Eagles win through to grand final

Published on Sunday, September 8, 2019

Author : Ben Pascuzzi

Whittlesea advanced to the A Plus Labour Solutions Division 2 Grand Final after recording a 28-point win over Eltham in the preliminary final.

Leading by seven points at half time, the Eagles began to flex their muscles in the third term, before running away with a 13.6 (84) to 8.8 (56) win at Epping Recreation Reserve.

Whittlesea will now take on Banyule in the premiership decider at Preston City Oval.

The Eagles have won the premiership in each of their past three Division 2 campaigns and will be hoping for a swift return to Meadows Greyhounds Division 1 after being demoted last season.

The preliminary final win was deserved for the Eagles, who withstood a mountain of attacking opportunities from Eltham in the first half – whilst being extremely efficient with their own chances to ensure they led all day.

Jaron Murphy had a day out in the forward line, with his silky left boot steering home a game-high four majors. He was well supported by Chris McCabe, who nailed three goals.

Matthew Coen, Luke Deards and Nathan Stefanile were also instrumental in getting their side across the line, whilst Paul Currie, Sean Desmond and Tim Currie were Eltham’s best as their side’s season came to an end.

Eltham had most of the ball in the first five minutes of the game, but each foray forward failed to produce a major. The Panthers were made to pay at the other end when Whittlesea forward Clancy Band made the most of a free kick to boot the first goal of the game.

Murphy booted his first goal not long after to open a 10-point early lead for the Eagles, before Jesse Freeman finally gave Eltham some reward for effort with at goal just before the 20-minute mark.

A brilliant team goal for Whittlesea soon followed, which saw Matthew Atta cap off a brilliant chain of play, before Murphy booted his second major to give the Eagles a 14-point buffer at the end of the first term.

Despite having more attacking opportunities than their opponents in the first quarter, Eltham went into their second quarter behind.

The Panthers looked to make amends for their inefficient start and Tim Currie converted a goal within the first five minutes to give the Panthers the perfect start to the second term.

A pair of goal exchanges followed before a late Tim Currie goal ensured Eltham would go into the second half with the momentum, despite trailing by seven points.

With a place in the grand final hanging in the balance, Whittlesea started the third term in far brighter fashion. The Eagles nailed the first two goals to open a game-high 20-point buffer midway through the quarter.

Sean Currie was able to put through a reply for Eltham in the 17th minute, but a goal exchange would end the term with Whittlesea still holding a 15-point lead.

The heavens opened as the fourth term commenced and the Eagles made the most of the tougher conditions, with McCabe kicking his second goal with a beautiful finish within the first five minutes.

Jesse Freeman nailed a set shot for Eltham to keep his side in the game, but a goal in the 13th minute from Atta gave a Whittlesea a 21-point lead and essentially sealed the game.

McCabe ended the game in style, with his third major the icing on the cake as his side sealed a grand final Blair Harvey’s first season at the helm.

Final score: Whittlesea 13.6 (84) def Eltham 8.8 (56)


Goal Kickers: J. Murphy 4, C. McCabe 3, M. Atta 2, C. Bland 2, T. Falls, N. Andrews
Best Players: M. Coen, L. Deards, J. Murphy, N. Stefanile, X. Dimasi, C. McCabe


Goal Kickers: N. Reibelt 2, T. Currie 2, S. Currie, D. Jarvis, M. Williamson, J. Freeman
Best Players: P. Currie, S. Desmond, T. Currie, A. Woods, J. Freeman, M. Williamson

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