After a nail-biting finish to the season the under 17s Narrandera Eagles are through to the semi-finals of the RFL competition.
The under 17s had to win last weekend’s game against Mangoplah CUE in order to get through to the next round. Failing that, the Eagles were relying on the Wagga Tigers losing their final game to
secure a spot in the top five.
The stars aligned on the weekend. Not only did the Eagles win their game, but the Tigers went down to Collingullie Glenfield Park, meaning the Eagles are now sitting at number four on the ladder.
“We had a good win on the weekend against Mango,” said under 17s coach Jamie Grintell.
“We kicked a goal with 40 seconds to go so it was a very good game of football. We won by only three points.”
The game was incredibly close, with the final score 69-66. Narrandera spent the two middle quarters just behind Mangoplah, with their final goal coming just in the nick of time.
“We probably didn’t play good footy all game, but that happens with big games when the pressure’s on.
“Hopefully we can play a good game next week in Wagga,” Grintell said.
The Eagles will face off against Mangoplah again next week in the first semi-final.
“It’ll be another close game, they’re similar sides. But we’ll put in a good effort. We’ve got four under 15s players as well.
“It’ll only be one game on the weekend, so hopefully they’ll be a bit fresher. We don’t play until Sunday, so they’ll have an extra day as well.”
With numbers initially low in the under 17s, and with a few gaps in the older sides, players have been stepping up into higher codes. Under 15s Eagles have been playing in the under 17s side, while under 17s players have been swelling the ranks of the reserves and the seniors.
“The blokes that came up from the under 15s have improved and the blokes that have played up a grade have definitely improved.
“I know we’ve pushed them to their limit but their football has definitely improved,” Grintell said.
If the under 17s win this weekend’s game they will go on the play the loser of next weekend’s Collingullie versus Turvey Park game.
No matter what the results, the Eagles under 17s have had an exceptional season.
“They’re very excited to be in the finals. They’ve done a very good job. Especially at the start of the year when we thought we might not even be able to get a side together and with the injuries; we’ve still got a lot of injuries on the team,” Grintell said.