League side scores 59-point win over Harvey Bulls in round one

Kicking goals: Collie Eagles Football Club league player Jack Davidson in their forward 50 on Saturday afternoon. The team now sits second on the SWFL ladder. Picture: Thomas Munday.

Kicking goals: Collie Eagles Football Club league player Jack Davidson in their forward 50 on Saturday afternoon. The team now sits second on the SWFL ladder. Picture: Thomas Munday.

The Collie Eagles Football Club league side has kicked off their 2017 South West Football League season campaign with a 59-point victory over Harvey Bulls at Collie Recreation Ground. 

The Easter weekend clash saw Collie Eagles – coming off a one-win, one-loss Dale Alcock Homes pre-season carnival earlier this month – come out to rapturous applause from the home crowd. 

The Harvey Bulls had scored two impressive wins in the pre-season carnival against Eaton and Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault.  

After confusion from the coin toss was hastily cleared up, the Eagles kicked into gear from the first bounce down.

The side drove straight into their forward 50, setting up several early chances and kicking the first few points of the game. 

Thanks to strong marks by their forward line, goals from Blair Malatesta and former Fremantle Dockers player Joel Houghton provided an early lead.

Despite aggressive play from both teams, the Eagles maintained possession in their half and created the majority of chances on goal. 

The side missed multiple shots on goal before Paul Rinder and Adam Bignell kicked through the posts to extend the lead. 

The umpires continually brought the ball back for free kicks instead of paying advantage, raising the ire of coaches and fans. 

The Bulls, although picking up by the end of the first quarter, were no match for the Eagles’ accurate disposals. 

Leading 4.4.28 to 0.2.2 at the first break, CEFC league coach Clint Swallow rallied his players to hit the contest and move the ball fast. 

Harvey upped the ante in the second quarter, increasing possession and shots on goal within their forward 50. 

Both teams’ midfields and backlines, keeping the ball in the middle of the ground, were evenly matched in a low-scoring quarter. 

Harvey Coach Paul Fimmano called for better marking from his team around the ground. 

Brett Lofthouse clinched Harvey’s first goal of the match shorty before half time.

The Eagles were in a good position, leading 6.5.41 to 1.4.10 at the main break. 

Both coaches rallied for their teams to maintain pressure and communication throughout the next half. 

Harvey, spurred on by Fimmano’s half-time advice, attempted to close the gap and maintain play in the forward 50 in the third quarter. 

Goals to Brendon Jones and Lofthouse gave Harvey a boost midway through the quarter, before Eagles Teke Vernon and Houghton put in the final nail.

Both teams played rough, possession-heavy football down the wings before Malatesta kicked the third quarter’s first goal.

Despite multiple clearances from Eagles captain Matt Blackford and Travis Cleggett, the Bulls benefited from several turnovers and missed shots from Collie.

Harvey player Kyle Hickman scored to give his side a glimmer of hope, before another Eagles goal helped to extend the lead to 8.10.58 to 3.5.23 at three-quarter time. 

The fourth quarter saw the Eagles continue to take advantage of the wind.

Goals to Jack Davidson and Malatesta were part of the team’s assault on Harvey’s backline. 

Goals to Brendon Jones and Lofthouse gave Harvey a boost midway through the quarter, before Eagles Teke Vernon and Houghton put in the final nail. 

Houghton’s final-minute goal came from a misguided pass across the face of goal from Harvey’s defence. 

The Eagles 14.11.95 to 5.6.36 victory signalled potential for the side to go one better this season after last year’s grand final loss. 

CEFC heads to Kelly Park for the Anzac Day – Legacy Round clash against Carey Park on Tuesday. 

Goal kickers – Blair Malatesta (5 goals), Joel Houghton (4), Paul Rinder (1), Eugene Hart (1), Adam Bignell (1), Teke Vernon (1), Jack Davidson (1). 

Best on Ground – Blair Malatesta, Paul Rinder, Corey Griggs, Travis Cleggett, Perry Francis, Kyle Shanahan.

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