Narrandera Eagles first grade broke a 38 game drought to boot home a 48 point win against the Leeton Whitton Crows on Saturday.
The final result of Narrandera 15.11 101 to Leeton 7.11 53 was helped by in-form Harrison Grintell bagging three goals in the opening term. Coach Shaun Brooker said the siren at the end of the first quarter could not have come quick enough with the Eagles leading by one point.
“When Leeton scored the first goal of the game within the first 30 seconds, there was a feeling of ‘here we go again’,’’ Brooker said. “The feeling in the sheds after the game was unbelievable; it will be something the young players in the team who have never played in a winning first grade team since making their debuts will never forget.
“It was standing room only in the sheds as all the supporters jammed in to listen to the players belt out the team song.
“One would hope we hear that great song on many more occasions this year.’’
Best players for the Eagles were Jack Grintell, Blake Renet, Isaac Bunge, Luke Paterson, Ryan Price and Ben Perry.
Goal scoring was led by Ben Perry booting home four goals, followed by Harrison Grintell and Isaac Bunge on three each.
A hand injury during the first quarter has sidelined Matt Renet for a few weeks.
After the quarter time break the Eagles went to another level, they linked up by hand and foot to create scoring opportunities.
“The Crows could not match up on the Eagles three talls in the forward line in Macauley Smith, Isaac Bunge and Ben Perry,’’ Brooker said. “These three players provided a target to kick to, if they did not mark the ball they were bringing it to ground giving the small crumbing forwards the chance to hit the score board.
“The pressure in the front half of the ground consistently put the Crows defenders under pressure.
“Time and time again the Eagles players tackled and chased to turn the ball over, the pressure on the ball carrier was excellent allowing the Eagles defenders to rebound the forward entries of the Crows. It was pleasing to see all the hard work the players had been putting in during the pre-season come to fruition during the game. ’’
Hard gut running from offence to defence, team work and confidence to stick to the structures the coaches have put in place during the pre-season resulted in the Eagles breaking the drought.
Brooker said selection of best players on the night was difficult as every player in the team contributed strongly to the win.
“Jack Grintell led the way in the midfield, his sublime skills both sides of his body and tackling opposition players time and time again resulted in him being judged best player on the ground,’’ Brooker said. “This was a great achievement considering the calibre of the Crows midfield. Blake Renet was also amongst the best players, his organisational skills in defence and consistently rebounding forward entries by the Crows.’’
Other good players for the Eagles were Ben Perry who battled well in the ruck and kicking four goals when he was resting forward.
“Isaac Bunge also created first opportunity to the midfield when his was in the ruck and he also hit the scoreboard kicking three goals when he was resting forward,’’ Brooker said. “Luke Paterson led from the front all night, running straight at the ball leaving Crows players in his wake on the way through. ’’
Brooker said new recruit Ryan Price was impressive with his strength in the midfield and a high work rate around the ground.
Narrandera Eagles reserve grade footballers had a dominating win over the Leeton Crows on Saturday, taking home a spectacular win to make it two for two so far this season.
Coach Shaun Gehringer was impressed with how his players took to the field in the game to result in a final score of Eagles 19.12.126 to Leeton 1.5.11.
“The team ran hard all day and played a skilful and physical match,’’ Gehringer said.
Goals were kicked by Gary Ingram (5), Ryan Burden (4), Peter Bloomfield (3), Jamain Morgan (20), Michael Mellon, Ian Donaldson, Brayden Ingram, D’Andre Williams and John Ingram (1).
Best players were Stephen Irons, Shaun Gehringer, Jack Absolom, Gary Ingram, Ryan Burden and Scott Robertson.
In the Under 17s, Leeton was too good from the outset although the young Eagles tackled well in the first half and made Leeton work hard for their possessions. Jayden Livingston, Rory Walsh and Dylan Whiteman played their first game for the club. Best players were captain Brad Cussans and Ben Pearson.
Coach James Sullivan said Dylan Whiteman threw himself into each contest when needed while Kane Williams racked up a lot of possessions and used the ball well. The final score was Eagles 1.4.10 to Leeton 13.17.95.
The Under 15s played their opening game for the season to finish Eagles 6.6.42 to Leeton 13.12.90, while the Under 13s went down to Leeton 3.2.20 to 11.9.75 and the Under 11s finished on 1.2.8 to Leeton 5.7.37.
The juniors and seniors will take over the Narrandera Sportsground from 9am next week for a full day of football and netball. The younger Eagles will be playing against Temora and the seniors will take on Griffith.