U14’s win way through to grand final
MANSFIELD’S Under 14’s footballers faced off against the Benalla Giants in difficult conditions at Wangaratta’s Norm Minns Oval on Saturday.
With the ground very wet, and the wind blowing hard, the game was always going to be a low scoring affair.
The team jumped out of the blocks a bit better than the Giants, with the big unit Maxy Scott slotting home two goals.
With the boys kicking against the wind in the opening term, it was the hard work of Sammy Thomson and Geordie McLennan in the middle that was simply fantastic.
The second term saw the momentum start to shift towards the Giants as they put a lot of players behind the ball, and peppered the goals inaccurately to finish on seven straight points at half time.
The Eagles held a 16 point advantage with Scott slotting home his third to finish of a transition all the way up the ground.
At the half way mark the game was still up for grabs, and the Giants grabbed two goals in the term to narrow the margin to single figures, before Scott nailed his fourth to extend the margin back out to 13 points at the end of the third.
The backline was standing firm under a barrage of pressure from the Giants through first years players Flynn Butterworth, Mac Greene and Luke Menhennett.
Isaac Murray was doing a job on the creative captain for the Giants, keeping him well out of the game in the crucial final half.
Jimmy Law was working hard, and when he got to the contest, he made an immediate impact.
It was however the midfield who were providing the difference, with Thomson leading admirably in the middle against some quality opposition.
McLennan continued his gut running, and skipper Watson was strong over the ball and at the clearance, to pump it deep into the forward line regularly.
In a frantic final term, Mansfield lifted another gear to prevent any goals from the Giants, and run out winners by 14 points.
This was the margin at quarter time, so illustrated just how close this game was.
In the final term it was fantastic to see first year players step up at critical moments.
Lachie Scales found himself in defence in the second half, yet hit the contest hard to win several balls.
Flynn Butterworth single handedly saved several goals, but it was his final term heart stopper that typified his grit in a one on one contest, clearly his best game for the year.
Tommy Dunstan was elusive up forward all day, and while he didn’t get any goals, his pressure and sure hands were a highlight in difficult conditions.
With the boys’ win, they have now earnt themselves a spot in the grand final against Myrtleford.
With a squad full of talent, they will head into the game confident of a win on the biggest stage.
The game will be played in Wangaratta at WJ Findlay Oval, starting at noon this Sunday, September 11.
Following the grand final, the junior presentations for both Under 14 and Under 16 will take place at 5pm in the Eagles Nest at Mansfield Recreation Reserve.
Good luck to the boys and go Eagles!
Mansfield 4.10.34 d Benalla Giants 2.8.20
Mansfield: Goals: M.Scott 4. Best Players: S.Thomson, G.McLennan, N.Watson, T.Dunstan, F. Butterworth, I.Murray.
Benalla Giants: Goals: L.Dunne 2. Best Players: A.Turner, T.Levy, J.Hyland, L.Dunne, J.Milner, S. Pritchard
Bonnie Doon coach Daniel Godsmark kicks the ball forward during Saturday’s match.