Magpies won battle of the birds and claimed Clayton Cup


ALL teams were on the road to Abbotsfield Park last Saturday for a challenging round of football against the Claremont Magpies. The Senior Women faced an enormous challenge against the top-of-the-ladder Claremont in the first game of the day in extremely gusty conditions.

The Reserves followed in what can only be described as impossible conditions. The wind was playing havoc, with strong gusts making good football very difficult. The Seniors were pumped for a good performance in a game which many thought was an opportunity for their first victory of the season. Lastly, the Colts had the late game starting under lights at 4.30 pm and playing in difficult conditions with light rain falling at stages of the match.


Senior Report by Wayne Walker

THE Claremont Magpies managed to fall across the finish line over a desperate but disappointed New Norfolk Eagles outfit at Abbotsfield Park on Saturday. The game was played in difficult windy conditions, which made good football impossible.

The Eagles looked like the better side in the third term, taking a 15-point lead during that quarter, but the Magpies steadied and kicked two late goals to trail by only three points at the three-quarter time break. They went on to kick a goal and five behinds in the last quarter while keeping the Eagles scoreless to record a narrow 8-point victory.

Most of the action was played on the scoreboard side of the ground as the strong winds wreaked havoc throughout the contest, making it a hard day at the office for key forwards on both sides. The Eagles went into the match without key forward/ruck man Ben Lovell and utility Jordan Banks-Smith while the Magpies were missing ball magnet Marty Allison and onballer Jack Adams.

Key match ups in the first term saw Eagle back man Jaidyn Fisher-Cooley pick up big Magpie forward Dylan Huxley. Magpie forward Jake Harris had Eagle backman Rowan Thomason as his opponent. Eagle big man Brayden Drake competed in the ruck contests against Zach Evans-Fenton and Eagle defender Luke Crosswell was on Magpie veteran forward Clint Curtain.

The Eagles hit the scoreboard early in the first quarter with young gun Tyler Benson kicking a clever goal from a tight angle along the ground for the first score of the match. The Magpies answered with a six pointer from key forward/follower Jack Crossin and another just minutes later. The Eagles won the footy from the next centre bounce and found the talented Tyron Bailey who kicked the footy over his head into the goal square. Big Eagle forward Jason Laycock got his boot to a rolling footy and steered it through for the Eagles’ second. Quarter time scores were Claremont 3.2 (20) to New Norfolk 2.2 (14).

Both sides found the going tough in the second term as the strong wind gusts continued to have a big impact on players’ ability to execute their skills by hand and foot. This made it hard to maintain any flow-on play or genuine teamwork as the main focus became a case of moving the footy forward at all costs to get closer to the goal.

The game was a hard-fought scrap, but the Eagles found a way with goals to Josh Clifford and Jordan Eiszele. That was short-lived as Jake Harris answered with two quick goals in succession for Claremont to retake the lead (32 to 28) at the 12-minute mark of the quarter. At this stage talented Eagle youngster Jacob Goodsell was sidelined with an ankle injury and could not take any further part in the game. Eagle speed machine Will Banks had the footy across half forward and kicked truly to wrestle back the lead. Hayden Davis followed with another as the Eagles enjoyed a nine-point lead at the main break. Half time scores: New Norfolk 6.5 (41) to Claremont 5.2 (32).

The Eagles opened the third term making a few positional changes with Jason Laycock moving into the ruck and Eagle ruckman/forward Corey Ransley to full forward. Banks slotted through his second goal, but the Magpies found veteran forward Curtain moments later for a quick reply. Ransley created a contest in front of goal bringing the footy to ground level, finding Benson to kick his second major. The Eagles pushed forward once again from the next centre bounce as a free kick was awarded to Bailey who kicked another goal for the visitors to give the Eagles a 15-point lead. The Magpies bounced back with two quick goals, one courtesy of two 50m penalties which was costly for the Eagles after having a 15-point buffer in trying conditions. Three-quarter time scores: New Norfolk 9.6 (60) to Claremont 9.3 (57).

The scene was set for a tight last quarter as the footy spent most of its time rebounding from one half back line to the other. At the 20-minute mark of the term the Magpies kicked the all-important final goal and held on by eight points to take the inaugural Mulga Clayton Cup.

The Eagles were well served by Josh Farrow and Nathan Eiszele on the backline. Will Banks had plenty of football, displaying his skill and pace. Tyron Bailey also provided some great highlights throughout the game with his high marking and consistency over four quarters. Eagle youngsters Tyler Benson and Mitchell Hay had important moments throughout the contest.

While it’s frustrating not getting a win there are positives each and every week. The coaching staff continue to work with the young group of players and continue to teach and communicate not only at training but also during quarters when players are coming to the bench. The Eagles have had a few heart-to-heart sessions post-match on what went right and what went wrong. We have seen improvement over the last month.

In round one the Eagles were defeated by more than 100 points against Claremont. So, Saturday’s eight-point defeat was a 100-point improvement. No doubt there will be some tough challenges ahead against some of the top sides, but every club experiences a low at some stage. So, all you Eagle fans make sure you are at Pontville Oval this week and get out of your car and cheer on the Red, White and Black in the Brendon Browning Memorial Day. Come and show your face in the rooms before the game, at half time and post-game to support the boys.

Final Scores
New Norfolk 9.6 (60)
Claremont 10.8 (68)
Best – New Norfolk:
T. Bailey, W. Banks, J. Farrow, N. Eiszele, T. Benson, M. Hay; Claremont: J. Harris, H, Bielleman, L. Adams, J. Crossin, B. Bester, R. Hanley.
Goals – New Norfolk: W. Banks 2, T. Benson 2, T. Bailey, J. Laycock, J. Eiszele, H. Davis, J. Clifford; Claremont: J. Harris 3, H. Bielleman 3, C. Curtain 2, J. Crossin, Z. Evans-Fenton, D. Huxley.

Reserves Report by Wayne Walker

THE New Norfolk Reserves battled hard to chalk up their second victory for season 2023 in the most difficult conditions we have seen so far this year with strong wind gusts from start to finish at Abbotsfield Park on Saturday. The Eagles trailed in the first half but fought hard for the contested ball in the second half to graft out a well-earned win for the club.

Coach Nigel Hay was elated in his post-match address with his side’s performance and commended his players for the effort they put in. He also made special mention of the older brigade that has helped with numbers each week to enable the club to field teams to compete and still be a force in future years. Players such as John Murray, Luke Joseph, and Shane Bonnitcha lined up for the Eagles adding some on-field experience and much needed voice which is invaluable for the rest of the group.

The Magpies kicked the only goal late in the first quarter to lead by six points at quarter time. It took until midway through the second term before the Eagles hit the scoreboard with a clever snap from Tyler Heron, but the Magpies managed to graft out another goal before the main break to go in with a six-point lead. Half time scores: Claremont 2.0 (12) to New Norfolk 1.0 (6).

The Eagle backline held the Magpies at bay, keeping them scoreless in the third quarter due to some great work from Matthew Jones and Thomas Lovell who were well supported by Shane Bonnitcha and Luke Joseph. Eagle veteran John Murray trapped the footy in the true centre half forward position beating two Magpie opponents and tapped the footy into some open space which enabled Josh Oliver to boot the only goal for the quarter and give the Eagles a one-point lead at three-quarter time: New Norfolk 2.1 (13) to Claremont 2.0 (12).

In a tight last quarter, it took a snap shot in heavy traffic from New Norfolk’s Jack Evans to put the Eagles in front, but the Magpies still had a number of forward entries only to be turned back by the old guard of Jones, Bonnitcha and Joseph to hold on for a game eight-point win.

Final Scores
New Norfolk 3.2 (20)
Claremont: 2.0 (12)
Best – New Norfolk
: M. Jones, T. Lovell, S. Bonnitcha, L. Joseph, J. Murray; Claremont: C. Bennett, B. Braunack, B. Kaye, J. Masters, J. Fewkes, T. Rainbird.
Goals – New Norfolk: T. Heron, J. Evans, J. Oliver; Claremont: . D. Newton, M. Stocks.

Colts Report by Chris Lovell

FOLLOWING their first win of the season against Dodges Ferry and a week off for the bye, the young Eagles were full of confidence for their encounter with Claremont on Saturday. Conditions at Abbotsfield Park were not ideal, due to blustery wind and light rain. The 4.30pm start meant the lights were required and conditions were difficult until the lights fully kicked in.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Claremont boys were up and about and handled the difficult conditions much better than the Eagles. The first quarter was a complete domination as Claremont piled on two goals and five behinds while the Eagles were kept scoreless. Only for inaccuracy (not surprising given the conditions) the margin could have been much greater at the first break: Claremont 2.5 (17) to New Norfolk 0.0 (0).

The second quarter was a continuation of the first as Claremont continued to outplay the Eagles. They piled on another three goals and four behinds while restricting the Eagles to a single major. The Claremont boys were first to the ball, were running in numbers and completely outclassing the Eagles. Half time scores: Claremont 5.9 (39) to New Norfolk 1.0 (6).

Coach Tristan Triffett challenged the young Eagles at half time to take responsibility for their actions, to man up and play for each other and the jumper. While they did run out with greater intent in the third quarter, the Claremont lads were still too skillful and continued to pepper the goals piling on another three goals and three behinds while again restricting the young Eagles to a single goal: Claremont 8.11 (59) to New Norfolk 2.0 (12).

The final quarter was much the same as the other three quarters with Claremont running riot and scoring three goals and four behinds while holding the Eagles to a single goal. The final 63-point margin was a true reflection of the game. After the game Coach Triffitt pointed out that everyone has a bad day at some point. It was obvious that Saturday was one of those days for the young Eagles. He reminded them that they were better than that and they should get stuck into their training and turn their form around for the rest of the season.

Final Scores
New Norfolk 3.0 (18)
Claremont 11.15 (81)
Best – New Norfolk:
Z. Holloway, B. Triffitt, C. Blackaby, L. Kenyon, S. Jackson; Claremont: J. Smith, T. Cooper, K. Curtain, C. Bennett, H. Burns, K. Edge.
Goals – New Norfolk: B. Ward 2, L. Kenyon; Claremont: J. Graham 3, K. Curtain 2, K. Edge 2, J. Smith, T. Cooper, Z. Edge, S. Waters.

Women’s Report by Vanessa Stevenson and Tash Farrow

THE Senior Women travelled to Abbotsfield Park on Saturday to tackle top-of-the-ladder Claremont in blustery conditions. The Eagles put the first goal on the board with a great shot by Nem Skelly. The trio of Ellie Henricks, Sid Skelly and Sophie Farrow were battling hard in and around the midfield. The Eagle defence held Claremont to seven points which was a great effort. Nat Bearman was staunch in defence. Quarter-time scores: Claremont 1.1 (7) to New Norfolk 1.0 (6).

The second quarter began as the wind picked up even more, which made it very hard for both teams to take overhead marks. The play at times was quite scrappy but the Eagles did everything they could to keep Claremont to two goals and one point. Maddi Devine battled well against her much taller opponent in the ruck. Younger Eagles players Sid Skelly, Hayley James, Ellie Henricks were also playing well. Experienced players Olivia Johnson and Jodie Mather both played well during the quarter. Half-time scores were Claremont 3.2 (20) to New Norfolk 1.0 (6).

The Eagles played well in the third quarter and the score didn’t indicate how hard they were trying. The younger players in Taylah Squires, Hayley James and Jorja Franklin were playing extremely well with plenty of footy being played at ground level. Nat Bearman, Jay Mansfield and Dannielle Clifford were staunch in the backline and ruck. The Eagles could only manage a behind for the quarter while holding Claremont to two goals: Claremont 5.2 (32) to New Norfolk 1.1 (7).

The wind continued to be very strong in the last quarter. Claremont was held to one goal while the Lady Eagles failed to score. Krystina Jacobs and Jodie Mather were tackling well, and Ellie Henricks and Sid Skelly were great picking up the loose footy. Dannielle Clifford was playing well in the ruck and around the ground as was Ashley Green and Jodi Mather.

All up the Lady Eagles played a great game, and while beaten they really stood up against the ladder leaders. We have much talent in the younger Eagles and the club’s future looks bright in this tougher division. Following the game, NNDFC vice president Chris Lovell presented Jaz Skelly with a framed photo in recognition of her achievement in becoming the first female player to play 50 games for the club.

Final Scores
New Norfolk 1.1 (7)
Claremont 6.2 (38)
Best – New Norfolk:
Natalie Bearman, Jaymee Mansfield, Sidonie Skelly, Hayley James, Sophie Farrow, Dannielle Clifford; Claremont: Kylie McCauley, Natalie Smedley, Natalie Heggie, Thomasa Corrie, Madeline Visser, Stevie Triffitt.
Goals – New Norfolk: Nemesia Skelly; Claremont: Natalie Heggie 3, Natalie Daniels 2, Katie Stanford.

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