FI­NALS AR­RIVE FOR SEA EA­GLES

Sea Ea­gles all set for Septem­ber

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Gre­gor Mac­tag­gart Gre­gor.Mac­tag­gart @whit­sun­day­times.com.au

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.

PHOTO: GRE­GOR MAC­TAG­GART

GOOD CON­TEST: North Mackay's Michael Green and Whit­sun­day’s Michael Maltby vie for the ground ball on the wing.

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