Hopes for a grand final game have been dashed for the Eagles.
The Eagles under 17s had a swift and devastating loss to Collingullie Glenfield Park in Griffith last weekend.
“We went down,” said coach Jamie Grintell bluntly.
“It was a really close game until fourth quarter time, Collingullie just came out and kicked a lot of goals very quickly, and our boys just couldn’t keep up.
“Our boys put up a good fight; they just lost a bit of leg at the end of the game.”
The scores held up incredibly well for most of the game. The Eagles were ahead in the first quarter, 26-16, and the Demons were only in front by one point come half-time, 35-36.
While the Demons pulled ahead slightly in the third quarter, the game was still anyone’s when the siren went.
It wasn’t until the final quarter when the Demons made a break for it, kicking seven goals and five behinds in the last few minutes of the game. The final score was Eagles 52 to Collingullie 102.
All three Collingullie Glenfield Park teams are playing next week.
It’s been a strong season for the Collingullie side; the Collingullie under 17s finished third on the ladder, with the reserves second and the seniors sitting pretty at the top.
Jayden Klemke, coach of the Collingullie under 17s, agreed that it had been a good, close game.
“It was only seven points at third quarter time,” Mr Klemke said.
“We just ran away with it, and got a few goals. It was a very good game.”
The Demons had to spend Saturday night in Griffith, otherwise “we would have had an early start.”
“I think this year is the best the club has ever been, it’s just a good country club. It’s certainly been the first time I’ve seen the under 17s get into the final.”
Mr Grintell added that the Collingullie under 17s were playing some good footy this year.
“I think the under 17s, they’ll probably beat Griffith next week,” Mr Grintell said.
The Gullie team were a formidable opposition, and the Eagles did a phenomenal job to match them for most of the game.
“They tried their guts out, and they’ve still had some problems with injuries,” Mr Grintell said.
“They’ve had a very good season. She’s all over now; the boys can have a rest for a few months, until the cricket starts.”
The under 17s have had an extraordinary season. With doubts as to whether there were the numbers for a team at the beginning of the season, the under 17s have been boosted in numbers with players stepping in from the under 15s.
Additionally, players from the under 17s have been stepping in to play for the seniors and the reserves all season. On some occasions under 17s players have jumped in to play three games in a single day.
The efforts of the younger players have not gone unnoticed. Older players, other coaches, club officials and the Riverina AFL have all passed comment on the champion efforts of the under 17s and the under 15s.
“Our boys can hold their heads up, they’ve done an extremely good job.
“They should be proud of themselves, the way they handled themselves this year,” Mr Grintell said.
“They’ve done very well.”
The problems of filling under 17s teams are universal, with Mr Klemke admitting that even the Collingullie team also has a few gaps in the line up.
“We’re not bad, but we do have issues with the under 17s. We get a few under 15s to step up.
“It’s got me, but technology might be it. The older kids, they’re just not as energetic any more,” Mr Klemke said.
With the season now completely over for both the junior and senior Eagles, the club will be holding their presentation night on Friday 13 October.
The Riverina League will also host their presentation night tonight at the Narrandera Ex-servicemen’s Club.