Under 14 Eagles fly over Magpies
THE Eagles Under 14s played their first game at the Wangaratta showgrounds for the season against second placed Wangaratta Magpies on their home ground on Sunday.
It looked to be a big ask for the U14 Eagles in the first final.
The sheer size of the Magpie boys when they lined up at the start of the game didn’t seem to bother our boys or the coaches as they put their game plan into place.
The game started with the ball going from end to end with a few nerves on both sides evident.
If it wasn’t for a River Reeve smother on the goal line and another ball that looked like it was going to bounce through but, a mad bounce back into play, the Maggies would have had a couple on the board.
But fortune favoured the brave and with Archie Smith laying some trademark bone-crunching tackles, and the two Jacks (Marks and Stoney) getting plenty of possessions it was Nick Taylor who got on the end of some fantastic running fast ball movement around the far boundary kicking our first.
Then soon after McKenzie Tanner in his first game for weeks after an ankle injury passed to Charlie Watts who with everyone’s fingers and toes crossed with his unorthodox kicking style, put the Eagles’ second on the board and the slight sniff of an upset was on the cards.
In the second term it was the Magpies who slammed two quick goals on the scoreboard in the first couple of minutes to bring the scores back to even.
Will Friday was playing a magnificent midfield defensive game and Tahlia Middleton was winning her share of contests as the ball went between the two half back lines.
After a couple of points it was Nick Taylor who broke the deadlock with his second goal for the day and then soon after a Jimmy Benton long bomb.
After the Eagles managed to keep the ball locked into our forward line for a long period of time Benton snuck through which brought the house down.
It was the hard work of Adam Storer, Wattsy and Sam Guppy against taller opposition that was able to keep the ball in.
At half time Greg and Flea taught the boys a few more words of encouragement and in the excitement that we were in for a good chance if we could keep it up and keep playing the way we were.
For a long period at the start of the third term it was a battle of the two game styles.
The Maggies started to control the ball in the air with their long kicking and marking game but the Eagles stuck to their run and gun, quick hands pressure game style.
The excitement was incredible when Adam Storer, who was coming under a heap of attention from the opposition, kicked a long range well deserved goal, and then a Harry McCormack pass to Harry Craddock for another.
The Maggies kicked a string of points mostly due to the enormous pressure applied by Reeves and Trent Berry and then Benny Elliott kicked truly giving us a 20 point lead at the third break.
It was a very determined group that took back to the field and the belief in our game plan was becoming evident as the boys kept running the ball and some clever handballs were creating space.
Dan Bruno really stood up as the Maggies threw everything at us and took some telling marks.
Not to be outdone Nick Taylor with some hard running and clever positioning first received a McCormack pass to kick his third and then with only two minutes to go took a customary Taylor chest mark in traffic and kicked his fourth and killed any hope of the Maggies getting back into the game.
Final Scores Mansfield Eagles 9.5.59 defeated Wang Magpies 4.8.34
Sports First Awards: Best: Will Friday, Trent Berry, River Reeve, Jack Marks Nick Taylor, James Benton, Archie Smith.