The Collie Eagles’ revitalised forward line piled the pressure on the Harvey Bulls to claim is sixth win of the season in defender Jason Roney’s 50th game on Saturday.
The Eagles kicked their highest score of the season for the second week in the row and turned a three-goal margin at three quarter time into a 42 point win by the final siren.
Roney got the Eagles’ day started early when he was on the end of some quick ball movement and slotted the game’s first goal from a tight angle.
However Ryan McKinlay wrestled the control back for the Bulls with two first quarter goals, including one from a kick-out interception, before Bailey Moloney evened the scores again just before quarter time.
Joel Houghton kicked the first of his three early in the second quarter, but the Bulls held control of the game for most of the quarter.
The Bulls were able to lock the ball at their end of the ground and kicked three of the next four goals to open up a small margin.
But it was shortlived as the Eagles wrestled the game back late. Moloney starred in the forward line and added two more goals to his tally as the Eagles opened up a 15 point lead by half time.
With both forward lines taking a number of strong grabs despite the slippery conditions, the game looked to be headed towards a shootout.
But it wasn’t to be as both teams managed just the one goal each in the third term.
The Eagles were able to lock the ball at their end of the ground for stretches of the quarter but found it difficult to put it through the middle, while Bulls forward Ryan Nye got on the end of several forward thrusts but regularly found himself tucked tight in the pockets.
With the young Bulls team starting to tire in the third quarter, the Eagles began to take control of the game and held an 18 point lead at the final change.
The Eagles got on top in the midfield with Teke Vernon and Kyle Shanahan finding a lot of ball in the final quarter, while the Bulls defenders lost their way under the constant barrage.
Jayce Fontana showed great marking ability and had several opportunities to put his name on the score sheet, but his kicking let him down.
Roney added his second for the game early in the final term, with teammates coming from around the ground to celebrate.
Nye proved to be the only avenue to goal for the Bulls after half time as he kicked his third in the final quarter, before the Eagles kicked the final three goals through Houghton, Blair Malatesta and Talan Michael.
The 7.6 (48) to 12.18 (90) win saw the Eagles record their highest score for the season, but they would be kicking themselves after failing to capitalise on their second half dominance with just five goals and 11 behinds after half time.
Collie Eagles coach Seth White said he pleased to see his team improve its scoring output.
“It was a good result, but goal kicking let us down a bit,” he said.
“We could have really put a score on but at least we’re getting it now.
“Three weeks ago we didn’t kick a goal and now we’re having 30 shots on goal so that’s pleasing.”
White said the Eagles had decided to play a direct game style despite the ground resembling a mudpit through the middle.
“We tried to do something a bit different this time. When we came here and everyone saw the state of the ground, most people thought to stay away from the middle,” he said.
“We knew it would be opened up because play wouldn’t want to be in there, so we decided to go through there and take our chances with the mud.
“It worked really well for us… In the end it was probably our best four quarter performance for the year.”
White said the team was now turning its attention to its final home game of the season against Harvey Brunswick Leschenault on Sunday.
“We’ll look to put on a good show for our fans up there, play the same sort of style and see how we go,” he said.
“That’ll be a hard challenge, they’re still fighting for a spot in the five so they’ll be really keen to get the job done against us.”
The Bulls will host Bunbury on Sunday in what will also be their last home game of the season.
R. Nye 3, R. McKinlay 2, E. Smith, B. Jones.
J. Houghton 3, B. Moloney 3, B. Malatesta 2, J. Roney 2, P. Rinder, T. Michael.
R. McKinlay, M. Robinson, E. Smith, B. Jones, R. Nye, K. Hickman.
T. Vernon, J. Houghton, B. Moloney, T. Michael, P. Rinder, K. Shanahan.