FROM the opening bounce, there was no doubt that the Cygnet Football Club had come to play with an eight goal first term setting up an impressive 81-point victory to stamp themselves as one of the flag favourites in season 2021.
The Eagles simply had no answers and were outclassed by the Port and could not match their hard running style of play which gave their tall key forwards Jordan Lane (five goals), Joe Direen (four goals) and small crumbing forward Jake Dance (five goals) great supply throughout the four quarters of football.
Port played the big Boyer Oval like it was their own as they continued to change lanes with great kicking efficiency to find their teammates in open spaces.
They were well led by the on-ball crew of Toby Cowen, Lachlan Watt, Rhys Jennings, and Luke Ashlin.
Giant Port forward Jordan Lane had a breakout first quarter booting three majors and was proving a handful for the Eagle backline.
James Zeitzen, Gordon Bailey, and Jake Dance were adding to the Eagles woes all booting single goals. Big Benny Lovell was looking dangerous up forward for the Eagles taking some strong overhead marks and converting for the home side’s first goal.
He followed up with a great pass to Tyler Ford who also kicked truly to give the Eagles some confidence heading into quarter time.
Quarter time scores were Port 8.3 (51) to the Eagles 3.1 (19).
Port opened the second term with a quick goal from Joe Direen followed by another from Rhys Jennings which gave the visitors a 45-point lead.
It was going to be a big challenge for the Eagles to reel in. A highlight of the quarter was 15-year-old first gamer Bailey Chaplin kicking a great goal from 40 metres out on the boundary line which was a great effort.
At this stage of the game Cygnet’s teamwork was just too good for the home side as they moved the footy from defence into attack with ease while the Eagles lacked run and accountability.
Half time scores (Port 12G 5B 71 points to the Eagles 4G 3B 27 points) Eagle Coach Josh Clifford questioned his players at the main break and demanded a greater effort in the third term.
However, Port was just too classy and continued to control the game adding another 5 goals for the term while the Eagles could only manage one through Tyler Ford.
Port was rotating their two big key forwards in Lane and Direen from centre half forward to full forward which was having a big impact on the game.
Big Eagle ruck man Ashley Burgess had to toil with Ports tall timber Will Polley in the ruck along with Direen and Lane at various stages throughout the game.
Eagle back up ruck man Tyron Bailey left the ground with an ankle injury which forced the coaching staff to move Jacob Daley into the ruck when big “Burgo” was resting.
Cygnet added another five majors for the term to go out to a 72-point lead with three quarter time scores reading (Port 17.7 (109) to the Eagles 5.7 (37).
The Eagles managed to hit the scoreboard in the last term with a great snap from the forward pocket on a tight angle from speedster Jye Bearman for a great goal.
Two majors from Josh Clifford with Ben Lovell adding another produced the home side’s best quarter.
Port kept the scoreboard ticking over with another 5 goals to run out convincing 81-point victors.
No one tried harder for the Eagles than Jamie “Sticks” Sokolski who was in everything and was always competing for the hard ball.
Blair “Torpa” Wardlaw was busy all day, Tyler Ford and Ben Lovell tried hard up forward along with Jacob Daley who played a consistent four quarters.
The Eagles must now focus on an elimination final against the Dodges Ferry Sharks on their home turf at Shark Park.
The senior squad have had an up and down season and have been unable to string wins together due to fluctuations in form and a challenging injury list, but it must be said that finals are a totally different ball game where anything can happen.
The Eagles could have a few players returning from injury which could give the side a much-needed boost for such an important game ahead.
The senior squad has plenty of experience and talent and if our boys are committed on the day, they could cause an upset and take the next step in the finals.
Report by Wayne Walker