and held a two-point lead at the first change, but Whitsunday lifted another gear in the second stanza.
Despite their profligacy in front of goal, the Sea Eagles grabbed a stranglehold of the contest to lead by 22 points at the main break.
North Mackay challenged again in the third term, cutting the deficit to 17 points at the last change, but six unanswered goals during the final quarter saw Whitsunday put the exclamation point on their home and away campaign.
Midfield dynamo Jake Hare knocked up winning the football and was named best-on-ground, just shading the busy Daniel Hug and versatile Cooper Barber.
Galonski headlined a good spread of goalkickers, with nine different Sea Eagles hitting the scoreboard.
Sommerville said a deep contribution would be pivotal if Whitsunday is to land back-to-back premierships next month.
“It is important we share the load as a team, you can’t afford to be relying on one or two blokes to do the job come finals time,” he said.
“We’ll get a few players back, including Ryan Lee, Brodie Topham, Chris Morrison, Jacob Healey, Aaron Thompson.”
The Sea Eagles will have four teams in action during the opening week of the AFL Mackay finals series.
Saturday’s action at Harrup Park sees the seniors in action at 6.30pm, while the Under-17 team faces Bakers Creek at 1.30pm. Sunday’s action at Rogers Oval (home of the Eastern Swans) sees the reserves, in action at 1.20pm against North Mackay, while the Under-14 team faces Eastern Swans at 8.45am.
GOOD CONTEST: North Mackay's Michael Green and Whitsunday’s Michael Maltby vie for the ground ball on the wing.