The Collie Eagles have been booted from the 2017 SWFL competition following a shock loss to Harvey Bulls on Sunday afternoon.
Collie’s contingent of fans and club representatives were out in force, while Harvey’s troupe travelled up the hill to wish their team luck.
Matt Blackford and Michael Florio fought off Harvey forwards as the Bulls went on the attack.
Harvey’s Adam Boone missed two opportunities after taking impressive marks close to the boundary line.
Collie struggled to keep play out of the Bulls’ forward 50 before Thomas Smith clinched the game’s first goal.
Florio then responded with his side’s first close to the boundary line.
Collie’s communication and decision making picked up late in the quarter, with Teke Vernon’s kick finding Joel Houghton in the goal square.
Collie left enough space for Boone to take another mark and line up for a successful shot on goal.
Darren Rumble continued Harvey’s fine form before Eagles Vernon and Jebb Swallow booted impressive goals to clinch the lead.
Both sides missed crucial chances before the siren, with Collie edging in front 4.5.29 to 3.6.24 at quarter time.
Collie Eagles coach Clint Swallow said his side was slow at the start and urged players to get the ball first and kick it into the forward line quickly.
Despite Bull Mark Cherubino’s early second quarter goal, the Eagles took charge throughout the term.
Blair Malatesta and Jayce Fontana kicked their firsts for the game to a rapturous response from the ever-growing crowd.
Adam Bignell was given a free kick over a high tackle before Paul Rinder’s effort put Collie in front by 19 points.
Both sides landed tackles and smothers to valiantly stop several attempts at goal.
Goals to Harvey’s David Faulkner and Jacob Pickett narrowed the margin, while Nick Carney and Joshua Krispyn weaved through Collie midfielders with ease.
Goals from Houghton and Fontana continued Collie’s run, gifting the Eagles a comfortable 10.7.67 to 6.6.42 lead at the main break.
Swallow’s speech at half time rallied the troops – calling for his players to play man-on-man football, close up space in defence and fight for the ball to the boundary line.
Like their performance against Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault the week before, the Eagles form steadily decreased in the second half.
Harvey’s defence halted two consecutive attempts from Malatesta straight after bouncedown.
Carney kicked two to give Harvey fans hope, while goals from Bulls Brett Lofthouse and Jordan Fimmano put the Bulls in front shorty before three quarter time.
Harvey’s Kyle Hickman tipped the ball on the goal-line to prevent Malatesta’s last chance on goal for the term.
Leading 11.9.75 to 10.11.71 at the final change, Harvey coach Paul Fimmano said his side read play beautifully while Collie began to fold.
He advised players to get out and score one or two goals early in the final term.
Harvey continued its third-quarter momentum in the fourth, winning possession and passing accurately around the ground.
Faulkner extended the Bulls’ lead before Fontana’s second kept his side in contention.
Harvey missed a number of opportunities while Collie’s defence worked to halt the away side’s dominance.
The Bulls centre half backs prevented the Eagles from marking inside the forward 50.
Harvey’s Rodney Shemeld and Smith sank Collie’s chances of a come-from-behind victory.
Houghton’s fourth goal was a mere consolation, with the Bulls running out 14.11.95 to 12.13.85 victors.
Goals: Joel Houghton (4), Jayce Fontana (3), Michael Florio (2), Blair Malatesta (1), Jebb Swallow (1), Paul Rinder (1).
Best on ground: Teke Vernon (1), Michael Florio (2), Adam Bignell (3), Kyle Shanahan (4), Talan Michael (5), Travis Cleggett (6).