Lions too strong for Collie in the wet

The Collie Eagles’ horror start to the 2018 South West Football League continued on Saturday as they recorded their sixth straight loss against Harvey Brunswick Leschenault.

In wet and windy conditions, the Lions proved too strong for a young Eagles team and claimed the 28 point victory.

The loss leaves the Eagles sitting in last position on the ladder with just ten rounds remaining in the season.

Taking on the third-placed Harvey Brunswick Leschenault, who was coming off its most impressive win of the season, was always going to be difficult for the Eagles, but it got tougher when the Lions won the toss and took advantage of a strong breeze.

The slippery conditions and the tackle pressure from both teams meant it took more than five minutes before the Lions kicked the game’s first goal, courtesy of Jesse Crichton.

The Eagles responded almost immediately, with Michael Florio running onto a loose ball and kicking a long-range goal. The joy was temporary however as Florio limped off the ground after the goal with what coach Seth White confirmed to be a torn hamstring.

Both teams continued to be evenly matched and as the rain stopped, the skills picked up. A smart soccer kick out of a pack from Ben Busslinger gave the Lions their second goal, before Joel Leeson gave Collie its second from a snap just outside the goal square.

The Lions then capitalised on the conditions with Ben Roberts kicking two goals to end the quarter with a 15 point lead.

With the advantage of the wind, the Eagles came out hard in the second quarter and claimed their third goal early, through a free kick from Adam Bignell.

However the Eagles couldn’t draw themselves level as Jesse Crichton kicked his second of the day before the rain set in again.

Both teams struggled to take control of the game for the rest of the first half. Not long before the siren, Blair Malatesta read the conditions well and soccer kicked goal to bring the margin back to eight points at half time.

With the game on the line, Bailey Moloney put the Eagles within two points with his pace, but the Lions were able to respond with a goal from Zavier Williams.

The Lions could have added more goals and put the game out of reach but gave the Eagles a chance with their inaccuracy, kicking five behinds in the third term.

Some great ball movement in the condition led to goals to Leeson and Malatesta, which again brought the Eagles to just one point down but it was shortlived as the Lions kicked the next two goals and held a 12 point lead the final change.

With the heavy rain returning and even some thunder and lightning, the Eagles needed to kick a couple of early goals to have a chance.

However,the fitter Lions team took control of the game and limited Collie to just a solitary behind in the final quarter.

Although the Eagles pushed the ball forward early, they ran out of steam and the ball spent most of its time in the Lions forward half, with only inaccuracy stopping the margin from getting out of hand.

Harvey Brunswick Leschenault kicked five behinds in the term along with two more goals, including a miraculous bouncing snap from the boundary line, to claim the 10.14 (74) to 7.4 (46) win.

White said he was proud of the way his team competed despite the result.

“It was disappointing with the result but their effort and their attitude was really good,” he said.

“There was a pretty stiff breeze and when you’re kicking with it for one quarter and against it for three it makes it pretty tough, but I can’t fault their effort and attitude.”

White said he didn’t feel the team had to change much to end their losing streak.

“We’ve been in the game the last three weeks and had opportunities to win to games,” he said.

“We’ve still got five or six real key personnel out, which may or may not get back.

“Once again [on Saturday] we lost Florio – who tore his hammy off the bone – and [ruckman Paul] Rinder did a hammy both before half time, which is frustrating but we’ll just keep working hard.

“We get written off a bit – even by our own people, they say a lot about us – but until you’re there at training on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and you see the effort and work they put in … eventually things will turn.”