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