Eagles defeated: Tough season over


ALL New Norfolk teams were on the road last Saturday for the final roster games of the season. The Lady Eagles travelled to Queenborough Oval to try to keep their slim finals hopes alive against a strong Hutchins outfit. Unfortunately the Eagles were missing a number of players through injury, unavailability and juniors playing finals. This made their task harder, but they gave it their all and were beaten by a stronger Hutchins team on the day.

In the final wash up, they missed out on playing finals by percentage only. It has been a great effort this season as they were playing in the stronger Division 2 competition for the first time. This division has been dominated by Claremont and Lauderdale who both dropped back from Division 1. The Eagles have had a great season, uncovered some new talent from the juniors and clearly demonstrated improvement from last year’s Division 3 premiership. Congratulations to all the players, coach Mel Green and assistant coach Josh Clifford. We look forward to next season with great anticipation.

The New Norfolk Seniors and Reserves travelled to Shark Park to take on Dodges Ferry Sharks who were on top of the Reserves ladder and fourth on the Senior ladder. The Eagle Reserves were undermanned due to a number of players being unavailable but there were a number of old players and players playing under permit who stepped up to ensure we fielded a side. Thank you to all those that turned out on Saturday to help the team out. As expected, Dodges Ferry won easily by 158 points.

The Seniors, coming off two major losses – 229 points by Huonville and 127 points by Cygnet – in their two previous matches were also looking down the barrel of a big loss on the difficult conditions of Shark Park. And so, it evolved that the Sharks were way too big and strong, recording a big 167-point victory.

It has been a difficult season for the men’s teams, with the Colts winning one game, the Reserves two, and the Seniors failing to win a game. The coaching staff of Matthew Smith, Nigel Hay, Tristan Triffett, Hedley Thompson and Adrian Burdon have done a great job under difficult circumstances, with a huge turnover of players during the season. There have been more than 50 players rotated through the Seniors alone this season, which has made it difficult to get any consistency into any of the teams.

We now turn our attention to next season and will look to recruit some new, experienced players into the side to assist the young up and coming players we have unearthed this season, to begin our climb up the ladder. We thank all our members, supporters, sponsors and volunteers for their unwavering support this season. Stick with us, there are better things ahead.

Senior Report – Wayne Walker

THE Eagles suffered a heavy 176-point loss to Dodges Ferry on their home deck at Shark Park in the final home and away round on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Eagles they had run into top-of-the-table Huonville, followed by second-placed Cygnet and finally the Sharks over the last three rounds, which took its toll on the young Eagle side as they limped to the finish line for season 2023.

Yes, it’s a season to put behind us but you can always pull out some positives in what has been the toughest of seasons we have had in our club’s history. The Eagles had a surprise inclusion to the Senior side with the return of Baker Smith (son of senior coach Matthew Smith) who returned from Melbourne after having a stint with VFL side Northern Bullants, along with local youngsters Nick Ransley and Zayden Kelly.

The Eagles were caught in deep water early in the contest as the Sharks slammed on nine first quarter goals while the Eagles could only manage one behind for the term. Shark forwards Robbie McManus, Jordan Dunn and Cambell Hooker were all getting in on the action, booting five goals between them. Quarter-time scores were Dodges Ferry 9.6 (60) to New Norfolk 0.1 (1).

The Eagles managed to apply the brakes on the Sharks in the second quarter to some degree, keeping them to five goals while Baxter Lewis kicked the only major for the Eagles. The Sharks had many rotations in the middle of the ground with Jonathan Bullock, Riley Hooker and Brad Joseph having plenty of the football, feeding the Shark forwards.

The Eagles had a setback with star on baller Tyron Bailey unable to play for the remainder of the game due to the sendoff rule and talented utility Rowan Thomason with a hip injury which also kept him from taking any further part in the contest. Half time scores were Dodges Ferry 13.11 (89) to New Norfolk 1.2 (8).

The floodgates opened in the third term as the Sharks had a never-ending supply of forward entries as they piled on 11 goals with big full forward Cambell Hooker instrumental in front of the big sticks. The Eagles had only two players on the bench while the Sharks were rotating players on and off the ground in quick fashion, running the tiring Eagles off their legs. Three-quarter time scores were Dodges Ferry 24.14 (158) to New Norfolk 4.6 (30).

The Eagles had some momentum at different stages during the last quarter, but the Sharks still bagged seven goals while the Eagles scored through Andrew Higgins and Mitchell Hay as the Eagles season came to an end in what has been a tough, frustrating grind from week to week without a win for the year.

The Eagles were best served by Andrew Higgins who provided a target up forward taking some good grabs and bringing the footy to ground creating opportunities. Baker Smith worked hard around the ground and had a strong second half and Zayden Kelly was solid across half back. Tyler Benson and Brayden Butler provided pace and used the footy to advantage and the ever-reliable Josh Clifford led the way once again with a strong four quarter performance.

New Norfolk captain Josh Farrow can hold his head high as he provided great leadership each week with determination and composure in trying times for his club. Other experienced players such as former coach Josh Clifford, Ben Lovell, Nathan Eiszele and Jason Laycock kept the younger playing group invested with valuable feedback pre-match, during the game and post-match to keep the morale up within the playing group.

Let’s hope the lads stick together and look ahead to next year. The Eagles have some great young talent in Will Banks, Mitch Hay, Rowan Thomason, Brayden Butler, Tyler Benson, Zayden Kelly, Tyron Bailey, Jake Campbell, Jacob Goodsell, Ethan Holden, Sam Holloway, Zack Holloway, Jack Miller, Riley Triffett, Nick Ransley and Tyron Triffett to name a few.

They have all had a tough year but have also gained valuable experience in what they have learned in their development from the coaching staff in Matthew Smith, Hedley Thompson, Nigel Hay, Adrian Burdon and Tristan Triffett who tried every strategy, positional move, motivational pre- and post-match address along with encouragement that they could muster to improve and strive for a win.

No doubt there will be hard work ahead, new faces and new expectations in preparation for next year. Everyone who has pulled on the Red, White, and Black jumper this year has to be commended regardless of the result along with players of the recent past that put their hands up to help the club out in a tough period. Names that we all know – Thompson, Murray, Bonnitcha, Wessing, Graham Joseph, Burdon and a host of others – to enable all teams to compete each week.

That’s it from me for this season. Even though it’s been a frustrating year we all love our footy and miss the action when the final siren sounds. To all concerned, the board, the fans and all the volunteers, well done. Go Eagles!

Final scores
New Norfolk 4.6 (30)
Dodges Ferry 31.20 (206)
Best – New Norfolk:
A. Higgins, B. Smith, Z. Kelly, T. Benson, B. Butler, J. Clifford; Dodges Ferry: C. Hooker, B. Richmond, J. Dunn, R. McManus, R. hooker, B. McGuinness.
Goals – New Norfolk: B. Lewis, N. Ransley, M. Hay, A. Higgins; Dodges Ferry: C. Hooker 12, J. Dunn 6, R. McManus 4, R. Hooker 3, D. Reimers 2, F. Kenny, B. McGuinness, M. Cusick, B. Joseph, M. Young, A. Tatnell-Cowen.

Reserves Report – Wayne Walker

THE Reserves encounter was a one-sided affair with the Sharks too strong around the contest and too powerful up forward with man mountain Andrew Press snagging 10 goals and Sam Russell with six. The Eagles failed to apply pressure on the ball carrier in the early stages of the contest, which made the task hard work for the Eagle back six who were up against the bigger bodies of the Sharks who were stronger in the marking contests.

The Sharks led comfortably at every change with the game well in hand by half time, leading by 84 points with the final margin being 158 points. The Sharks are the current reigning premiers and will certainly be hard to beat in the finals.

No one tried harder than Andrew Minchin who has had a consistent season week after week in trying circumstances. Matthew Jones played another solid game and has been one of the Eagles best contributors in the last half of the season. Kyle Rogers continues to impress and looks to be a good prospect for the future. Scott Bonnitcha tried hard all day. Tyron Triffett is a great young player, and we all look forward to what he brings in the future. Thomas Lovell had a solid season performing well on the backline.

The Reserves squad had a different look each week with no chance of a settled line up, but they had a crack recording two wins for the season over Hobart and Claremont along with a number of other games where they were competitive throughout the contest. Well done lads.

Final Scores
New Norfolk 1.5 (11)
Dodges Ferry 25.19 (169)
Best – New Norfolk:
A. Minchin, M. Jones, T. Lovell, K. Rogers, S. Bonnitcha, T. Triffett; Dodges Ferry: A. Press, J. O’Neal, N. Fuller, A. Addicoat, P. Broad, J. McDermott.
Goals – New Norfolk: L. Crosswell; Dodges Ferry: A. Press 10, S. Russell 6, S. Boxall 4, M. Perry 2, J. Wilson, P. Broad, J. O’Neal.

Women’s Report – Vanessa Stevenson and Tash Farrow

THE Eagles were on the road on Saturday to Queenborough Oval for a must win game to keep their slim finals hopes alive. In a hard-fought game and depleted due to many players being away, juniors in finals and injuries, the Eagles went down to a much stronger Hutchins outfit.

The girls who stepped into the team at the last minute did a great job. Dannielle Clifford and Jodie Mather rucked well all day with Dannielle Clifford liking the open expanse of the Queenborough ground. Jaymee Mansfield and Jasmine Skelly were staunch in defence for the Lady Eagles. Hutchins played a hard, fast game and kicked away in the first quarter scoring two goals six behinds with the wind. Ellie Henricks kicked the only goal for the Eagles, sprinting into an open goal. Quarter time scores were Hutchins 2.6 (18) to New Norfolk 1.0 (6).

The Eagles settled better in the second quarter and were matching their opponents, but the scores didn’t indicate how well they were playing. The Eagles were kept scoreless with Hutchins kicking three goals three behinds to extend their lead. Sophie Farrow was again playing a great captain’s game. Jorja Franklin and Ellie Henricks were also contributing well.

Haylee James seemed to be everywhere on the ground for the Eagles and on more than one occasion had to beat three Hutchins players to the ball. She tackled beautifully and was clearly the Eagles’ best for the quarter. Jaymee Mansfield was excellent in defence, marking and tackling well. Laura Wigg was working hard on the wing. Half-time scores were Hutchins 5.9 (39) to New Norfolk 1.0 (6).

The Eagles started the third quarter playing great footy but couldn’t put the score on the board. They kept Hutchins to one goal one behind for the quarter while they kicked three behinds with missed opportunities for goals. The whole Eagle team was playing great footy and should be proud of their effort in this quarter.

Maddison Krause and Amy Hoskinson were tackling well, trying to open the defence, and sending the ball back into the Eagles’ forward line. Ellie Henricks received a free but could only record a behind. Nemesia Skelly had three opponents at one stage and did a great job keeping the ball in play for a throw up. Three-quarter time scores were Hutchins 6.10 (46) to New Norfolk 1.3 (9).

The Eagles started strongly in the final term with some great play from Jodie Mather to Sophie Farrow to Dannielle Clifford to Hayley Roberts who beat three Hutchins players for a beautiful goal. This was followed by free kick to Olivia Johnson but Hutchins turned the ball around. A great mark by the Eagles’ Hayley James sent the ball back into the forward line.

Great tackling and team work from Sophie Farrow, Grace Kube and Hayley Roberts saw Jodie Mather kick her first goal. The Lady Eagles battled on well in the centre, but the final siren sounded with Hutchins winning by 39 points. It was great to see Laura Wigg back in the lineup on Saturday.

After the game, assistant coach Josh Clifford congratulated the girls on their season and told them how proud he and coach Mel Green were with how they performed after moving into the tougher Division 2 competition. He especially thanked all the junior players who stepped up this year which demonstrated what an amazing bunch of girls they were. They showed they were ready for Senior football and were in the best players most weeks. It shows the depth of talent in the Valley and beyond.

Final Scores
New Norfolk 3.3 (21)
Hutchins 8.12 (60)
Best – New Norfolk:
H. James, J. Franklin, S. Farrow, D. Clifford, J. Skelly, L. Wigg. Hutchins: G. Parnham, S. Jones, G. Crawford, R. Cavarretta, M. Garrett, E. Burrows.
Goals – New Norfolk: Ellie Henricks, J. Mather, H. Roberts; Hutchins: .M. Garrett 3, G. Crawford 2, R. Cavarretta, A. Badenach, G. Parnham.

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