U14’s win way through to grand fi­nal

Mansfield Courier - - COURIER SPORT - By KEN MUR­RAY

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.

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