New Norfolk football senior game report

Rebuilding Eagles closing the gap

| THE New Norfolk Eagles took another giant step in the 2024 season by being super competitive against last year’s reigning premier Cygnet at Boyer Oval on Saturday. When the sides met in round one the Eagles suffered a 104-point drubbing but this time the margin was 40 points.

There has been steady improvement over the past month as the Eagles edge closer to the top and mid-tier teams on the ladder. Coach Dylan Ford is instilling into the playing group that they are not far from becoming more consistent and matching it with the stronger teams in the competition.

Ford said on Saturday that only for certain moments or missed opportunities in patches of the game, the Eagles were right in the contest. A big plus in the game was that the Eagles held Cygnet to just 12 goals for the entire match.

The Eagles missed a number of early shots at goal in the first term. They also missed a few targets up forward by turning the footy over to the visitors in the opening 10 minutes, which proved costly. The Eagles were missing utility/forward Ben Lovell (suspension} and Jake Bearman (unavailable) but brought in the very handy Tyson Eiszele and back man Conor Kelly-Lennox. Young gun Tyron Bailey lined up for his 50th senior game.

Key ruckman Corey Ransley had the big task of going head-to-head with Cygnet’s giant tall Will Polley. Eagle coach Dylan Ford lined up on Cygnet coach Lachlan Watt, while Eagle captain Josh Farrow and onballer Jye Bearman were faced off against Cygnet’s Will Cleeland and Toby Cowen in the centre to start the contest. Eagle speedster Rowan Thomason was at full-back against Cygnet’s big key forward Joe Direen.

The Eagles had chances early in the first quarter but were wasteful in front of goal, kicking only three behinds. They also had the ball in their forward half a number of times but could not convert a major score while Cygnet netted three goals to give them a 19-point lead at the first break: Cygnet 3.4 (22) to New Norfolk 0.3 (3).

The Eagles gained some momentum in the second term with a great spoil from youngster Liam Lowe who put his body on the line which resulted in the Eagles’ first major, kicked by Josh Clifford. Cygnet hit back through dangerous small forward Jake Dance who kicked truly but Eagle full forward Jye County answered with a clever snap for his first goal as the Eagles trailed by only eight points.

Cygnet continued to create the loose man and found George O’Neill for a major. They followed up with another goal moments later through Noah Clifford. The Eagles continued to work hard and were matching up well against good opposition. Young gun Tyler Benson was performing well on a wing, giving the Eagles drive from the centre of the big Boyer Oval. Forward Jye County added another goal for the home side to be just 18 points behind at the main break in what was a spirited first half by the Eagles: Cygnet 6.8 (44) to New Norfolk 3.8 (26).

Cygnet’s Dance hit the scoreboard early in the third term while the Eagles could only register minor scores by Farrow and County. Big key forward Joe Direen was always looking dangerous close to goal and converted another goal for the visitors to maintain a buffer. However, the Eagles continued to stay in the match with Jye Bearman bagging a six pointer to keep the Eagles in touch: Cygnet 8.12 (60) to 4.12 (36).

The Eagles made some positional changes at three-quarter time, moving County from full forward to the ruck, Corey Ransley to centre half forward and Jake Campbell to full forward. Some missed opportunities by the Eagles failed to close the gap and Cygnet managed to get away in the last quarter, kicking four goals to the Eagles’ one to record a 40-point win.

There were a number of positives to draw on post-match in what was a solid four-quarter performance for the Eagles against the reigning premier and also their magnificent victory the fortnight before against the Huonville Lions.

The Eagles now head off to Dodges Ferry to take on the Sharks in what should be a great match this Saturday. Last time the sides met it was a tight contest until the Sharks got away mid-way through the third term. The Eagles look to be in better shape at this point of the season but have not recorded a win for some time at the home of the Sharks. Could this be a defining moment for the club to set sail heading toward the business end of the season?

Final scores
Cygnet 12.12 (84)
New Norfolk 5.14 (44)
Best – New Norfolk:
J. Farrow, T. Bailey, T. Benson, Jye Bearman, C. Ransley, D. Ford; Cygnet: N. Duggan, L. Watt, N. Clifford, W. Polley, J. Tammens, J. Cowen.
Goals – New Norfolk: J. County 2, Jye Bearman, J. Campbell, J. Clifford; Cygnet: J. Direen 4, J. Dance 3, T. Cowen 2, N. Clifford, G. O’Neill, T. Clark.

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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