IT was a long road trip last Saturday to Cygnet for the New Norfolk Eagles in what looked to be another tough assignment ahead for a young side searching for their second win for the season over last year’s reigning premier Cygnet. The Eagles have suffered many defeats by big margins over past weeks but showed plenty of improvement on Saturday. However, it was still not enough to get over the line as Port got their game in motion after half-time with a big six-goal third term to run out comfortable 52-point victors.
Key matchups at the start of the contest had Eagle captain Josh Farrow lining up on Port’s big forward Joe Direen. In-form Eagle Tyron Bailey was flying high in the ruck duals with Cygnets Will Polly and the Eagle on-ball unit of Jake Bearman, Brock Triffett and Will Banks were pitted against Ports Toby Cowen, Jakob Lister and Lachlan Watt.
Ben Lovell opened the Eagles account with a strong mark and goal in the opening minutes of the game. The Eagles were hungry for the footy in the early stages with Eagle youngster Riley Higgins hunting the footy across half forward outpointing his Cygnet opponent and then finding Josh Clifford who kicked the Eagles’ second major for the afternoon. Quarter time scores (New Norfolk 3G 1B 19 points to Cygnet 2G.2B.14 points.
The second term got underway as the enthusiastic Eagles continued to apply pressure and found Lovell once again up forward to boot his third. The contest was locked in an even battle until halfway through the quarter when Port just edged ahead with goals to James Webb and key forward Joe Direen to give the home side a 14-point advantage at the half-time break. It was a highly competitive tight contest with the Eagles full of confidence as they looked ahead to the second half. Eagle defenders Rohan Heron, captain Josh Farrow and Jaidyn Fisher-Cooley were steady in defence as they held up many Port forward entries rebounding the footy a number of times to keep the Eagles in touch. Half time scores (Cygnet 6G.3B.39 points to New Norfolk 4G.1B.25 points)
Unfortunately for the Eagles it was a carbon copy of past weeks and has been a similar pattern in the third quarter with a drop off in pressure and intensity around the ball as Cygnet slammed on six goals through Lucas Ford, Rhys Jennings, Zac Curtain, James Zeitzen and two to Joe Direen as they jumped out to a commanding 49-point lead at three quarter time. Scores (Cygnet 12G.5B.77 points to New Norfolk 4G.4B.28 points)
To the Eagles’ credit they fought their way back into the game in the last term holding Port to just two goals while they booted two through Tyron Bailey and a great set shot from 40 metres out with a wet heavy ball from Cody Neads as Port ran out 52-point victors.
A major highlight of the last term was a magnificent “hanger” taken by young Eagle Zayden Kelly at centre half back which drew a big reaction from the good crowd in attendance. Although the rain stayed away for the afternoon the contest was played in damp boggy conditions which made handling the footy difficult throughout the game. The home side was more superior in the marking contests around the ground as they worked hard for the win against a competitive Eagles unit and both sides were missing a number of key players at this stage of the season.
The question now is, can the Eagles grab their second victory for the season against the Hobart Tigers in this week’s game at the big Boyer Oval? It should be an enthralling contest.