Senior Report – by Wayne Walker
THE Huonville Lions had a road trip to Boyer Oval last weekend and recorded their third win by a comfortable margin, leaving a struggling New Norfolk unit in their wake. The Lions’ big men including captain James McIndoe, Rhys and Liam Ward and Michael Paul were too much for the young Eagle side to handle.
These players were ably supported by the experienced Cameron Johns who rebounded many Eagle forward entries along with Rhys Douglas who was strong around the packs. Match-ups at the opening bounce saw Eagle ruckman Jacob Daley flying high with big Lion Liam Ward and Eagle onballer Jake Bearman running with Bevan Roberts.
Veterans Rohan Heron and Lion Michael Paul were pitted against each other to add to their many encounters over the years.
Johns picked up the dangerous Josh Clifford and the return of one of New Norfolk’s favourite sons Mark Horne (for one week only) who had a key matchup on Lion ball magnet Brady Jones. The Eagles were kicking to the dressing room end of the ground in the first quarter aided by a strong breeze. It was Nathan Eiszele, who has returned to the senior squad, who scored the Eagles’ first major. Tough Lion onballer Douglas answered by kicking the visitors’ first goal in a congested pack of players only 10m out from the big sticks.
The Eagles won the footy from the next centre bounce and kicked deep into their forward line to a marking contest. As the ball spilled to ground, Eagle Brayden Chaplin gathered the crumbs at the bottom of the pack and with a quick snap at goal on a 45-degree angle scored the Eagles’ second. The Lions replied moments later as Brady Jones found big key forward Michael Paul who pulled in a strong mark and kicked truly from a set shot 35m out.
The Lions added another six pointer moments later through Dylan Hay who grasped the footy from a boundary throw in and snapped another major to put the Lions 11 points in front as quarter time scores showed Huonville 4.2 (26) leading New Norfolk 2.3 (15).
The Lions opened up the second term with a goal to young forward Tobias Godfrey and another from busy forward Roberts as the visitors skipped away from the Eagles. The Lions’ Douglas was getting plenty of the footy, Jones was working hard around the ground and big follower Dale Thorpe was figuring in the play in the air and around the stoppages. The Eagles were struggling to break clear with clean possession and only registered one behind for the quarter against the breeze as the Lions looked to be getting the game on their terms going in with a 24-point lead at the main break. Half-time scores were Huonville 6.4 (40) to New Norfolk 2.4 (16).
The Eagles needed to make the most of the third term kicking with the breeze to what was the scoring end as ball winner Mark Horne found talented youngster Bailey Wheeler close to goal for the home side’s third major. New Norfolk winger Tyler Purdon booted one of his trademark long drop punts to find Jake Bearman, who marked at the true centre-half-forward position and slammed it through to reduce the Lions’ lead to 12 points. The Eagles lifted their intensity around the ball and applied more tackling pressure to the Lions and had momentum for periods of the quarter as they worked their way back into the contest.
Big Lion Ward kicked a much-needed goal to wrestle back a 16-point lead, but the Eagles continued to push forward and missed a couple of set shot opportunities at goal through Brayden Chaplin for two minor scores.
Moments later the Lions benefited from two 50m penalties to kick a goal for a 22-point lead. Improving half-back Jaidyn Fischer-Cooley found Wheeler up forward 35m out on an angle for a great goal. The Eagles had their best quarter for the match and trailed by only three goals at three-quarter-time as the scores showed the Lions 8.7 (55) to Eagles 5.7 (37).
The Lions started the final term with a goal to James McIndoe and soon got their running game going which resulted in goals to Godfrey, Roberts and Goulding to give the visitors a match-winning break over the Eagles who kicked only one behind for the term as the Lions went on to win by 46 points. Young Eagle Zayden Kelly played a solid defensive game across half back, Jacob Daley toiled away in the ruck contests and played well in his return game from injury. Fisher-Cooley was good across half back, Horne had plenty of the ball and hit his team-mates on the chest throughout the afternoon. Hard-working Wheeler continues to perform well at senior level supporting Daley in the ruck and resting on the forward line with two goals.
New Norfolk fans will have to be patient as the young Eagles find their way through season 2022 with the more experienced players such as Clifford, Ben Lovell, Heron, Jordan Banks-Smith, Daley and captain Josh Farrow guiding the long list of youngsters week by week. It will be a rollercoaster ride as the Eagles try to find some more forward options and more goals per game from some of their running players, but the talent is there.
On a brighter note, we celebrated Josh Clifford’s 250th club game (237 Senior and 13 Reserve) on Saturday. Clifford played his first game in 2007 and played in our premiership teams in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017. He is a previous Captain and Vice-Captain of the club and was the playing coach from 2019 to 2021. Clifford played most of his early football on the wing, but now plays more on the forward line.
The Eagles now look forward to facing the Dodges Ferry Sharks in an all-important clash as they travel to Shark Park this Saturday.
Huonville 12.12 (84)
New Norfolk 5.8 (38)
Best – New Norfolk: Z. Kelly, J. Daley, J. Fisher-Cooley, M. Horne, B. Wheeler, T. Bailey; Huonville: J. Thorpe, D. Thorn, B. Roberts, R. Douglas, D. Hay, A. Johns.
Goals – New Norfolk: B. Wheeler 2, J. Bearman, N. Eiszele, B. Chaplin; Huonville: B. Roberts 3, T. Godfrey 2, M. Paul 2, D. Golding, R. Douglas, L. Ward, J. McIndoe, D. Hay.
Reserves Report – by Wayne Walker
THE Eagle Reserves have recorded their second victory for the season and are starting to find a bit more chemistry within the playing group. The side has a number of players returning for a late start to the season, some returning from injury, and some young Colts who have stepped up week to week. Like the Senior group, the Reserves need to put more goals on the board as they are averaging only six majors per week.
Fortunately, the backline is keeping opposition sides to low scores and is taking shape with the return of the reliable Luke Browning along with Luke Crosswell, who played a great game. They were well supported by the improving Ethan Holden, who has tasted some game time in the Seniors, Brett Hodge at full back and young Corey Keleher complete a pretty solid backline. Cody Neads has added some genuine pace to the group, and big ruckman Michael Murray (returning from injury) performed well. Jake Foster had plenty of the ball and young Bailey Chaplin continues to improve and is a real danger man around goal.
The Eagles scored only two behinds in the first term against the breeze in last Saturday’s game, but the Lions outfit failed to take advantage on the scoreboard, kicking only one major for the term. The Eagles took control in the second quarter with goals to new recruit Brayden Drake, Keleher and Sam Webb as the Eagles took a 16-point lead into the half time break.
The Lions did all the attacking in the all-important third term with goals to Chris Stockfeld and Ryan Guy followed by another from the fast-running Fabian Reeve which gave the Lions a three-point lead. The Eagles bounced back soon after with the hard running Kyle Walker kicking long to the goal square to young gun Chaplin who applied a great tackle to a Lions opponent and then gathered the footy to snap a great goal to put the Eagles back in front at three-quarter-time.
The final term found the Eagles in another close encounter, as they have been in previous weeks. Another goal from Chaplin and a great set shot from 40m out on a tight angle from Nathan Wakefield sealed a well-deserved victory for the Eagles. Wakefield has had a tough couple of weeks with leg injuries and it was great to see him out there again.
New Norfolk 6.10 (46)
Huonville 4.2 (26)
Best – New Norfolk: L. Crosswell, M. Murray, E. Holden, J. Foster, C. Neads, B. Chaplin; Huonville: D. Crouch, C. Walker, L. O’Neill, A. Tatnell-Cowen, J. Stanway, M. Coulson.
Goals – New Norfolk: B. Chaplin 2, B. Drake, S. Webb, C. Keleher, N. Wakefield; Huonville: C. Stockfeld 2, F. Reeve, R. Guy.
Women’s Report – By Zoie Crawford
THE game against a much-improved OHA began in dewy conditions, and the visitors were ferocious in their attack on the footy which made for a tightly contested first half. The Eagles struggled to get their running game going and had to work hard for scoring opportunities, going into half time with plenty of positives but also plenty to improve on.
The third quarter saw a change as the move of Nikayla Roach into the forward line provided the smarts for the Eagles to open up space for their big marking forwards to get to work. Jaymee-Lee Mansfield presented well, and the Eagles were looking much more fluid in attack. The final quarter saw some bruised and battered bodies, which reflected a tough contest. The lady Eagles came out on top by 86 points and now sit on top of the SFLW Division 3 ladder on percentage.
New Norfolk 12.14 (86)
OHA 0.0 (0)
Best – New Norfolk: O. Harris, L. Wigg, Z. Crawford, C. Ford, N. Roach, G. Kube; OHA: S. Schultz, C. Hutt, S. Richardson, C. Hodgman, E. Busch, A. Johns.
Goals – New Norfolk: C. Ford 5, M. Green 3, Z. Crawford 2, A. Robilliard, M. Percey.
Colts Report – by Chris Lovell
THE The young Eagles were faced with a big challenge against top-of-the-ladder Huonville at Boyer Oval on Saturday. In blustery conditions the visitors hit the ground running and had the home side under pressure from the first bounce. After having a fortnight off due to byes, the Eagles took time to find their feet and any sort of structure in their play.
The Lions peppered the goals, scoring four goals and six behinds to the home side’s single point to hold a 29-point lead at the first change and set up what turned out to be a match-winning break. The second quarter saw the Eagles begin to show some semblance of teamwork as they managed to get the ball into their forward line but could only score a goal and four behinds while holding the Lions to one goal and one behind to trail by 33 points at the long break.
The third quarter was an arm wrestle as the Eagles were starting to show their talent as they matched the Lions in most aspects of the game. The visitors were held to one goal while the Eagles scored a goal and two behinds to keep the visitors in sight to trail by 29 points at three quarter time. The scene was set for a close finish, but the Lions proved too strong in the last term, winning by 46 points.
On face value, it was a strong win by the Lions but the game was much tighter than the scoreboard reflected. It has been a difficult start to the season for the young Eagles due to the number of byes and the number of new players in the squad. The team has been developing well but will need some time together to know each other’s style of play and become more efficient as a unit. There is a lot of talent in the side and over the next few games we should see them start to show us what they can do. Let’s hope that the next game against Dodges ferry will be the start of a run of good results for the young Eagles.
NEXT GAMES: Saturday, May 7.
Eagle women v Brighton at Pontville Oval at 10am.
Eagle colts v Dodges Ferry at Shark Park, Dodges Ferry, at 10am.
Eagle reserves v Dodges Ferry at Shark Park, Dodges Ferry at noon.
Seniors v Dodges Ferry at Shark Park, Dodges Ferry at 2pm.