Eagles secure flag
THE Alpine Eagles have completed a remarkable turnaround by winning the Ovens and King under 19 premiership.
The Eagles won just two of their first nine games before turning their season around and reigning supreme with a threepoint victory over the Snow Road Saints on Saturday.
In a match that saw just seven goals, the Eagles were victorious 3.11 (29) to 4.2 (26) on the back of an incredible defensive performance lead by captain and best on ground Harry Jamieson.
Snow Road were held scoreless in the first half but looked like they might steal the game when they went ahead for the first time with just five minutes left in the match.
However, an almost immediate reply put the Eagles back in front and from there they held on to claim a fourth premiership in seven seasons.
It took until two and half minutes remained in the first quarter for the match’s first goal when Alec Hargreaves burst through a pack and set sail with his effort bouncing through.
Snow Road’s first genuine chance came almost halfway into the second quarter when Kyle Gregory lined up but his set shot didn’t even make the distance with a strong breeze causing havoc.
Alpine added their second major at the 14-minute mark of the second term when Adan Hurst converted after receiving a short pass from PJ Crocombe and the Eagles went into the long break with a 15-point lead mostly due to the efforts of their back six of Jamieson, Austin Wickes, Gabe Tomasoni, Max Gray, Zander Dalbosco and Rory Miller.
With Snow Road needing to find something in the second half, Max Grant, Mitchell Clayton, Sam Frazer and Byron Wilson all lifted after Alpine failed to make the most of two early shots on goal.
The Saints finally got on the board at the 13-minute mark of the third quarter when Cooper Verdon kicked truly after earning a free kick inside 50.
The Eagles missed two more chances and then with a minute and a half to go in the term Will Maclean gave Snow Road their second major with is long range effort going through.
The Eagles’ struggles in front of goal continued early in the final stanza and Snow Road reduced the margin further when Frazier kicked his first goal after winning a free kick for a push in the back.
Frazier then put his side up with five minutes remaining but Eagles, who had lead all day, weren’t going to let the game slip.
They replied instantly with first year player Josh Lindsay winning the ball and chipping over the top to a free Crocombe who ran into goal and booted what would be the match winning score.
If he hadn’t already, Jamie- son locked up best on ground honours with a late spoil on Verdon which he followed up by having him caught holding the ball.
Alpine Eagles coach Gerard Gray said it was a sensational achievement by his players to win a premiership after the start to the season they had.
“The boys really came together in the second half of the year and I’m just super proud of the way they played,” he said.
“We almost kicked our way out of it and in close games like that both side’s deserve a victory but we were fortunate to have our nose in front at the end.”
Gray gave special mention to Dylan Sgambelloni who, unable to ever play football himself due to muscular dystrophy, has been an inspiring influence as assistant coach in recent seasons.
“The club is bigger than any one individual but this bloke is the heart and soul of our club, he is the reasons so many blokes pull on the jumper and we’re all better people for having him around,” Gray said.
REBOUND DEFENCE: Alexander Dalbosco gets his kick away for the Alpine Eagles on Saturday morning.
ANOTHER WIN: Alpine Eagles celebrate their fourth O&K thirds flag since 2012.
RISING STAR: Alpine captain Harry Jamieson took out best on ground honours.