Ea­gles se­cure flag

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - BY JUSTIN JENVEY

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.

PHOTO: Marc Bongers

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.

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