The Collie Eagles gave it their all on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough as a strong Eaton Boomers side claimed a seven-point win in a back-and-forth game at Glen Huon Reserve.
As dark clouds gathered overhead and cold winds kicked in, Eaton and Collie’s supporters gathered for a relentless clash between the league sides.
Eaton had shown promising form throughout the season, while injuries and narrow losses had plagued the Eagles’ 2018 campaign.
However, Collie had shown tremendous signs of improvement against Bunbury in round nine and Augusta-Margaret River in round 10.
Sunday’s clash saw Eaton take full advantage of a strong southerly wind in the first quarter.
Brandon Jetta opened up the scoring for the Boomers with a stellar snap kick in front of goals.
The Eagles then responded with Bailey Moloney’s first midway through the term.
Both eager to win, Eaton and Collie delivered ferocious football to their fans’ delight.
Eaton hit its stride, with a half-volley from Karl Collard sailing through the posts.
As the Boomers clamoured for more goals, Eagles Mat Michael and Matt Blackford kept Eaton’s forwards at bay.
Boomers Greg, Jarrod, and Herman Humphries carved through the Eagles’ backline while creating numerous chances for Eaton’s forwards.
Jarrod and Herman slotted Eaton’s third and fourth goals, before Blair Malatesta’s attempt was pushed away by the wind.
Behind by 23 points at quarter time, the Eagles required a new plan of attack in the second term.
Following Eaton’s fifth goal, Collie’s Kyle Shanahan made his presence known by kicking his team’s second.
The Eagles then put up a fight before creating several consecutive attempts on goal.
After a string of near misses, Collie got its third and fourth goals thanks to the accurate kicking of Adam Bignell.
Eaton, on the other hand, could only manage one goal and one point for the term.
A goal from star forward Joel Houghton levelled the scores, 5.6.36 apiece, at half time.
With an exhilarating second half of football on its way, tensions grew on and off the field.
Jason Roney, booting an impressive set shot in front of goals, put Collie in front for the first time in the game.
Things got worse for Eaton when Herman Humphries gave away a 50m penalty for tussling with Blackford.
Many of the home side’s attempts drifted wide, with only Kelvin Lawrence’s goal providing solace.
Eaton’s Luke Ramsay and Collie’s Jesse Ramshaw engaged in a fiery flare-up near the Boomers’ forward 50, before Jetta was sent off for getting involved.
Following a controversial third term, the Eagles held a 10-point lead going into the fourth.
Eaton’s first-quarter form returned, as Matthew Scott and Brendan Page helped the home side take back the lead.
Jarrod Humphries kicked another goal, before Jayce Fontana and Houghton put Collie in front again.
Eaton’s fanbase erupted when Jetta and Jarrod Humphries slotted one goal each close to full time.
Solid performances in the first and last quarters ensured a 10.15 (75) to 10.8 (68) win for Eaton.
Defeating Augusta Margaret-River 9.16 (70) to 6.6 (42) at Gloucester Park, Donnybrook scored its ninth victory of the season.
Busselton kept its finals hopes alive with a 22-point upset win over Bunbury. The final score was 12.9 (81) to 8.11 (59).
In Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault player David Newman’s 200th game, the Lions suffered a two-point loss to South Bunbury.
Carey Park clinched a one-point victory – 15.7 (97) to 15.6 (96) – in a thrilling showdown against the Harvey Bulls at Kelly Park.