New Norfolk football senior game report

Eagles win a thriller at Huonville

| THE New Norfolk Eagles celebrated their biggest win in three seasons when they defeated last year’s SFL grand finalist Huonville by two points in an absolute thriller in the Lions den at the Huonville Oval on Saturday. SEE THE PHOTO GALLERY

The Lions hit the lead by four points late in the final term, but the Eagles were relentless in defence and in the final minutes Eagle young gun Jake Campbell pulled down a great mark at centre half-forward and slammed through the match-winning goal from 40m out for a stunning victory.

The Eagles welcomed the return of Jye County from Western Australia and he was outstanding at full forward, booting seven goals, along with Jake Bearman who returned to the senior squad from suspension. The Eagles also promoted tough defender Conor Kelly-Lennox from the Reserves for his first Senior game.

The Lions were looking dangerous in the first term, with big forward Rhys Ward taking some strong marks and converting the Lions’ first goal, followed by another from Jackson Keogh. New Norfolk hit back with Josh Clifford passing to Jye County for the Eagles’ first.

Clever onballer Jye Bearman added another major with a great snap around the body and moments later County kicked two more majors as the Eagles went into the first break with an eight-point lead: New Norfolk 4.1 (25) to Huonville 2.5 (17).

The Eagles had a number of forward entries early in the second term but failed to convert kicking only minor scores while the Lions booted three goals. Lion veteran Cameron Johns was causing problems for the Eagles across half-back rebounding many of the Eagles’ forward entries but playing coach Dylan Ford passed the footy to talented speedster Rowan Thomason who kicked New Norfolk’s only goal for the term as the Eagles trailed by four points at the main break: Half-time scores: Huonville 5.8 (38) to New Norfolk 5.4 (34).

At the half-time break, coach Ford reminded his players that if they continued to work hard and man-up on their Lion opponents, who formed a strategic line down the centre of the ground, they could win the game.

Both sides were scoring goal-for-goal in the third term, but the Eagles edged ahead due to some great work from captain Josh Farrow along with both Jye County and Jye Bearman hitting the scoreboard. Tough onballer Jordan Eiszele was playing a negating role on dangerous Lion forward Ethan Brock. The Eagles took a nine-point lead into three-quarter time and it looked like a possible upset could be in the making. New Norfolk 9.8 (62) to Huonville 7.11 (53).

The Lions threw some of their taller, stronger and more experienced players into the centre such as Rhys Ward and Mitch Walker along with the “Bulldozer” Rhys Douglas to win the centre clearances, but the Eagles matched up well with big Hayden Moss, Josh Farrow and Jake Bearman equal to the challenge.

The footy was staying in and around the Lions’ half-forward line in the last minutes of the game, but the Eagle backline kept its cool under extreme pressure with Baxter Lewis, Hayden Burns, Jordan Eiszele and Jamie Devine doing some great defensive work at a crucial stage of the game.

It came down to the last dying minutes of the contest when Eagle youngster Jake Campbell became the hero pulling down a great mark and steering through a match winning goal to get up and win by two points for a fantastic win.

It was a great team effort by the Eagles, led by some of the senior players who stand up every week, but the young brigade of Tyler Benson, Hayden Burns, Mitch Hay, Mitch Ford, Liam Lowe and Jamie Devine all continue to develop and build toward the future under coach Ford.

The Eagles belted out the club song post-match and even threw in a version of Hey Baby (Uhh, Ahh) as they hit the showers after a great win for the club. The Eagles now have a competition bye and resume on June 15 when they take on Cygnet at Boyer Oval. Could it be another upset as they head into the second round of matches for season 2024?

Final Scores
New Norfolk 11.9 (75)
Huonville 10.13 (73)
Best – New Norfolk:
Jye Bearman, J. County, J. Eiszele, J. Farrow, T. Benson, H. Moss; Huonville: C. Johns, J. Keogh, R. Douglas, L. Ward, R. Brock, A. Bessell.
Goals – New Norfolk: J. County 7, Jye Bearman 2, J. Campbell, R. Thomason; Huonville: E. Brock 2, B. Jacobson, R. Douglas, R. Ward, R. Brock, L. Ward, T. Godfrey, D. Parremore, J. Keogh.

New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News is a sponsor of the New Norfolk District Football Club.

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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