The Collie Eagles overcame the Eaton Boomers’ intimidating league side and home crowd in round 14.
After three rounds at the new-look Glen Huon Reserve, the ground showed signs of immense ware and tear.
The colts and reserves teams dived in first and came off battered and bruised. As the league sides ran onto the ground, the reserves seemed almost too exhausted to stand up.
Collie fans roared as player Corey Griggs celebrated is 150th game. Griggs and Collie won the toss and elected to kick towards the southern end.
Described by crowd members as a “boghole”, the ground proved detrimental for both sides early on. Boomers’ player Joseph Peter John Bertola had a chance at goal smothered by Collie’s backline.
Joel Houghton missed an early chance before Bertola snap-kicked the game’s first goal.
The majority of players slipped and slid across the ground, with play primarily taking place in the muddiest patches. The Eagles looked troubled after Eaton's Mitchell Kings kicked his side’s second.
Houghton kicked Collie’s first two goals to shrink the home side’s lead. Both teams took some time to adjust, with numerous chances squandered shortly before quarter time.
Leading 2.4.16 to 2.0.12 at quarter time, Eagles coach Clint Swallow injected enthusiasm into his team.
He urged his side to get back to man-on-man football, increase communication and work hard as a unit.
Throughout the second half, the ball’s water intake restricted passing and kicking.
The Eagles maintained possession from the outset before Fontana was forced to limp off the ground. Dirty, rough play saw both teams give away multiple free kicks.
The crowd was riled up as Collie and Boomers players engaged in a tussle in the Eagles’ forward 50. Houghton kicked his third goal to extend Collie’s margin to 3.4.22 to 2.0.12 at half time.
Swallow said his side as doing well despite the difficulties. He said they needed to work hard to make up ground and make sure all players were covered.
The third quarter played out similarly to the first two, with players soccering and kicking close to the ground.
Marking also proved challenging as both sides resorted to tapping and knocking the ball out of every contest.
The quarter was dominated by throw-ins and ball-ups, while only one point was registered in the term.
Trailing 3.5.23 to 2.0.12 at the final change, Eaton coach Brett Maguire advised his team to be mindful of players down the line and to step up to the challenge to get the three points.
Aware it was a game they needed to win, the Boomers took Maguire’s words into consideration. Soon after the opening bouncedown, Eaton set up numerous chances and kept play in their forward 50.
Boomer Heath Ryder missed a valuable opportunity by choosing to snap kick rather than line up for a shot on goal.
However, it was not long before Malatesta and Fontana kicked their first goals for the game. Collie’s Mark Williams missed his chance to extend the lead, with the wind unable to push the ball over the goal-line.
Boomers Bertola and Christopher Atthowe led a mini-comeback for the home side, but Collie held on for a 5.5.35 to 4.4.28 scoreline at full time. Collie has stayed second on the SWFL 2017 ladder while the Boomers slipped to seventh.
The Eagles play Augusta-Margaret River away and Eaton faces league leaders Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault in a twilight match in round 15.
Goals: Joel Houghton (3), Blair Malatesta, Jayce Fontana.
Best on ground: Kyle Shanahan (1), Teke Vernon (2), Corey Griggs (3), Jared Debenham (4), Matt Blackford (5), Adam Bignell (6).