The Collie Eagles Football Club league squad has moved to second on the South West Football League ladder after clinching a 16-point victory against Eaton Boomers on Sunday afternoon.
The players, coaches and crowd members – during the reserves match prior – watched on as storm clouds gathered over the horizon.
The crowd braved overcast conditions to see both teams run out onto the field.
The Eagles, kicking to the town side of the Collie Recreation Ground, took advantage of the strong south-easterly winds.
The side raced through the midfield and kicked accurately into their forward 50 from the outset, leading to several early shots on goal.
The Eagles showcased their team dynamic, with passes and disposals hitting their targets.
Eagle Adam Bignell kicked the game’s first goal.
Recruit Joel Houghton’s first goal extended the lead to 12, before Corey Griggs’ shot on goal was pushed through the point posts by the wind.
Despite their enthusiasm, Eaton’s forward line was no match for Matt Blackford and Perry Francis’s clearances in the Eagles backline.
Paul Rinder’s set shot swayed to the left of goal midway through the quarter.
Tempers flared as Eagle Kyle Shanahan and Boomer Michael Battaglia engaged in a tussle in the Eagles’ forward 50.
Goals from Houghton and Jack Davidson extended the Eagles lead midway through the quarter.
Both teams seemed determined to win, participating in rough, fast play throughout the opening term.
Eaton picked up shortly before the siren, with Boomer Jay Walton slotting one through to give his side hope.
Trailing 4.2.26 to 1.1.7 at quarter time, Eaton coach Brett Maguire urged his team to not let Collie’s forwards take advantage.
Early in the second quarter, Eaton player Christopher Atthowe kicked two goals in quick succession to close the gap.
Brendan Craig’s set shot goal put Eaton in the lead, before Eagle Blair Malatesta put his side back in front before half time.
Ahead 5.2.32 to 4.3.27 at the main break, Eagles coach Clint Swallow praised the defence for holding off the assault from Eaton’s forward line.
“A couple of our mistakes have caused them to get goals,” he said during his club-room address. “There’s an opportunity to put a bit between us and them.”
The Eagles quickly regained their first-quarter form, with Houghton slotting three goals through early in the third quarter.
Eaton’s Mitchell Kings and Blake Piggott capitalised on their opportunities, while Walton’s after-the-siren shot drifted across the face of goal.
The Eagles held a 9.6.60 to 6.5.41 at three-quarter time. At the final change, Swallow pushed his team to keep the forward line open.
The Boomers put pressure on Collie’s backline early in the fourth quarter.
Both sides traded points throughout the final 10 minutes, with fumbles from both sides causing multiple turnovers.
Eagles full forward Jayce Fontana’s first goal of the match sealed his side’s 10.8.68 to 7.10.52 scoreline at full time.
The Eagles will face off against Augusta-Margaret River Hawks at Collie Recreation Ground in round six on Saturday, May 20. The Boomers will go up against Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault at home on Sunday, May 21.
Collie and Eaton (sitting third on the SWFL league ladder behind the Eagles) trail Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault after five rounds.
Goals: Joel Houghton (5), Adam Bignell (1), Jayce Fontana (1), Travis Cleggett (1), Blair Malatesta (1), Jack Davidson (1).
Best on ground: Paul Rinder, Liam Kinsella, Joel Houghton, Corey Griggs, Mathew Michael, Kyle Shanahan