THE Dodges Ferry Sharks were right at home as they soaked up the heavy wet conditions to run out big winners by 90 points over a battling New Norfolk side at Shark Park on Saturday.
Heavy rain fell at different stages of the contest which made scoring difficult, but the Sharks found their groove halfway through the second term booting six majors while holding the Eagles scoreless. They followed up with 10 last half goals to run away with a big win as they handled the footy much better than the Eagles in the wet greasy conditions. New Norfolk started the game in good fashion kicking with a favourable breeze.
They had plenty of the footy in their forward half but could only manage one goal through big forward Caleb Triffett while the Sharks also booted one major against the wind. The Sharks defended well to prevent the Eagles from grabbing an early break on the scoreboard. Big Shark ruck man Jack Siggins flew with Eagle star Jacob Daley at the centre bounces. Sam Youl went to Eagle sharpshooter Josh Clifford and promising young defender Zayden Kelly had a big job on Shark goal-kicking ace Campbell Hooker.
The Eagles created a bit of history with the return of veteran Josh Kelly lining up with son Zayden which was great to see a father-and-son combination in the senior team. The Eagles went into the game missing talented captain Josh Farrow along with Jordan and Nathan Eiszele and young gun Riley Higgins. On a brighter note it was great to see the return of Aaron Papera who adds some much-needed toughness around the contest and will be a great asset for the Eagles in weeks ahead.
Quarter time scores were tight as the Eagles led 1G.4B.10 points to the Sharks 1G.1B.7 points. The second term started with Shark on baller Riley Hooker booting the first major with a clever snap. The Eagles were well entrenched in the contest with some good work from Daley, Brock Triffett, Jake Bearman and Brayden Butler. Midway through the term Riley Hooker benefited from a 50-metre penalty to boot another goal to give the Sharks a mini break to lead by 12 points. The Sharks upped the tempo and started to get on top of the young Eagles with a flurry of goals from Jack Dolliver, Jordan Dunn another from Dolliver followed by a snap from the busy Jayde Young as the Sharks took control and used the scoring end to great advantage.
They went into the half time break with a commanding 39-point lead while the visitors were scoreless for the quarter. Half time scores: Sharks 7G.7B.49 points to the Eagles 1G.4B.10 points The Eagles jumped out of the blocks in the third quarter with goals to Brayden Chaplin and key forward Ben Lovell, which put them within four goals of the Sharks. The home side continued to push forward and found big Campbell Hooker who had been well held by Zayden Kelly for the first half as he drilled two quick goals to wrestle back the momentum and jump out to a 38-point break. The Sharks found two more goals through Broad and Dunn before the three-quarter time break to give them a match winning 50-point lead, which was well out of reach for the Eagles in difficult conditions.
Three quarter time scores (Sharks 11G.7B.73 points to the Eagles 3G.5B.23 points) The floodgates opened in the last term as the Sharks dominated the play with the footy spending most of its time in the home side’s forward half. They added six goals for the quarter (three to Campbell Hooker) while the Eagles remained on their three-quarter time score as the Sharks went on to record a big 90-point victory. Eagle back man Jordan Banks-Smith played a great game across half back, Tyron Bailey is in great form and shows great versatility, Jacob Daley has been outstanding all season, Jake Bearman continues to bore in for the hard ball every week and young Brayden Butler keeps his cool making every possession count.
Coach Tim Butterworth addressed his players post-match said they can be more than competitive for periods of the game but fall away quickly when opposition sides gain scoring momentum. The Eagles next encounter is at home to the Brighton Robins.