United’s sole sur­vivor goes down in an up­set MFL RE­SERVES PRE­LIM­I­NARY FI­NAL

The Riverine Herald - - GAME ON - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

ECHUCA United’s last foot­ball grand fi­nal con­tender was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously knocked out be­fore the grand fi­nal, by arch ri­val Moama.

Played at the home of the Ea­gles, Echuca South Re­cre­ation Re­serve, the blue and gold could not have asked for a bet­ter ground to con­test their pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal.

The Mag­pies trailed at the first break, but it wasn’t to be for long, as United were quickly over­hauled and at the long break found them­selves 11 points off the pace.

Moama pro­duced mam­moth third and fourth quar­ters to hold the Ea­gles to just two goals in nearly an hour’s play.

While at the other end, the Mag­pies at­tack­ers smashed home 4.5 in two quar­ters.

The Ea­gles fal­tered to a 38-point loss af­ter fin­ish­ing atop the Mur­ray Foot­ball League re­serves ta­ble in the nor­mal sea­son. United lost just one match in 18 home and away fix­tures, to the Fin­ley Cats in round 11, but were oth­er­wise clear favourites for the flag. Third-placed Moama have now reached the grand fi­nal by do­ing the hard yards — ini­tially de­feat­ing sec­ond-placed Mul­wala in the qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal, be­fore knock­ing United off in the pre­lim­i­nary.

The Mag­pies will now line up against the Mul­wala Lions once again — but this time it will be for the flag.

Moama pres­i­dent David Grubb said it was a great win for the club.

‘‘We’re re­ally happy with the all­round per­for­mance. It’s al­ways a great game when it’s Moama against United, they beat us twice in the year and it’s ex­tra pleas­ing be­cause they’ve worked re­ally hard for this,’’ Grubb said.

Lin­ing up on the other side of the field, Bai­ley Sawyer and Earl Handy were once again the stars of the show for United, as they have reg­u­larly switched be­tween re­serves and se­nior foot­ball this year, show­ing their skill of adapt­ing to the se­niors.

It is a dis­ap­point­ing exit for the mi­nor pre­miers, but for the Mag­pies, it opens a door to achieve what their se­niors couldn’t — a foot­ball flag in 2018.

Luke He­mer

UPS AND DOWNS OF FOOT­BALL: Echuca United’s Bai­ley Sawyer did his best for the re­serves side in yes­ter­day’s Mur­ray Foot­ball League pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal but it wasn’t enough as the Ea­gles, who fin­ished on top at the end of the home-and-away sea­son, suc­cumbed to a 38-point de­feat at the hands of arch ri­val Moama. It means United is out and Moama takes on Mul­wala in this week’s grand fi­nal.Photo:

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